Working from home sounds great in theory, but it’s more difficult than you might think! Between household distractions and a lack of face time with colleagues, it actually takes a great deal of discipline and intention to work remotely. With much of the global workforce encouraged to work from home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you make the most of your new at-home office.
- Start working early. While it’s true that your commute has gotten shorter, it’s still wise to begin on time! In fact, start even earlier than you’d typically arrive to the office. I like to check my email first thing in the morning, with my first cup of coffee, so that I feel prepared for what’s in store for the day.
- Get dressed for the office. It may be tempting to stay in yoga pants, but studies show that you’re actually more productive when dressed in work attire.
- Utilize block scheduling. It’s important to map out your day just as you would in the office, rather than flitting aimlessly from one activity to the next. Create a to-do list each morning, sorted in order of priority. Then assign a time to each task – for example, copy writing from 10-11AM, client lunch from 12-1PM, etc. This helps you know what you’re supposed to be working on at any given time.
- Communicate your schedule. Once you’ve determined your daily schedule, be sure to share it with your colleagues – especially if you’re working across time zones – so that everyone knows roughly when you’re available, and when you’re off the clock. One way to do this is using the calendar tool in Microsoft Outlook.
- Create a dedicated work space. Even if it’s as simple as a corner of your room or a particular seat at the dining room table, a dedicated space that’s free of clutter and distractions will help increase productivity.
- Take scheduled breaks. One of the benefits of working from home is the ability to take care of priorities that you wouldn’t normally be able to from the office. Be sure to schedule other activities into your day, such as a jog around the block or folding a load of laundry.
- Utilize available technology to the fullest. While you might not have face-to-face contact with your colleagues, we have so many other tools at our disposal to aid in working from home. The PAC team uses Skype for team meetings, while a phone call allows tone and inflection to be conveyed. Perhaps you’ll find that a particular genre of music helps you to focus, or having a podcast on in the background is a good substitute for the chatter of an office. Experiment and see what works for you!
- Communicate expectations with anyone else at home. It’s crucial to ensure your family members are respecting your work space, and the best way to accomplish this is to be clear about what you need. For example, perhaps being in your home office with headphones on means that you’re not to be disturbed. Additionally, try adding work meetings to your personal calendar, so that loved ones know when you’re unavailable.
- Choose a defined “end time” for your day. Working from home can become a slippery slope when it comes to work-life balance. Before you know it, you could find yourself working all hours of the day. That’s why it’s crucial to have a defined end to each day, as well as a ritual for ending it. About 15 minutes prior to the end of each work day, revisit your to-do list. Any tasks that weren’t completed are moved to the next day’s to-do list. Once you’ve reached the end of your day, close the computer and leave your home workspace. This helps maintain clear boundaries and allows you to recharge for the next day.
We hope these tips have been helpful during this time of transition. If you’re interested in learning more about PAC, leave us a message using the contact form!