If you’re like the rest of the world, this pandemic has you quickly realizing that you and all your colleagues, clients and vendors will be working from home for at least the rest of the month.
What do you do?
Here are my pro tips on how to work from home like a boss, save your sanity, and be even more successful than when you were at your job. All within the parameters of public health guidelines for this current pandemic response. I’ve worked remote for more than 5 years now and before have worked in corporate offices for about 10, so I am confident that my tested and proven tips will work for you.
- Get dressed. I know, this is your chance to work in your pajamas! Don’t do it. Leggings, yes. Designated “work sweatpants”, fine. But don’t work in the clothes you slept in. There is a meaningful mental shift that happens when you transition from morning to work. And it’s especially important when you work from home.
- Set boundaries. It’s easy to start working right away, but when you work from home it’s really hard to stop. So block your calendar for morning and evening to avoid “work from home call creep” and ensure you can transition from one mental space to the next. And give yourself permission to enjoy your morning more leisurely since you’re not commuting. It’s okay to set boundaries with yourself and your colleagues. Taking time in your morning (even if you’re not leaving the house).
- Rotate rooms. You’re a work from home newbie. You need to try out different rooms to see what works for you. Rooms have different light, feels, energy and conveniences. I find I have to switch between 2 rooms. No more though otherwise I can’t refocus. But I have this one chair that just “works” for me and this one window that’s perfect. Don’t try to figure out why. Just test all the rooms, chairs and tables to see where you get your “flow”.
- Less is best. You don’t need a lot to work from home. Less is best. You need a laptop, charger, maybe a mouse, pen, and paper. You’ll spend more time trying to “organize” your “office” than just being a remote worker. Stay lean until you know what your ideal space is (#3) and what your tools are. I wasted so much time trying to build a magazine-style home office. Honestly, it’s my laptop and charger and phone. Done.
- Mitigate distractions and background noise. Always be on mute when you’re not talking. Coordinate meetings / rooms with your spouse / roommate. Have a bag of toys for your child / pet because they will ALWAYS make loud noises when you’re on the call and not on mute.
- Don’t be fooled. Everyone says “I’m so busy”. Lies! If they’re claiming they’re so busy, and you’re wondering if you should be doing more, stop. That’s the work from home game. You’re normal busy. Don’t call them out. But don’t question yourself. You’re doing fine.
Welcome, friend, to the work from home world! It’s a challenging yet glorious peak into the future and a journey of self-discovery. You’re one of us now, even if for a few weeks. And I hope you give yourself permission to explore your work style, set life-work boundaries, and bring this new freedom and focus into the rest of your life.
Want to talk more? Sign up for my professional coaching hours here or read my other articles on what to do if your job has disappeared this week, you’re feeling anxious or you’re a business leader responsible for managing through this.
About the Author
Kim is the founder of Centrally Human, a human-centric organization focused teaching growth through workshops, online classes, professional coaching and keynotes. Centrally Human works with all organizations and individuals to unleash growth by tapping into the awesome power of our human spirit, individuality and innovation. She is an award-winning author, entrepreneur, executive and licensed professional coach and university professor with bachelor and master degrees from Northwestern University. She’s also a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and counselor.