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What Are Your “Working From Home” Tips?

March 11, 2020 News 11 Comments


Many people are working from home for extended periods for the first time. If you’ve done it, what advice can you offer for those doing their jobs from home for a few weeks?

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Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. Try not to become too isolated. It is easy to put your head down and do your work, in fact it is easier to do that at home (most times) than at the office.

    However, I find that unless you are communicating often with people, your feelings towards them might change. I often find that I have the most “against” those people who I communicate with the least. Make sure isolation doesn’t morph into dark feelings.

  2. Stay connected with people, because getting isolated happens way too easily. Create a space that is “for work” so work doesn’t meld with home life, and so you can keep it separate. Take breaks, often. Make time to workout and stay healthy. It’s way to easy to fall down a rabbit hole for hours and hours that can become isolating and unhealthy. Talk on the phone or over webex as much as possible versus email/IM. You’d be surprised how much important information doesn’t make it into typed words.

  3. Get up everyday, shower, dress, and “go to work”. The work-from-home fantasy about spending all day in your pajamas is rarely good for motivation or results. And doesn’t work on video calls anyway.

  4. Keep a schedule. Go to work, take breaks, have a slot for lunch, stop at the end of your day. Educate friends and neighbors early on—just because you are at home, that doesn’t mean you are available for outings, chit chat, lunches. Yes, talk or video chat with colleagues. Like every other day at work, define your goals and focus on them—with fewer social interruptions or travel time required, you may even get to those items that have been on your list for a while!

  5. I’ve worked from home, on-site, and a combination of the two for a long time, and have written about successful telecommuting for my professional organization’s blog. Off the top of my head:

    *Maintain your regular schedule. You’ll be tempted to log on earlier or stay logged on later to ‘get more done,’ but it’s best for yourself and your coworkers to stay consistent. When the work day ends, make notes for tomorrow, shut your laptop, shut your office door, and shut it out of your mind.

    *Require friends/family to respect your home office boundaries. My kids know when Mom is “at work,” she “isn’t here” and shouldn’t be bothered unless the house is on fire. They’re teens now, so they just text me — partly out of conditioning, mostly out of laziness. If you’re concerned about a friend or family member taking advantage of your time, don’t tell them you’re working from home. If a nosy neighbor keeps ‘checking in,’ answer the door with a headset on and tell them you’re on a conference call.

    *Build in breaks. At work, you usually get coffee in the lunchroom, take a bathroom break, or grab lunch. Do the same at home. Set a timer if you need to.

    *If you normally have a daily or weekly stand-up, plan to communicate the same information via email, conference call, GoToMeeting, Skype, etc. If you’re a manager, delineate communication expectations in advance so everyone is on the same page.

    *If you’re going to be offline, communicate this exactly as you would if you were in the office. Update your Jabber/IM statuses. And use your freaking out of office notifications!

    *DO THE WORK. For some, this is an opportunity to show that a telecommuting arrangement can work, and work well. Some of our companies have restricted work-at-home policies, but may consider broadening remote opportunities if we demonstrate productivity. Don’t screw it up for the rest of us.

  6. Change into different clothes. You don’t have to put on your work wardrobe, necessarily, but put on different clothes so you can have a physical way of marking the time between “at work” and “at home”.

    • 100% agree! It strikes me as a bit silly sometimes, but it really does change the feel…especially when you’re looking down the barrel of an entirely self-directed/no-meeting workday.

  7. Get out of the house. If you can afford it, go out for lunch or at least do takeout. It can be very depressing to go one or multiple days without leaving your home. Doing this forces you to get dressed too.

  8. The number one thing, even more so than at work, is that you need to *be available* when your calendar says you will be. Your colleagues can’t see you sitting in your office, so your chat and calendar statuses need to substitute for that. Don’t hesitate to get on the phone if a chat or email chain is getting too long.

    Some will say to get dressed like you’re going to work, but to me one of the perks is that I don’t have to. I don’t mind having a blurry line between work and home when I enjoy the work, but it is a fine line and needs to work both ways. I can fold laundry while watching a presentation on my laptop. I can take a shower or do some house cleaning at lunchtime. I also may do some work-related busy work while watching Netflix in the evening. It’s give and take.

  9. My kids are home for the next three weeks, and they are expected to keep up with their schoolwork using their school-provided laptops. Here are a few additional steps we’re taking:

    * I shored up my home network by adding a second router to boost the WiFi signal.

    * Schedule/routine. Kids are up at 8AM, they can either work on schoolwork first, eat, go for a run, whatever, but they don’t get any entertainment electronics until they put in at least two hours on schoolwork.

    * Check in. When I take my work breaks, I check in with them to see where they are. Two are very self-guided and will be fine; the third kid needs encouragement to stay on-task.(Kind of like my data analytics guy, so I’m used to it)

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