With the spread of the coronavirus, many companies are (wisely) having their employees work remotely from home. As someone who has been working from home for a couple of years now (running this fine website as well as a lot of other cool online stuff for small businesses), I have learned a couple of thing that might be useful for some of you work from home newbies to hear. And, hey, I know everyone is different and maybe some or even all of these won’t work for you, but I hope they will.
Note: Some of these things I picked up along the way and some of these I read about and I apologize for not having links as I never thought we would be in a place where this would be the content of a blog post but here we are, in the craziest of times. Anyhoo, here we go.
1) Designate a work area
While the thought of getting some work done while kicking it in bed or the couch might sound cool at first, eventually your dumb brain won’t be able to differentiate between a work area and a relaxing area and before you know it, you are thinking about projects and stuff while you are trying to stream a show. Plus, by having a special spot to work, you can take “breaks” by going somewhere else in the house.
I know this might be tough for some without much extra space in the house, so maybe it’s just one chair at the dining room table or even moving a chair back and forth to differentiate between when you are using it for work or for relaxation. I know this might sound stupid, but just try it.
2) Establish a routine
The hardest thing for many about working from home, especially if you are at the house solo, is motivating yourself to start doing actual work. With no one watching you like a hawk, who cares if you take in a show or a hike or a nap before you get started with your workday and, oh shit, it’s now 5 pm and you haven’t done a damn thing! Pick a scheduled that makes sense for you and your company and stick to it.
3) Groom yourself every once in a while
There’s a weird feeling about going to work unshaven, in pajamas, without having showered for days. You don’t have to put on a damn suit everyday, but, dude at least comb your hair and brush your teeth. It will make you feel better and you will work better too.
4) Beware the kitchen
You are at home and you can have lunch whenever you want and did you already eat lunch at 9:30 am? These are stressful days and you are probably loaded up with supplies for a potential quarantine, but try your best to eat the way you would if you were at the office before you end up realizing you scarfed down the equivalent of 7 meals before 5.
5) Take real breaks
This one can be hard, but you gotta do it. Take 15 – 20 minutes every few hours, step away from the computer, and do something, anything that is not work related or done on the computer. But, you’re just shopping Amazon or reading TMZ, you say. Nope. You have to step away from the computer, dude – or else you will go freakin’ crazy and/or feel exhausted.
Guess who is no longer getting in those steps by walking in, out, and around the office? Yup, it’s like 10 steps from the couch to your work area and you are going to need more than that if you don’t want to gain 20 pounds over the next few weeks.
7) Limit the TV
Oh sure, it’s just background noise, you say, and next thing you know you are an hour into a movie or screaming at what was said on the news. Try to put on some music if possible. I will confess, I put on yacht rock as it’s like the least distracting thing possible and Kenny Loggins, Hall & Oates, and Toto just know how to get me through my workday.
Currently playing: 🎵It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do 🎵
8) Don’t let people take advantage of you
I am certain that my friends, my family (who does not live with me), and basically everyone else I tell that I work from home believes that all I do is smoke weed, lounge around all day, and, I guess, magically the websites I design just get done while I’m napping or something.
While this is definitely not true, the perception of people working from home is that they have all the free time and no responsibility. This leads people to not only give you shit, but also asking you for favors or giving you grief if you don’t want to get drunk with them at 2 pm. Don’t let them make you feel bad and feel free to turn them down. You are doing your job, just not at work – and this applies to your employer to. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean they get to double up your workload, though that’s always a tough convo with the boss.
That’s all I have got, but I would love to hear any tips you may have. Add them in the comments.