In this blog post on Top Tips For Working From Home, you will find a compilation of several contributors, writing on the best tips for working from home. Ranging from mindset, to clothing, to scheduling, you may find several tips to increase your efficiency, lessen burdens from work, and keep your employer happy (which may be yourself). And if you are at home thinking about your next side-gig, test out our AI-powered logo maker!
I have been working from home since 2001. First, I know that working from home is not for everyone. What’s different about today than two months ago is that two months ago, you had the luxury of turning it down.
A lot of people will talk about the logistics of setting up a productive environment, sticking to regular work hours, and even continuing to shower and dress for work every day. To me, those are the throw-away tips.
If you’re someone who has never worked from home, or you’ve opted out of it for a while because it wasn’t for you, I have the one piece of advice that will work for you:
Create an accountability relationship. This relationship can be with one person or a group of people. They can be in the same field, and the same role as you, or have a completely different career. That doesn’t matter to get started.
For the sake of ease, let’s say this is a group of two people. The two of you will set formal times to ‘meet’ by phone, zoom, skype, or another method, and it will be the same time every week or every few days. These logistics depend on whatever the two of you decide. The three rules that should be agreed upon are:
For the first call, you’re going to explain your job, your company briefly, and your industry to each other, so you both genuinely have an idea of the work and challenges involved in your role. After that, you’re going to set reasonable intentions for the week ahead – the work you plan to get done. Then you’re going to discuss any foreseeable challenges. You both do this, and you both take notes on what your accountability partner says.
For the second call, talk about the action items you completed, and the results. Then you discuss any action items that you failed to complete and the reason why. Each of you takes turns with these items. Then you each set your action items for the upcoming week.
An accountability relationship works because it’s uncomfortable to admit you didn’t complete your work, but it also works on a social level. You’ll become invested in your accountability partner’s success, as they will with yours. And even though you’re working from home, you won’t feel completely alone.
My top tips for working from home are:
1. Keep your morning routine. Whether it's making coffee and breakfast or a morning workout, keep everything business as usual.
2. Add structure to your weekdays. These days weekdays can blur into weekends. Make sure your weekdays have the rigour to them so the weekdays can feel decidedly different.
3. Wear headphones. While the home is comforting, home is also full of distractions. Put on focusing music or white noise playlist and tune out the home.
4. Maintain regular office hours. It's tempting to put work by the wayside to get a project done at home but keep your 9-5 as close to those hours as possible to maintain a feeling of normalcy.
5. Get dressed. The ritual of getting dressed for work sets a purpose for the day ahead and the task you need complete.
Make a space just for work. If you already have a home office, you're set. If you don't have a home office then clear some space that you will be using strictly for work. Don't put it near distractions like the TV or entertainment center. A good place might be in the dining area in the corner. Even your bedroom can offer too many lures to keep you away from your desk.
Make sure you have all of your office supplies and daily needs within reach. The more you don't start wandering around the house, the better off you'll be. Newbies, who have never experienced the luxury of working at home, need to learn that even the laundry can keep you from getting work done. It's easy when something is right in your line of sight to get distracted by it. So, minimize house-wandering activities by keeping your daily materials close to your newfound office space.
Keep standard work hours just like you would at the regular office. Your co-workers and supervisors will expect you to be at your desk working business as usual. It can be tempting to stay in bed longer or work when you feel like it. It's better to develop an overall habit that is no different than your regular work habits.
Boundaries are extremely important, especially when you have family living with you. Be clear about your work time and don't let personal needs and family distractions creep into your work. Family and friends often assume that since you're at home, they can just interrupt your day. Pick up the phone only for immediate family and avoid personal calls. You don't want to send the wrong message to people about your work time.
However, in turn, remember to keep those same boundaries in place for your personal time too. Don't let work creep into your home life. It's easy to let that happen when work is right at your fingertips and your boss is calling at 7:00 p.m. Just as you don't answer the phone during work hours to friends your boss and co-workers should be treated the same way.
Most importantly do remember to eat lunch and take a walk or get some fresh air. If you're confined to your domicile much like people in San Francisco then keep six-feet of distance away from other people while out on walks.
And don't forget to enjoy! If you have to stay indoors during this epidemic, enjoy the lack of commute or the ability to wear sweats all day. This outbreak doesn't have to mean the end of productivity or commerce with the right attitude.
The Eat Your Coffee team has been remote in some capacity for over two years and a fully remote team for nearly a full year now. We were fortunate to have had time to stumble through the many learnings of working from home together before the world has been thrust into working remotely due to COVID-19. Something that has helped us all function and remains productive while we're in our respective corners of the world is a clear policies and procedures document that outlines how you and your team will work together when you're not all in the same room. In light of the current crisis, we decided to make our internal policies on remote work public for everyone who is trying to adjust to this new normal.
There is nothing more important to me than the health and wellbeing of my team. But, with our workforce newly remote, ensuring strong digital collaboration is a close second. We have incorporated multiple communication platforms into our processes and routines to ensure we can remain connected while physically distant.
Email is not enough to replace the organic synergy that intra-office connections provide. I strongly suggest other entrepreneurs and business leaders implement multiple online collaboration tools to address task management, project tracking, chat, and information posting.
However, my number one tip is to encourage video conferencing. While there may be some resistance from those who were hoping to work all day in pyjamas (and I don’t blame them), there are significant benefits to flipping the cameras on. Videos provide more fruitful communication and connection than audio-only calls. Team members can pick up on non-verbal communication cues. They are more likely to stay focused, instead of multi-task, when they are on camera. And, because everyone is visible, there is more likely to be a lively conversation from all participants, with no one being left out.
As leaders, it’s our job to promote connection and communication at a time when it’s easy to feel distant and isolated. With the plethora of tools available to us, we can bring our teams together and stay united as we move past these hurdles.
My top tip would be to shower and get dressed every morning. It sounds simple, but it has a significant impact on your state of mind and puts you in a positive headspace to go to work. It's just too easy to slip into PJs and lay on the couch.
Set boundaries on your work. Working from home can flow into the rest of your home life. If possible, set physical boundaries with a dedicated workspace that is only used for work and that you can leave at the end of your workday. Set psychological boundaries by preparing for your workday by going through your regular morning routine, and leave work at the end of the day by establishing some ritual that signals work is over (change clothes, move to a different part of the house, go for a walk, etc.). Communicate your work hours to both clients, coworkers, and family members, so that the critical people in your work and personal lives know when you are accessible. To keep work from bleeding into non-work hours, leave work tech (phone, computer, etc.) in your workspace and resist the urge to log in when your workday is done.
Shannon Pfeffer is the founder of Syrup, an executive coaching firm
specializing in life-enhancing change. Prior to coaching, Shannon spent 15
years rising the ranks in the PR and advertising strategy at global
agencies, making change for the biggest brands in the world. Shannon is a
graduate of St. Mary's College of Notre Dame and Stanford's Graduate School
of Business Executive Program for Women Leaders.
Michelle Gamble owns 3L Publishing and has happily and successfully worked from her home office for 15 years.
Johnny is one of the co-founders of Eat Your Coffee, creators of the original naturally caffeinated snack bar fueled by organic coffee. Officially launching in 2015, Eat Your Coffee is distributed in thousands of office pantries around the country and has raised $3M in funding as they pioneer a new category in naturally caffeinated snacks.
Shaun Savage is the CEO and Founder of GoShare. He is passionate about
developing innovative mobile technology especially pertaining to the
sharing economy and transportation. His professional experience in sales,
business development, and marketing gave him a solid foundation on which to
build GoShare. Shaun enjoys playing hockey, bike riding, spending time with
family and friends, driving fast, and closing deals. He is a strategic
thinker and is motivated by a strong desire to succeed. Shaun is also an
active volunteer for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Named one of San Diego’s
30 under 30ish, he is considered a rising star in the startup community.
Shaun graduated from the University of Delaware in 2006 with a degree in
Vancouver based ecommerce entrepreneur with over ten years of experience
managing and growing online businesses. Since 2012, I've built 3 of my own
stores totalling 1M+ in annual sales.
Dr. Kimberly Dwyer is a clinical psychologist practicing in suburban
Denver and offering telehealth throughout the state. Working from a
mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral orientation, she excels at the
treatment of anxiety, stress, and managing transitional times. She is
currently the co-owner and co-founder of Rocky Mountain Center for
Development, LLC. Dr. Dwyer also supports mental health providers and and
small business owners to launch, grow, and re-define their businesses and
fine work-life balance using values aligned intentional living. When she's
not at work, you might find her enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors
with her husband and three children, playing with her dogs and foster dogs,
on her yoga mat, or with a watercolor brush in hand.
Lauren Milligan is a resume writer and job coach, college instructor, and hobbyist welder.
Lauren has worked with thousands of professionals in all stages of career advancement for the past 18 years. She’s written so many resumes that she often dreams in bullet points. Her clients come to her for resume development, LinkedIn profile creation, networking and interview skills coaching, accountability coaching, and crafting a multi-tier job search campaign. In her own words, “A job search is a lot like chess. You have to know yourself, you have to know the landscape and you have to know your competition. The rest is just wordsmithing.”
Simply put, when it comes to getting your next job, Lauren knows what you need to do to get there.
Lauren leads a multitude of workshops and presentations throughout the Chicagoland area. She belongs to a variety of business groups, enabling her to stay current on what employers are looking for in their candidates. She has contributed to hundreds of career-related features on national media, including ABC News, CNN, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and others.