13 Working From Home Tips You Forgot You Knew
Working remote takes getting used to. Treating your work day like a day at the office helps.
With everything going on in the world, my workday is pretty much my summer schedule.
Except for one thing:
I check on home learning progress at 10:00 a.m.
After working remotely for nearly ten years, here's my thirteen tips you forgot you knew:
Dedicate a space. No, really. Set aside a place for your work. If possible, put it behind a door. My office is a converted 250 square-foot storage closet. There's a tiny window. Tiny as it is, I am able to lay out my work. Most importantly, I am able to mentally go to work and leave work.
Get dressed. No, really. Veteran WFH remote employees are telling you from all regions of the internet. Get dressed. For some reason, I need to wear my shoes. One of my friends needs to put on lipstick. Find your deal.
Keep your work in your workspace. In the beginning, I had files all over my house. I'd work on projects while preparing dinner. I'd jot notes while watching television. I'd leave them there. I still do that, except now, I take my note-ridden napkin down to the office, where it belongs. Use a tray, if you're really strapped for space.
Put business tools in your workspace. For example, I have a goal board, a calendar and my files. I also have supplies, like paper clips and file folders accessible.
Work a schedule. Have work hours. Even with my kids' home learning, I keep my work hours. They, too, now have work hours. They are used to coming into my office when they need me. They bring their workbooks right in, asking their questions. During my work hours, they are more like short co-workers than my children.
Use your mute button. Having a phone with a speaker and mute button has been a life savior during many of the conference calls when my kids are home before they were home learning.
Communicate with your family. Tell them that you will be on a video or conference call for about an hour. If you have younger kids, this is the time I pulled out extra screen time, whether it's their favorite video game or their love for YouTube videos I can't tolerate. When my call is up, so is their extra time.
Make ahead meals. I know, I know. I struggle with this one still. Early on, I made three meals a day and worked a full day. Exhausting. Cooking takes up a lot of time, especially with hungry kids at the kitchen table schoolhouse. Pull out your slow cooker. Treat it like a long day at the office. Or support your local restaurants during these hard times by ordering take out.
Let it lie. In the beginning, I felt guilty that I was home all day and the laundry, dishes and housecleaning were not done. When my husband came home, I ran by him a list of all I had done looking for a pass on why I didn't do the housework. By now, I've learned and settled into a routine. Working in home is like working at the office, as long as I did what's on my to-do list. I wouldn't do housework if I worked at an office. I do most of my housework on the weekends or evenings, just as I did when I worked outside the home.
Take breaks. Schedule them. Take a quick walk around the block. Give yourself small doable tasks, like start a load of laundry. Yes, I know I said to let it lie, if you can do just a bit of the job, then do it. Pick up fifteen sticks in the yard. Take down the laundry. Unload the dishwasher (but don't load it). Get away from your desk.
Track your time. For me, the easiest way to get nothing done while sitting at home is the distractions on the internet. Jot down where your start and stop times are on a project. Use a time tracking software.
Set your day's goal. Use a to-do list. Ask yourself what you need to get done today. Write down those items, make sure you do them. If you do what you've intended to do, then it's a win.
Socialize. Make sure you reach out to co-workers and friends. Texting is fine, however, taking time to dial a number and talk in person is better. Reach out. Be social. Take time to be kind. Call your elderly neighbor. Call your aunt.