Work From Home, now popularly known as WFH is something I have been doing successfully for years. Ditching the commute and the office small talk, sounded like a dream come true ten years ago when my company approved me working from home. I will tell you, it takes discipline to work from home, but once you build up your routine, the opportunities are endless.
As offices struggled to get workers set up from home, the workers I think at first were really excited to be able to WFH. But once the thrill starts to fade, it seems most people are asking themselves: HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS? I am here to tell you; you can do this! WFH will build your communication skills with teammates, teach you to be a video conference call expert and so many other growth opportunities will come from this experience. But where to start?
Simply put, here are my Top 5 Work From Home Tips:
BE READY TO WORK
Look this isn’t like going to club, and deciding if you want to drink, dance, wall flower or all of the above. This is work. Show up ready to work. I highly suggest, most days, and especially as you transition into this new routine, get ready like you would for the office. Try to carry out your normal pre-office rituals, even pack your lunch if that is your normal. Shower, dress like you are going to the office or at least your casual Friday attire, and put on a coat of your Deliberately Classy Mascara and some lip gloss. You want to dress for the job, although you may only be walking down the hall to your “office” this is going to set you up for success. For all you over achievers, when you sit down to work, review your day and make sure you set at least 3 tasks that you need to accomplish in your days’ work.
Have an area in your home, that all your work stuff lives. Ideally this would be the same place that you work from. That can be a full blow office, with a desk, monitors and a door if you are so lucky. Or this may be your dining room table or corner of your bedroom. But have a space, that your notes live, your supplies sit at, and your computer charges at. Working from you bed or couch 100% of the time, will be difficult. I feel it is important to have a space for all your work stuff to live, even if you leave that space to work from the other places in your home throughout the day. This tells your mind and body, I am in my work space, and now I will work.
It is important to have what you absolutely need to be successful at your job. Now that you are all set up at home, you may be realizing, it is hard to do X without Y. For example, at the office you have two computer monitors, at home you have a 13” laptop, doing some of your daily responsibilities may take longer, but it may also be damn impossible to work without the dual monitor set up. My rule of thumb, ask for what you need to be successful. If you put a case together to get what you need, the worse your boss can say is no. But it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Another important WFH item is a headset. There are a number of headsets out there, so if you haven’t been offered one and are expected to take calls, please request one. I use my apple ear buds for all my devices, but there are also noise canceling headsets that will allow you to block out the sounds around you, so you can stay focused on thetask at hand. Check out Plantronics or Jabra website to see the possibilities.
CALENDAR CALENDAR CALENDAR
Look kids, if you do not know how to use your electronic calendar, you should take some time to learn. Watch videos on YouTube, ask your closest millennial, but learn how to use your calendar.
Every Friday, I have my next week’s calendar at least 75% filled. This is just my normal cadence, but I highly suggest it if you are struggling getting on track from your home office use your calendar to guide you. What do I mean by that? Look you are at home, the kids may be home, your spouse may there, the world is stuck in an epic state of uncertainty, who wouldn’t get distracted? By using your calendar, you come to work with the day mapped out, you keep track of the days, and the best feature, you can look back at the end of the week and know that you were successful!
I know your next questions will be, what do I do when I have a gap in my calendar? I bet you are hoping I say, go watch Tiger King. NOPE. The correct answer is: what would you do if you had a gap in your calendar at the office? That is what you should do.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF TECHNOLOGY
Look, it is here to stay, so stop getting frustrated and start getting tech savvy. If something isn’t working, take a break and watch a video of how to make it work on YouTube or read an article. Someone out there has done it, documented it and make that information public for YOU to learn. Another trick of the trade use Chrome as your internet browser. Look I don’t know what magic they have baked into their web service, but any technology will be easier to load and will work better with using Chrome.
My favorite technology feature lives in my iPhone, have you used the Remind Me feature? Check out my old blog post on this: here
It is important to get up and move, remember at the office, you had to walk to get to places. At my home office, I try each day to eat my lunch away from my working area. I take my lunch outside on my patio most days and follow it up with a short walk or scoter ride around the block. I also tend to take short breaks to do things around the house, loading the dishwasher or switching the laundry are five-minute gaps that help me digest the day. Back in the office, this may have looked like a Starbuck break, but in the house, for me, it looks like chores. But I have to tell you, taking five minutes away from my computer to do something that doesn’t take a lot of thought, gives me such clarity around the many things I am juggling at that moment.
Overall, remember it just like a new job. You have to transition in and get comfortable. You are in charge of your success! So, get set up, give yourself grace if you get off track, and refocus. If you have a tip to share, please share with us in the comments below.