Not used to working from home? Well I have some advice.
By Alex Yewdell
For the past four and half years I have worked from home or “telecommuted,” if you will. I know for many across the country, the recent pandemic has brought a significant amount of change to their daily lives. Telecommuting will certainly be a new challenge for many, and I thought I would share some tips I’ve learned along the way.
In no particular order or rank, here is a mix of small and big things you can do to make this new normal feel, well, a little bit more normal.
Don’t Change Your Morning Routine
Just because you are no longer jumping in your car, catching the bus, riding your bike or whatever method you previously used to get to work, doesn’t mean you have to make a dramatic change to your mornings. Wake up at the same time, have your cup of coffee as you wash down breakfast and most importantly get dressed. Whether you are a morning shower person or not, do what you would do as if you were going in to work but say, for a casual Friday format. You don’t need to throw on a suit or dress and you don’t need to put on those wingtips or heels. But don’t change your routine just because you are not leaving the house! And, well, that takes me right to my next tip!
Leave Your House
You should absolutely be following the rules of social distancing—but, if you can, try to still get outside. For me, there is something about fresh air that is both reinvigorating and calming. Go for a walk around the block, you will feel more energized when you sit back down (just be sure to stay six feet away from anyone outside your household!). And, don’t stop there. Think of all the little breaks you take in the office: the trips to the kitchen, a coffee run or two. You probably spend more time away from your desk than you imagine. Don’t limit yourself just because you’re at home. When you need to stretch your legs, get up and go for a walk. Before logging on and clocking in, take a walk. Pre-lunch, walk! That 3 o’clock lull, walk! You will feel better and I’d put my money on you being a more productive employee than if you just stayed pent up inside from 9 to 5.
Don’t Forget Your Shoes
I know I said above you don’t need to put on those wingtips or heels, but go ahead and put on the shoes you would wear to work on a casual Friday. If this is where I lose you, we had a good run! Seriously, I do not know what it is about wearing shoes, but wearing them makes me feel more professional, inspired and just ready to work. Give it a try, you might be surprised!
Organization Matters More Than Ever
Ideally you will have space in your home for a designated desk but that is not the reality for many now faced with telecommuting. Designated desk or not, you need to be more organized than you were before. Most likely your desk size has been reduced now that you are working from home. Maybe now is a good time to embrace technology! I know everyone loves a good to-do list or if you were like me, post-it notes of outstanding tasks and action items. That is why discovering Google Chrome extensions was such a big deal. If you follow our Insights blog you will know many of our team members including myself LOVE various Google Chrome extensions for productivity. I have some more to share! Momentum and Todo Tab are both fantastic task organizers and I highly recommend experimenting with both. Each works in a similar fashion: when you open a new tab in Google Chrome, the new window that populates will highlight your recorded tasks and to-do lists. With Momentum you name your main focus for the day while Todo Tab lets you create a color coded to-do list. Check out the screen shots below:
Eliminating clutter in your work space allows you to then keep some of the items you have grown accustom to working next to you. Like the big jug, thermos or bottle of water you always have next to you. Coincidentally, this brings me to my final WFH hack!
Without sounding like that crazy person on your social media feed, stay hydrated! You love drinking water when you are in the office, why stop now that you are home? You can scour the web and find plenty of articles that make a claim that hydration improves this and that and then you will also find those that say the exact opposite. All I know is this, I feel better when I am well hydrated and I can tell when I am not. This tip works twofold, the point being that if you typically do something when working in the office, do it while you work from home but most of all, stay hydrated!
That’s all for now but let us know if you want more! Also feel free to write to us and let us know what works for you. Nearly 5 years down and I am still learning new techniques.