How to Successfully Work from Home: 7 Tips to Get You Started
Whether it was a long-held dream to work-from-home or you suddenly find yourself working-from-home due to current events, the key word there is “work.” Fortunately, though, there are ways to maximize your potential and increase productivity.
While we could go on (endlessly!) about all the things you should and should not do to make working-from-home a success, times being what they are, you need the quick and easy version of how to work at home when you’ve never done it before.
Fortunately, we’ve got seven quick tips to jump-start your transition to work-from-home employee.
Jump Start Working-at-Home
1. Create a Work Space
Hopefully, you’ve got a home office—something with doors you can close and a desk you can work on. However, that may not be the case, or someone else is using the office when you need it, so you may need to think creatively about where you can set up your “office.”
Yes, there’s the couch and your favorite chair if all you need is a laptop to work. But when you’ve got a lot of papers or files, or just like a lot of space, consider using the kitchen or dining room table. In a pinch, a TV table can work, as could a folding table.
Sometimes, though, the kitchen just won’t cut it. You might need to take a call in private, or at least not in the kitchen with the blender running in the background. Consider hiding out in the closet, the bathroom, or even your car when you need privacy and quiet. Again, we wouldn’t traditionally recommend these, but you may have not planned to work from home. And while these may not be the greatest options, sometimes you’ve got to get a bit creative when it comes to “office” space when you work-at-home, especially in a bind.
2. Use Your “Commute” Wisely
Working-at-home means no more commute! And while you may think that means you can sleep late, you probably shouldn’t. While the benefits of maintaining the same wake-up time every day is well documented, consider rising at the same time as usual so you can take advantage of your “commute.”
Instead of driving through traffic or trying to find a seat on a crowded bus or train, use your commute to be more productive. Get an early start on your workday if you want. Or use that commute to do something you haven’t had time for.
Always wanted to get in an early morning workout? Now’s your chance. Want to catch up on a show or a book? Go for it. Take an extra-long walk with the dog, play a game with the kids, even enjoy a nice long breakfast for once. Whatever it is, use it.
Not an early bird? That’s cool. Consider using your “evening commute” for similar purposes.
3. Stick With a Routine
Also, make sure you establish and stick with a routine. For example, if you always take a 10 AM coffee break, keep that up. If nothing else, you won’t feel sluggish and cranky because you didn’t get your caffeine fix.
And if your coffee break usually includes hanging out with coworkers, working remotely doesn’t have to mean enjoying it alone. Meet online and have a virtual coffee break with your usual crew, and get caught up on all the things you usually would.
4. Keep in Touch (More Than Usual)
Working-at-home doesn’t mean “working alone,” but it’s hard not to think that when it’s you, your computer, and no one else. Communication is always important in working relationships. But when you work from home, over-communicating becomes an essential skill.
Particularly in these uncertain times, you want to make sure you communicate with your boss and your coworkers as much as possible. You don’t have to send an email every few minutes or respond to every chat message immediately. But, you should let everyone know what you’re working on and how you’re doing (work-wise) a few times a day.
If over-communicating seems overwhelming or you’re worried about overdoing it, try sending a once-a-day “recap” email to your team or boss. Let them know what you accomplished, what you didn’t accomplish, and what you’re going to prioritize for the next day. If nothing else, this email can serve as “proof” that you didn’t sit around binge-watching shows all day!
5. Work and Kids Can Mix
Working-at-home can be challenging when you’re not used to it. But add kids to the mix and suddenly “challenging” seems like much too tame a word. Luckily, there are ways to work from home with kids, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers.
Regardless, you are not the only working-at-home parent right now, and you are not alone. People balance working at home with kids at home all the time unexpectedly. You’ll have to experiment to find your groove and a plan that works, but after some tweaking, you will find it! You’ll also want to communicate your situation to coworkers and managers so that they’re not surprised if you’re pre-occupied at times during the day.
6. Don’t Work All Day and Night
One of the pitfalls of working at home is that work is always around you. It’s hard to ignore that “one last thing” you want to finish when it’s steps away from you.
However, just because you can work around the clock when you work at home doesn’t mean you should. Just like you need to take regular coffee breaks, you need to take regular work breaks, too.
Working all the time isn’t healthy, no matter where you work. So, make sure you set a clear division between work and home. When it’s 5:00, and you’re done for the day, be done for the day! The work can wait, and it will still be there in the morning, we promise!
7. Be Flexible
Like every other aspect of our lives right now, working from home requires flexibility. If you’ve got kids at home, you may not be able to work your regular 9-to-5 hours, but that’s OK. Part of the beauty of working at home is that you have everything you need at your fingertips. So, if 9-to-5 isn’t working that day, sign out, take a break, and sign back in later when you’re refreshed, focused, and ready to go.
Working from Home Can Work
Working from home isn’t for everyone. However, right now, it’s something for nearly everybody. Think of the current situation as a “test run” of the work-at-home life. You may find out it’s everything you dreamed of. Or you may decide that office life is for you. Either way, these tips should help make the transition to “unexpected remote worker” a little easier for you.
And, if working from home is something you’d like to do permanently, we can help with that. We offer fully remote positions in job categories that range from customer service and sales to accounting and IT.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
By Rachel Pelta | Categories: Work Remotely