As a former freelancer and full-time blogger, I am well versed in the work from home life. I worked from home for a year and a half before heading back to corporate life, so I wanted to share my tips for working from home to be and stay productive while cooped up in your house all day. Working from home is not for everyone and its not always easy. Even as someone who thrives in a quiet and self-motivated environment, it gets lonely working at home all the time.
Considering we may all be working from home via self-quarantine or forced by policies due to coronavirus, this is a good time to learn some tips for working from home more effectively. With health concerns looming, I’m going to avoid tips that surround going out to coffee shops or workspaces. If you are self-quarantining or practicing social distancing, this is not the time to try out a new coffee shop. That really defeats the purpose of staying home to stop the spread of germs.
Tips for Working from Home for the Corporate Worker
Set Up a Workspace
If you’re lucky, you might already have a den or office space, like me. However, if you are new to this work from home thing, you may not have a dedicated office space already, and if it is temporary, you may not want to invest in a full wfh set up.
Choose an area in your home to work from and stick with it. I recommend a place that isn’t too comfortable, so, avoid working from the bed or couch to avoid back problems, unintentional naps, and plain old laziness.
Separate your spaces into zones. The bed is for sleeping and serenity, not work. The couch is for relaxation and entertainment, not work. Choose a spot on the island or at the kitchen table so your set up is as normal to your cubicle or desk as possible.
Shop my home office below!
Create a Routine
Stick with the same routine every morning. It doesn’t have to be extensive, and if you aren’t video conferencing you may not even need to apply make-up! My routine was simple. Wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed (typically in (leggings and a t-shirt), pull my hair back into a ponytail, and then walk the dogs. When I got back I’d make coffee and sit down to begin working. I never touched my computer before these steps were done, so I didn’t throw off my routine.
Shop my work from home uniform below!
Kale has irregular work hours some days, so on occasion, he would be sleeping in when I started working or got home mid-day while I still had things to do. I had to set boundaries with him so that he didn’t burst in and turn on the television to interrupt my workday. He also set boundaries with me so that I didn’t snooze my alarm 5 times on days he was sleeping in!
If you have kids, a significant other, or even dogs living with you, set boundaries with them so that they know that even though you’re home you are still working during certain hours. Walks, playtime, and any non-work related activities must wait until after work, or a break.
Other than people and pets, there are plenty of distractions in your home. People stopping, errands or chores that need to be done, Netflix calling your name. Turn everything off and understand that during working hours, work takes priority. Even working for myself I refused to break from routine and let distractions mess with my schedule. If I did, I wouldn’t have gotten anything done!
Set restrictions on your social media apps if you find yourself scrolling through Instagram during the day, clean your home the night before, (This is a big one for me because I clean when I procrastinate!) eliminate all of your excuses not to do work.
Set Clear Goals
When you sit down each day, understand your long-term goals, then make a list of priorities that need to get done to reach them. This way you’ll have a purpose for the work you’re doing and a goal to reach.
This something I lost sight of as I was blogging full-time. I eventually got caught up with daily tasks versus the goals I was trying to reach long-term and lost sight of why I was doing everything. Write down your goals and everything that motivates you to keep working on those daily tasks.
Whether you work for yourself or a huge corporation, we all communicate with people to get our jobs done. We all answer to someone, whether it’s our boss, clients, or employees. Communication is paramount to making sure everyone is on the same page.
When in doubt, call. I’m the first person to avoid a phone call, but that is the best way to get a clear answer or set a clear expectation. I’m also a fan of over-documenting and leaving a paper trail, so after a phone call, follow up with an email or note in your task management software to confirm any decisions.
At home, it is so easy to just let the day pass by as you stare at your screen, but remember to take breaks! They are just as important to your productivity as hunkering down and working. Get a snack, walk to the coffee shop down the road, take the dogs for a walk, or meet a friend for lunch!
However, don’t take more time than you would in your normal office. Respect the time you’ve dedicated to your company. It can be so tempting to run errands during the day, but you wouldn’t normally take that time to run errands, so you shouldn’t now.
Make Use of Your Former Commute Time
Instead of your morning commute, use that time to work out, walk the dogs for longer, or cook breakfast. You have extra time in your day- what you always say you needed, so take advantage of it!
Be Aware of Your Meals and Snacks
When I work at home all day, I tend to lose track of time and forget to eat meals. I get really into what I’m working on, and don’t stop for lunch! On the other hand, on slow days I found myself snacking constantly on things that I wouldn’t exactly call healthy.
I’m not saying stop at noon in the dot to eat lunch and never snack, but be aware of how much you’re eating and try to keep to a normal mean and snack schedule.
Some of my favorite healthy snacks are below:
- Banana chips
- Trader Joe’s dried apples
- Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
- Daily Harvest Smoothies use code HEELS25 for $25 off your first order!
- Cut up some veggies- (bell peppers are my fave!)
That’s it folks, there were my 9 effective tips for working from home when you’re used to working in an office. Let me know in a comment below if you can think of any others!