Work from Home. These 3 little words can have a huge impact on our lives. With more of us working from home and staying home more than usual, it’s important to find a balance that works for you and your family.
The perks of working remotely are clear. Whether you’ve worked remotely for a while, or are new to the practice, you’re likely enjoying the benefits of more flexibility, no commuting time nor expenses, comfy clothing and surroundings (there’s no place like home)… What most people find surprising is that there are also some obstacles that have to be navigated when mastering the art of working from home.
Here are 10 tips to make the most of working from home, and staying at home.
Our first suggestion is to make your entire home uplifting and happy. You spend more time at home if you also work there, so make every room your happy place. Surround yourself with your favorite colors, photos, and furnishings. Who needs comfort food when you have comfortable surroundings? We’re not suggesting you have to give up chocolate chip cookies; the two are not mutually exclusive!
Create a dedicated and comfortable workspace in your home, ideally in a location with minimal traffic (distractions!) and away from where you usually relax (temptations!). If you have limited space, consider a physical boundary such as a decorative screen to create privacy. Set other boundaries to separate work with time and space, like clearing away work by a certain time each day.
Make sure the space you work is comfortable enough to spend 8 hours a day. Check out ideas for comfortable seating.
It’s important to maintain routines. This small act will help avoid the uncomfortable feeling that one day is blending into the next, a common pitfall when you stay in one place. Make the most of your nonexistent commute by getting up early and starting the day on a positive note. Exercise, catch up on the news, read a book, write in a journal, meditate… whatever makes you happy.
Studies show that the most successful people are early risers who create a sense of accomplishment before they start their workday. Important note: don’t feel pressured to make your early mornings uber-productive, it’s just important to get out of bed with something to look forward to, and spend some time doing things that bring you joy.
One of the most common challenges occurs when two or more people are working from the same home, especially when space is limited. Like most things in life, it is important to communicate. Discuss your individual needs – a quiet place to have calls, a big table to spread out paperwork or place a monitor, a professionally acceptable background for video calls, and negotiate what works best for each of you.
If there is a highly coveted space in your home, there could be feelings of resentment if one person gets that location every day, so agree to trade places every other week.
Some WFH benefits can take a slippery slide into a shortcoming. For example, working in your pajamas or loungewear can be fun and make you feel secretly rebellious (and is clearly the most comfortable option). However, giving up on self-care routines can make you feel sluggish and unmotivated. Making an effort to look good and present your best self can foster a sense of continuity, strength, and professionalism… and you never know when an unexpected video call might come up!
Having trouble staying focused? It is important to create small breaks in your day. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes and do something you enjoy. When the timer goes off, go back to your desk with a clean slate and new frame of mind. Or get a fitness watch that offers a feature reminding you to stand up every hour. It really works wonders.
A sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking in terms of health risks. Take advantage of how easy it is to incorporate activity into your day when you work from home. Yet also recognize how easy to forget this important part of your day, so don’t leave it to chance. Go for a short walk, practice yoga, stretch.
Just like the warm vibes you get from spending time with friends and family, seeing the faces of your colleagues and customers can go a long way toward feeling connected. If you can't meet with your team in person, schedule a video call. There are lots of free apps that make it easy to virtually connect, and some offer fun games to get the conversation flowing.
Whether you have children who need help with schoolwork, or elderly relatives who need a helping hand or simply a kind voice on the phone, it is more important than ever to create a work-life balance that makes you and those around you feel good.
Focus on people and things you love and are grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal where you jot down 3 things that you are thankful for each day. They don’t have to be big. It can be as simple as a beautiful sunrise or sunset, or springtime flowers in bloom.
If you like scented candles, feel free to light up your favorite flame during the day. You’ll be surprised how relaxing it can be. Once in a while after work, break out the “good wine” for a special weeknight treat rather than waiting for a special occasion. Add fresh fruit to a rose to make it feel special!
And saving the best for last, keep plenty of hand cream on hand to soften and heal dry hands after so much washing. Stay safe, and moisturized!