Everyone is talking about work-from-home productivity; trying to figure it out and find out how to make this new normal work best for them.
It’s like that health club you join by accident with a friend—no one gave you a welcome booklet or an orientation. You’re simply expected to magically know how to work in the elliptical and that one weight machine that bends and pushes in a particular way.
Unlike the gym, the comforting truth about working from home is there is no one way to succeed. You get to bend and twist the way that works for you. And if you find something that works for you, you’re winning!
I’ve worked from home in different roles for several years, so I have a short list of handy tips that might help you as you navigate this adjustment to working from home for the long term.
1. Don’t let WFH take over your life
First, look out. Working from home can be sneaky. Set boundaries on your schedule. Sometimes this is simply giving yourself mental permission to fully switch off at the end of the workday. Sure, sometimes you may be pulled back in, but it’s vitally important to allow yourself to walk away and do life.
Also, a flexible schedule is nice, but it too can be sneaky with taking up your time. Your weekends can be eaten up if you’re trying to make up hours. My advice: protect your weekends! Sign off on Friday and enjoy the time away.
2. Take it seriously, respect it from the start
Sure, the dining room table looks like a convenient spot, but does it have doors you can close? How many people or pets have access? How is noise spillover from other parts of the house?
If you take working from home seriously from now on, you won’t have to backtrack and do another desk setup later. That said, no matter where you land, if you’re not comfortable, do what you need to do to be comfortable.
3. Be ergonomic
Even if you don’t feel it right away, you could end up straining your neck from a monitor’s angle or experiencing back pain from slouching. I highly recommend getting up once an hour to simply stretch or walk around your house or the block.
One of my tricks is to drink a ton of water throughout the day. This forces you to get up and move around. You’ll find you naturally do some stretching when you get up.
4. Prioritize your work computer on your internet network
If you’re in a household with other heavy internet users, this might be necessary. If you don’t know how to do this on your own, talk to your company’s IT team to get some direction.
Other users on your network will still be able to do their things, but your computer will have first dibs on bandwidth. This should help avoid dropped or lagging video calls.
5. Give yourself grace
There is no perfect way to work from home. Your home is your sanctuary, and now it’s your office as well as your kid’s classroom. And your pets are obsessed with you.
Things will go wrong, and they may become messy. It’s okay. Give yourself the grace to figure this new normal out and find the right schedule and work environment out that suits your needs.
Bonus: you’re already home at the end of the day!
The big win for working from home is that when you’re done with your day, you stand up and are instantly home. You no longer have to deal with commute times and crazy drivers. However, you still need to switch from work mode to life mode.
I make it a practice to walk outside, throw some toys around the yard for my dog, and then come back inside. My dog loves it and it gives me some time to switch gears.
Enjoy being home. I know it’s given me the ability to expand my hobbies, pursue interests I wouldn’t have had time for, and be more present for my loved ones. I hope it does the same for you.