So, You're About to Start Working from Home

In light of the spread of Covid-19, I'm social distancing. Are you? Self isolation isn't very challenging for me, because as someone who has run her own business, and worked from home for the better part of the last six years, having a lot of alone time has become routine for me. I understand, however, that many people are about to enter the WFH world for the first time this workweek. Here are some simple tips from someone who has been there, done that. 

I hope you'll find these tips helpful as you navigate using your home as a place for work, rest, and fun. 

  • Wake up at the same time everyday.
  • Shower and get dressed like you’re going in to work. More comfortable pants are great, but I find that if I'm too comfortable, I'm not as productive.
  • Make and eat breakfast in a space where you don’t work.
  • Go outside before you begin work. I used to drive to Starbucks every day to have some outside time and human interaction, now I’ll stick to just walking the dog.
  • Don’t work in your bedroom if you can avoid it. You want your bedroom to signal “sleep” (and/or “sex”), not “work” to your brain. The more time to spend working in the bedroom, the less relaxing this room may become when it's time to shut off work.
  • I prefer to “eat the frog” aka, do the hardest or most time consuming or most dreaded task first. I find that if I do simple “warm up tasks” first I end up doing a lot of dinky little things all day rather than getting any meaningful work done.
  • Keep water and snacks in your work space, but try to eat lunch away from your desk and not look a screen while you eat.
  • Walk for a few minutes during your lunch break. If your work requires you to primarily sit, this is a great opportunity to get some movement in.
  • Keep written to do lists. If being at home triggers you to remember the chores you need to do, write them down and complete them when your workday is over. Make a running list of your work tasks, so that if you don’t complete them today, you know where to begin the next day.
  • Don’t multitask. Home stuff and work stuff don’t need to be done at the same time. It can be tempting to run laundry or do chores because the mess is right in front of you, but try to make work time for work.
  • Stretch, walk around, drink your water. You might find that the isolation of working from home means less physical movement because you’re not talking to co-workers, walking to meetings, etc.
  • Create a group chat with your coworkers so that you don’t miss out on the social aspect of work. I have a Facebook messenger group chat with four other women in business that has been going on for something like six years. These girls make working alone a lot less lonely!
  • When you’re done for the day, tidy up your workspace, or put away work things. You don’t want to feel like work is just looming over you because you can visually see it while you’re doing other home stuff.
  • Create boundaries. Living where you work can mean that you are always available to work. Let colleagues and clients know that you won’t be answering calls and emails on weekends, or after 5pm, for example.
  • Mentally commute home. Try to shut off and distance yourself from work at the end of the day so you can enjoy being home and be fresh in the morning!

Enjoy the coziness of home, but don’t let it devolve info laziness, while at the same time not letting work stress ramp up home life. Striking this balance is difficult, but with a little practice it can become second nature.

Take care of yourself. Wash your hands. Stay home.

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