Learning to be effective when working from home
Working effectively from home is one of the biggest challenges out there. Here are a few ideas that may help!
Habits & Schedule
With a normal office job, the physical different between being at home versus in the office creates a natural barrier between home time and work time.
When first starting to work from home, it can be difficult to recreate the focus you need to get things done when you haven’t gone anywhere! For some people, this looks like working too much and letting their work continue into the night when they should be spending it with family & friends. For others, home habits creep into the workday and it’s nearly impossible to get much done.
Here’s a few ideas for maintaining good habits & schedule - Aim to start and stop work around a certain time
- If you take lunch or coffee breaks while in the office, plan to do a similar number of breaks while at home
- Get dressed for work, even if you’re not going anywhere! (Many people will be seen on video calls anyway)
- Consider putting on shoes: Shoes mean work-time. Slippers, flip-flops, and barefoot are for outside work hours!
Equipment & Location
Your work from home experience will be much easier if you’ve thought hard to where to work and what your home work environment looks like.
The idealized work from home situation is a home office or den with a full computer setup including a big external monitor. In this way, you can really get into work mode and have the ideal gear. Unfortunately, many of us have less than ideal setups.
Contrast a home office with working on the couch with a laptop: It’s incredibly different and, while it can work, you’ll need to train your body and mind to be in top work efficiency mode.
- If possible, get an external monitor and external keyboard
- If possible, sit in a real chair at a desk or table
Managing Home Interruptions
For many of us, it seems like working from home would be easy if it wasn’t for the interruptions.
It’s naturally going to be a challenge if your spouse works from home, or if your kids are at home during the day. If you can’t help but work alongside your spouse and kids during the day, it’s going to be difficult to be as productive as in an office. Try to help them understand that you need to be focused and undistracted during the day, and can be fun in the mornings, evenings, and weekends.
Pets are another source of distraction: If your pet is chill and adds to your focus, include them in your work from home routine. If your pet is a distraction, put them elsewhere while you’re working and take periodic breaks to check on them.
Think hard about whether you’re good at working from home, and whether you’re generally more or less productive than working in an office.
If less, start to write down a short list of doable changes you can make to help increase your focus and efficiency!
Thank you for reading!