Working at home can be both a blessing and a curse as I am officially allowed to work from home due to our world pandemic. I guess I can say I always wanted to know what it was like to work from home, as I was aware there are many fields that offer opportunities to work from home, like computer programmers and sales to name a few. This is my first experience working from home on a full-time basis and I will say if you work from home or have you known there are definitely pros and cons to each.
I am not sure how long I will be required to work from home, but I will say that at the moment I live in a two-bedroom apartment with my wife and daughter with my mother in law visiting for a couple of months. The word challenge comes to mind right now, but I am doing everything in my power to make it work for the time being.
From a personal standpoint, I will say that’s it is great it gets to spend time with my family in a way I never thought possible. I will mention that I am home like many who work from home due to countrywide quarantine due to the Corona Virus or COVID-19, which at this point could have me working from one to three months at home maybe even longer.
It’s important to know that working from home is not for everyone, I personally like working in an office with less distractions without the luxury of having an extra room to work out of like so many who may work from home. My home office is right in our living room/kitchen dining area so I have to be sure to put down some ground rules when working from home, but I understand I have to be flexible too, this is still a home.
I am not the type to prevent my family from enjoying the home because in essence, I am infringing on their territory too, so I have to learn to adjust. Some may have a hard time mixing family and work together at times and I would say it can depend on the type of personality to have to make it work. I tend to have a very lack attitude, refusing to nitpick over every little thing my family says or does, as long as I am not disturbed when I am speaking with co-workers or clients I am ok.
If this the first time you are working from home too, here are some tips that may help during this time.
Make a Space
Your workspace is one of the most important aspects of working from home and it will be different for everyone. It’s great if you can have separate working quarters, like an extra room, but not everyone has the ability as many times shared space is how it’s done by many. Having a spot that you feel organized with all the tools you need to get work done.
It should not be a kitchen table. The doesn’t mean you can’t get good work done there, but it means you should have at least one place that set apart from work. Find that place, it can be a challenge but it can be done.
Shut the door
Speaking of having space, it should be one with a door that can shut. Just like in an office, remote working has plenty of interruptions-often from family. Again not always possible depending on where you live. I have found that in today’s day and age many tend to work out of a Starbucks and seem fine. Due to many times, you may have meetings and call using via some type of teleconferencing you definitely don’t want family walking in the background or kids playing in your workplace.
Don’t lose contact
When you aren’t working in physical proximity to your team, it takes a little creative thinking to stay connected. Tools like Zoom, slack and basecamp make that relatively easy. Create a plan and tools in place so that you and your team know how you’re going to communicate.
Organize your day
One of the challenges of working form home is that you are far more responsible for managing your workload. That means creating a plan each day. Depending on you, you can plan the day before or plan the morning before you get on the clock. I will say it also depends on your work as it may be hard to plan in advance, but do your best so each day will be as if your in the office.
Being at home it can be easy to plop down in your chair, go to work and never really leave your seat. I find its important to get up, take a walk, take breaks, take a lunch break. I can be unhealthy just to keep working thinking well I am in the comfort of my home is it is like I am at home but really it is not. You are work and should mimic some normalcy to working. There is no shame in taking breaks, spend a few moments with family and do the best you can with the situation.
Try to get dressed
Working from home can literally be you rolling out of bed and going straight to your computer, no shower, no brushed teeth in your Pajama’s, don’t do it. I find its very important to get dressed, shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair. Now I am not saying you have to dress up, wear a suit and tie unless you feel you need too, but look presentable for those times you will be video conferencing with co-workers, clients and such. I believe this allows us to have more respect for our roles as we do our job from home.
Punch out on time
Working from home it can be easy to work long hours when it may not be necessary to just because you are in the comfort of your home. Keep a schedule of normal working hours, clock off and log off for the day. It’s so important to have a balance in working from home which means hours I work. Pretty simple but can be hard to follow.
Check-in with co-workers and the boss several times a day
Working for a large company I telecommunicate multiple times a day so it’s a natural part of my job, but it can be just as easy to go radio silent when we are working. For some like myself, I am introvert so it’s easy to stick by myself, but I actually don’t wish to, I need human contact daily. I think it’s important to keep that contact regularly even a simple hello Boss how are you? I think it will be important to one’s sanity at times having that contact.
My Work from Home Journey continues
There are probably hundreds of tips of those who are pros at working at home that I could offer, but now these are my tips to help get you started. You will create your own tips as you become a work from home pro. For those working from home due to our current world situation and will be going back to office eventually then take this time to appreciate how capable you are to work from home, be disciplined and get things done. In the end, we will be stronger for these new skills we are learning to be more organized in creating an environment at home to allow us to be productive.
I would love to hear some of your tips as you work from home as we are all in this together and lastly we should all feel thankful we can work from home, many cannot.