As most of our nation moves home to work … here are 19 things I have learned in working from home for the past 5 years.
- Outline this new @ home playing field with your family.
When a storm strikes in the middle of a baseball game, the playing field needs to be re-lined. This COVID-19 is like a major storm blowing into the lives of our families that disrupts everything, including our work places and spaces. It is important to talk to your family and re-line the playing field with communication such as …
-This is where I will be working.
-At this time I can be interrupted for any reason.
-Here is when you should only interrupt me if it’s an emergency.
Making sure everyone clearly sees the invisible lines of “working from home” will serve you and your family well in this inning of the game.
- Realize you still need community.
We were created for community with God and others. When you work from home, fighting for community becomes an added endeavor that was not as necessary when you went to the “office.” Loneliness and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. But even introverts need interaction. Finding group chats and connecting via video with team members can come in clutch in quarantined times. Maybe it’s time for a Netflix party!
- Remember flannel pajamas are comfy and fun, but only for a few days.
Get into the rhythm of getting up and getting dressed, and you will feel more productive and positive. Wearing only flannel for a week will make even the most fit person feel fatigued!
- Take a real lunch break.
Even though you are just walking 20-30ft. to a new room in the house, take time to eat a healthy lunch and let your mind marinate on things other than work. You can use an app, such as TimeOut for Mac to lock yourself out of your computer for 30 or 60 minutes. This could help you make sure you “eat up” all your scheduled lunch time!
- Take a walk.
Every 2-3 hours stand up and take a quick trip around the block. Your body and mind will work better and thank you as you honor them.
- Schedule your work day and then work your day.
In this work from home reality you will still need to work 6-10 hours a day, most likely. But oftentimes, you can set those hours.
-Are you better in the morning or evening?
-Do want to take 2 hours each day at lunch, but then work until 7pm? Use this season to be creative in setting your schedule and then stick to it! Personal time-tracking apps, such as RescueTime, let you know if you’re sticking to your schedule. They can also help you discern what times of day you’re most productive versus when you tend to get lazy or unmotivated.
- Get specific with your work space.
Working from the couch all day seems nice, but it gets old and unproductive pretty quick. Finding a space that is private and set aside for “work” will also help as you retreat out of that space to not see your whole house as an office!
- Be fully present at virtual meetings.
It is easy to get distracted and show up a little late to an online meeting. What if you decided that you will amp up your energy and be even more present and on time as you move meetings online? There is no doubt that your energy and attendance will be noticed by your co-workers and organization. And this could make important emotional and relational deposits with your employer that you will only realize in the future.
- Tune up your tone.
As you work from home, one of the things that can be lost is your “tone” in a conversation. When things are written or you are talking online, it can be easier to misinterpret a person’s tone. How you say what you say is just as important as what you say! Use humor when writing, and smile often when you are on video … this helps people remain positive when working remotely.
- Sign off in the same way each day.
Try to wrap up the same way each day. This will help bring closure to the day. It will help you put work away. When you were at the “office,” you gathered your things, locked your door and got in your car to drive home. There was no doubt you were at the end of your day. What can you do at home that also signals the end of a work day? Getting in a rhythm of signing off the same way will …
– Help your family know when it is again OK to approach you!
– Help you not see your entire home as one continuous work space!
– Help you be ready to “commute” back to the office space again tomorrow!
- If possible, keep your work space and your sleep space two distinct places.
- Keep your shoes on and your head up.
- Don’t drink 13 cups of coffee at home, instead of the normal 2-3 cups you would drink at the “real” office.
- Play some music in the background so “home” doesn’t get too quiet.
- Mute your microphone or use headphones during conference calls.
- Don’t become a vampire. Work during the day and sleep at night.
- Learn a new skill or hobby that you can bring with you out of this work at home / quarantine season.
- Exercise and stretch regularly, even if you are 26 years old!
- Adopt a “biggest fan” mindset, and use this time to encourage and keep your eyes on others.