I’ve spent a lot of time working remotely, and suddenly, most others in our office are doing the same. While the short commute and lack of distractions are great, it can also be isolating and hard to collaborate. Here are some of my tips for starting a work from home routine that keeps you happy and productive.
- Stay on schedule. One of the biggest challenges of working from home is maintaining a good work/life balance. It’s very easy for work to creep into morning and night routines, and to feel like you’re always working. First, keep your regular office hours. Also:
- Don’t sign-in until you have showered and had your coffee or breakfast.
- Step away for lunch, even if just to another room for a few minutes.
- Sign off at night and put your computer away
- Set up a designated work space. Have a spot where you go to work each day. A home office is great but not necessary. You can have a designated seat at the kitchen table, or a certain spot on the couch, where you can spread out your notebooks and papers. At the end of the day, close your computer and leave your things close by, and leave this space. It will give you a good mental break to physically divide “work” and “not work.”
- Schedule calls and keep in touch. It’s good to have some structure to your day. If you don’t have calls on your schedule, schedule some conversations with teammates. In addition, call others on the team frequently to bounce things off of them, or just touch base on how things are going.
- Move around. Without trips to the proverbial water cooler or conference room, you end up sitting all day! Get up and move around. Phone calls can be a good chance to move away from the computer. I love wearing my Airpods while I talk, wandering around the house or even outside.
- Try not to multitask to much. It’s really tempting to look at email or keep working on a project when you are on a conference call. But since your active calls are few and far between, make sure to be present and really pay attention to them.
- Keep visitors at bay. Depending on your friends’ and family’s situations, they may think working from home is the same thing as not working. Communicate that you are working regular hours and keep visits or outings limited to lunchtime or after work, as usual.