As companies switch to remote work setups, these are the best tips for staying productive and connected.
4 min read
The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.
This week, thousands of office workers will experience their first foray into the home office world as companies large and small try to deal with the COVID-19 threat by asking their employees to work remotely .
And while an October 2019 LinkedIn study found that 82% of workers wish they could work from home at least part of the time, what do you think? It is not as simple as it seems.
As a social media entrepreneur who has built a millionaire business from her home office for the past decade, here are my top tips (and learnings) for making your home, ahem, work.
1. Stick to a schedule
One of the most wonderful things about working from home is that you can enjoy the comfort of your home all day. Also one of the most dangerous things about working from home.
Consider starting and finishing work at the same time each day, the same way you would if you were in the office. This will help you separate professional time and personal time, and will facilitate both emotional and physical separation at the end of the day. You can even record your day and daily tasks if that helps you.
During the day, take a physical distance from your workspace at lunchtime, even if it means sitting at the kitchen table or listening to a podcast for 30 minutes. I think this makes me feel fresher and ready to dive in when I return to my desk.
No matter what you do during your “free time” at home, stay away from clothes to fold or dishes in the sink. Take this time to really relax mentally.
2. Give yourself space
Don't let your dining room table become the source of stacked papers, folders, or God forbid, a printer.
A dedicated workspace (ideally one where you can close the door) is a solid way to keep work and life separate, and to make sure you're not constantly reminded of earrings as you sit down to dinner.
At the end of the day, close the door (if you can), walk away, and try not to return to your workspace until the next morning.
3. Dress up your surroundings
When you work from home, appearing as a professional can be as important as when you work in a traditional office. Plus, it's 2020, and there's simply no excuse for poorly lit video conferencing with poor audio.
Invest in a ring of LED light, a couple of plants, a Zoom account or BlueJeans for video conferencing and a good microphone. You will be amazed at how far this can make you look more professional during video calls. During a recent Zoom, I was told she looked like a beauty youtube, a great compliment in the social media business.
4. Build boundaries
When it comes to working from home, I often encourage people to “build” and not “set” boundaries, because it really is a process.
It took me years to realize that even though I work from home, I don't have to reply to an email at 9:00 pm when I'm sitting on the couch with my husband watching my favorite show.
If an emergency arises, you can, of course, make an exception, but try to limit your work to only business hours, even if that means having an automated response template for your emails. One of my personal favorites: “I'll be happy to see this email tomorrow with a fresh look!”
Boundary building can be even more important when you work from home because you risk making everything in your home “feel” like a job.