Tips for working from home (from someone that does it all the time)
Some of our readers may not know this, but for over a year, I’ve been mostly teleworking from my apartment in Charlottesville, thanks to flexibility of Hodges when my husband took a new job. I pop into the office once or twice a week, but for the most part, I’m putting my communication skills to test by dialing into meetings, utilizing our Slack channels and continuing to forge relationships with my coworkers in Richmond and media contacts around the world – all while working remotely.
Transitioning to a work from home environment can be done – and if you do it right, very productive. To help, I’ve listed six things that have helped me make the switch from an office setting to WFH.
Get up and move
Seriously, this is the biggest one for me. When you don’t see people coming and going like you do in a regular office, it can be easy to get attached to your computer and all the sudden it’s 3 p.m. and you haven’t eaten lunch. I have my FitBit set to remind me every hour between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. if I haven’t gotten at least 250 steps in, and I try to use that as a reminder to drink water, take my dog Max outside or just simply get away from my computer screen for a few minutes.
Flex your communication muscles
I know preferences will differ from workplace to workplace, but I communicate with most of my clients via phone, text and email and with my colleagues through all the same channels plus Slack. Speaking of Slack, since people can’t see me being away from my desk, I try extra hard to note if I’m going to be away for a significant amount of time or tied up with a meeting, with a note on the best way to reach me if urgent.
Connect even when there’s not a reason to
I often Slack or call colleagues just to check in without needing to talk about something client specific, just to check in or say hi. It helps me feel connected to everyone even when I’m not in the office and keep the friendly banter that exists within our office in real-time alive.
Working remotely, it can be harder to have a feeling for when the day begins and ends, so it helps to establish a routine. I usually take a walk in the morning before sitting down at my computer and I’ll admit, I’m still learning how to set boundaries at the end of the day. One thing I’ve found to be helpful is the act of putting my computer and charger into my work bag to remove the temptation of checking one more thing off the list. Out of sight, out of mind.
Don’t work in your pajamas
I’ll be honest, when I’m at home, you can usually find me in leggings and sneakers unless I have a meeting with a client BUT for obvious reasons it’s important to work in something different than what you sleep in, even if it’s a little more casual that what you would wear in your typical office setting.
Work where it works for you
Call me crazy, but I don’t have a desk at home and it’s worked just fine for me! I prefer to work in the sunniest room of our townhouse because it makes me feel connected to the outside world, so I work on the couch most days with my computer on my lap. Sometimes I switch things up and work at our dining room table. I keep a cup of water with me all day and have my work bag next to me so I have easy access to any notebooks or materials I need.
Above all, try to embrace the positives of a new situation, whether that means more time in your day thanks to no commute, extra time with your pet or the ability to get more creative in the kitchen – no more sad desk lunches!
Do you have any other WFH tips you’d add to the list? We’d love to hear them! And for all of you now working at home, welcome to my world. You can do this.