Tips on Working From Home Successfully
For some people, working from home sounds like a dream. For others, it looks like a constant battle against distractions and isolation. As governments and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend social distancing to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), working from home will be a new normal for those who have the capability. Today, we’ll share some tips for how you can work from home successfully.
1. Maintain a routine to start your day
Try to maintain the same routine you had when you would go into work. Wake up or begin preparing at the same time as usual. Consider dressing in the same clothes you would wear into work. This will help prime your brain into entering “work mode.”
Don’t fall into the more common traps of working from home:
- Don’t sleep in. Just because you don’t have a commute doesn’t mean you should sleep in. Wake up at your normal time to begin your day with a professional mind-set.
- Don’t stay in your pajamas. It’s tempting to dress overly casual when working from home. It can also make it harder to focus and stay on top of your game. If you’d normally wear formal attire to work, split the difference and dress as though it’s casual Friday. Focus on the work portion of “work from home” rather than the home.
- Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at the office. Drinking alcohol, doing personal online shopping and binge watching your favorite shows are just some of the things that may tempt you. Don’t do any of them while you’re working. It will damage your work and reputation.
Having a set routine to start your day will remind you that you’re working from home, not taking a vacation at home.
2. Pick a dedicated workspace
Choose a room with minimal distractions. If possible, choose a room that you don’t often use for other things. Picking a dedicated workspace will keep you focused on your work and limit temptations to do other things.
If you can, avoid working from your living room, bedroom or other rooms you frequently spend time in. The goal of a dedicated workspace is to help you focus on your work. You don’t want to be distracted from your work by things you’d like to do when you’re not working. More importantly, you don’t want your work to start moving in on your personal space.
3. Set ground rules with others in your home
If you have family or roommates that share space with you, you need to set ground rules with them. Make sure they know when you start work and what they can and cannot do while you’re working from home. Be sure to let them know that you are still working, even though you’re at home.
Don’t let others assume that you can run errands, supervise service people or babysit/pet sit. They wouldn’t ask you to do that if you were in the office. Don’t let them ask you to do that just because you’re working from home.
4. Constantly communicate with coworkers
It’s easy to feel isolated when working from home. But just because you can’t meet face to face doesn’t mean you can’t communicate.
Use email, phone/text, video conferencing and instant messengers to communicate with coworkers. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. Tell coworkers and bosses when you’re available, when you’ve finished a project and when you need help. Share big wins with them to improve morale. It will go a long way in being productive and keeping the team together.
And you don’t need to only talk about work. Ask coworkers how their days are going or if they need help with anything. Take time to chat about things unrelated to work. Be a person, even if you can’t meet face to face with other people.
5. Take breaks and go outside
While some people fall into the trap of working too little when working from home, others work too much. Remember to take your FULL lunch break, along with any other breaks owed to you. You don’t want to burn yourself out by constantly working at all times.
Try to go outside whenever you can. You’re going to be spending much more time in your house, so you need to combat claustrophobia in the long run. Going outside occasionally can break up the monotony of working from home. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, standing on your porch or sitting in your backyard, fresh air can help clear your mind and make you focus.
6. Check in with bosses from time to time
It’s easy to lose track of expectations when you’re working from home. Talk to your boss at least once a week to be sure that your expectations are aligned. In times like these, you’re all likely to have more work on your plate than you’re used to. Managing expectations and checking in can keep everyone on the same page while helping everyone build stronger relationships despite social distancing.
Be sure to share your successes and your struggles with your bosses. They succeed when you succeed, and they’ll struggle when you struggle. Working together and communicating clearly is the best way to work through difficulties.
7. Maintain a routine to finish your day
Just as you shouldn’t work too much during the day, you shouldn’t work too long. Maintain your normal business hours as best as you can. If you normally finish work at 5 p.m. while you’re in the office, then make sure to stop working at 5 p.m. while you’re working at home. When you shut your computer down at the end of the day, keep it shut down until tomorrow. The work will still be there.
Of course, if there’s an emergency or you’re working from home during your company’s busy season, you may need to extend your hours. But extending your hours while working from home should be an exception, not the rule.
Be sure to spend time with loved ones who live with you and do things you love to do around the house. It’s still your home, and you don’t want it to turn solely into a workspace.
Stay safe, stay disciplined and do your best
Working from home can be challenging, but these tips can help you stay focused. It takes extra discipline to stay productive while working from home. But that discipline can bring new opportunities and help you build trust with your coworkers and bosses.
As you work from home, know that 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW) is still dispatching service calls as usual. We are taking special precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which you can read about here. But if a system or appliance breaks down, 2-10 HBW is helping customers address those problems. Our goal is to make protecting your home simple, convenient and affordable, especially when you’re working from home.
2-10 HBW offers the most comprehensive home warranty coverage for homeowners. Let us help you protect your home.