For many of us, the next few months look a bit like a strange new world. We rely on the news of the day for guidance and, for the first time, we may not have a clear idea of what we’ll be doing next week. Add onto that the challenge of working from home, and it’s no wonder so many people are feeling a little adrift.
It’s undeniable that working from home is very different from what you might be accustomed to in your usual workplace, but it’s not impossible to make the transition. With a bit of flexibility, you’ll be just as successful in your home office as you were at your regular desk.
1. Pretend You’re Still Going Into the Office.
Home has been (hopefully!) a place of relaxation and peace for you, and the atmosphere of working from your newly-made home office or your kitchen table is very different from the usual vibe of your office. Resist the urge to start every day like a Saturday morning, and instead, stick to your usual routine, as if you were still going into your workplace. Wake up early, put on your work clothes, and get the coffee pot perking. This will help get you in the right frame of mind to get to work.
2. Intentionally Block Yourself From Social Media.
The average person unlocks their smartphone 150 times every day. That’s not all checking email, either. Social media can eat up tons of time in small chunks throughout the day, and you’ll be more productive if you become your own worst roadblock to accessing your profiles. If you’re using a web browser for work, log out of all social media sites. Don’t even bookmark them. If you don’t want to do this on your personal account, you can set up a separate, “work only” user account.
3. Know When and How You Work Best.
We all have different times of the day when we’re most productive, and we all have different ways of working. If you’re at your best in the morning, wake up early, throw on a pot of coffee, and get the hardest thing on your to-do list done and out of the way. If you’re at peak performance later in the day or in the evening, tackle the smaller items on your calendar first. Do you work better with background noise? Throw on the radio! Do you focus better with no distractions at all? Find a room where you can close the door and let your housemates or family know that you can’t be interrupted till lunchtime.
4. Communication is Key.
Whether it’s members of your family or members of your work team, communication is the single secret ingredient to successfully working from home.
- Do you need absolute quiet on a phone call? Tell your family members that you’ll be in another room, and you need them to refrain from loud noises for the next half hour.
- Do you have an exuberant youngster who wants nothing more than to help you work and checks in every two minutes? Set up an “Office Mail Box” outside your workspace where they can leave you important “office memos”, and review them at lunchtime.
- Are you having trouble understanding or scheduling a task with your coworkers? Organize a quick meeting or group chat to hash it out.
5. Breaks are Okay – Take Them.
Working from home doesn’t mean you need to burn yourself into the ground. Just as you would in the office, schedule regular breaks to get up from your table or desk, stretch, and walk around a bit. Taking breaks, even quick ones, can reduce stress and make your work more pleasant.
6. Pre-Prepare Your Meals.
As nice as it would be to take an hour chopping and prepping food for lunch, you probably don’t have that kind of flexibility in your scheduled hours. Instead, prepare your meals the night before. If you’re really feeling ambitious, set aside some time on Sunday to do make a few big batches of healthy food. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy home-cooked goodness every day of the week without having to sacrifice any of your break time for the preparation.
7. Make the Most of Lunchtime
Lunch doesn’t have to be inhaled in five minutes. Instead, it can be a relaxing oasis in the middle of your day. When it’s time for lunch, take your food somewhere special. Eat out on the patio, or bring a blanket into the backyard for an impromptu picnic (and maybe a little bit of relaxing in the sun). Eat with your family if possible, or call a friend or a coworker and chat about your day. When you return to your tasks, you’ll feel as if you’ve just returned from a miniature vacation.
8. Get Some Exercise.
When it’s time for a fifteen-minute break, it can be immensely tempting to flop down on the couch for a quick nap. While getting enough sleep is definitely important, push past this urge and go for a brisk walk instead. The form your walk takes will largely depend on where you are and what the weather’s like. If walking outside isn’t possible, go for a few turns around the backyard or make a few trips up and down the stairs. Throw on some music and have a quick but energetic dance party. The idea is to get your blood flowing and keep your muscles active.
9. Don’t Slack Off on Your Security.
Working from home means that you are your own security department, and if there were privacy protocols to follow at the office, you need to figure out how to implement those. Digital security can be intimidating, but there are plenty of guides available to help you secure your Internet connection and protect your digital files.
By the same token, you shouldn’t neglect basic physical security protocol, either. If you’re scribbling passwords on napkins and chucking confidential meeting notes into the trash can – stop. Establish a safe place to store these items, like a locking container, until you can arrange a visit from a mobile shredding service to professionally shred them. When you’re not working, lock the door to your workspace and safely store any files or documents you may have been using.
For more information on our mobile paper shredding service and how we’re helping customers like you manage their document destruction from home, give us a call at (602) 441-3339. We’re here to help.