When I tell people that I work from home a lot, a common response is “I wish I could get a job like that”. Don’t get me wrong, most days I absolutely love working from home. I get to walk the kids to the bus stop and am able to drop into school quickly, if needed. These are luxuries I was not able to take advantage of until I was able to start working from home more. However, it is not nearly as glamorous as it sounds and is actually very difficult to adjust to.
Today, I am sharing the ultimate guide to working from home which will help anyone that is either transitioning into a work from home position or is looking for more balance and organization. Here are some strategies that are helpful to ensure you are making the most of your workday.
Dress As If You Are Going Into the Office
Life would be so much easier some days if I could work in my sweats or yoga pants. However, I have found that I am most productive and professional if I dress the part. You certainly do not have to be in professional business attire, but I do recommend relaxed professional. I also think it is a wise move to do your hair and makeup. As women, we are most confident when we look our best. If you are confident, you tend to be more productive and effective. I am not saying that you cannot have those days where you lounge in your pjs, but don’t make it the norm. I guarantee that you will notice the difference!
Create a Designated Work Space
Much like your appearance, your work space needs to replicate an office environment in order to be most effective. You certainly do not need to go out and buy new office furniture or supplies. However, you should create a work space that is organized and allows for you to be productive. Ideally, this work space should be away from the common areas to avoid distractions. Also, being close to the kitchen is not a wise choice if you are a foodie like me. Find a quiet space with ample lighting and set yourself up with all of the supplies that you will need.
Have Office Hours
This is easier said than done, but you need to have a set start and stop time. It is so easy to get sucked into a project or issue that needs to get addressed. I have been guilty of this one too many times! You should treat your time working at home the same as if you were working in the office. Along these same lines, you should shut down all of your work technology when you are done for the day to avoid distraction. It is also a good idea to turn off any alerts that you have on your phone during the evening hours. You will be much more productive if you take the evening hours to refocus and reenergize. I did not believe this at first and thought that the longer and harder that I worked, the more successful I would be. This is far from reality!
Don’t Forget to Eat
In order to make sure you are getting the fuel you need to be productive, you should pack or plan a lunch just as if you were going into the office, There have been so many times in which I have had every intention of making a salad or something for lunch only to be starving at 3:00 because I am yet to eat something. It is best to pack a lunch, just like you would if you were working in the office. It is also a good idea to block out a lunch break on your calendar to ensure that you are not booked solid all day. This also provides a mental break and will make you more productive the last half of your day. If possible, you should also try to work in a short walk or some brief yoga to reenergize.
While most times it is nice to not have to deal with the typical office distractions, it is very easy to feel disconnected. If you live close to your coworkers, an occasional lunch date or happy hour is a must. You can also utilize technology to make you feel more connected. Video conferencing is a great way to feel connected, even if you are not sitting next to each other. It is also a good idea to check in on others via email or instant messenger.
While I would not trade in working from home to going into an office every day, I do think that it can be a challenge to effectively work from home. If you utilize the strategies above, I am confident that the transitions will be much smoother for you than it was for me.
What are some best practices you have for working from home?