I’m a remote employee for theEMPLOYEEapp, so I’ve been fortunate that my work situation really hasn’t changed much with recent events and I’m used to working from home. But with the strides that so many companies have been making to limit employee exposure and practice social distancing to “flatten the curve,” the rest of our team is also now working remotely. Our collective response to this change has been uplifting, really. There’s definitely a feeling of all being in this together: from sharing ideas for fighting boredom in #QuarantineLife to our newly remote teammates getting creative with remote workspaces in their New York apartments.
It’s funny how many conversations I’ve had with teammates about how being remote long term is really quite different than sporadically working from home. They’ve asked me how I do it. They’ve shared their frustrations about how they might not feel as productive as they usually do when they work from home.
They’re totally right. A long stint of home working is very different from a day here or there. I can remember my first weeks shifting from an office to a desk in my apartment. It was a big adjustment. But it really does get easier.
Since there are so many companies and individuals going through the same thing as my team, our full-time remote team wanted to share our top tips for working from home:
- Have a routine. It’s key to create a routine and STICK TO IT. Get up at a normal time and structure your start and end time. Your schedule won’t necessarily be the same as when you went into the office–you won’t need to catch the subway or bus–but find a way to stick to a new routine.
- Use extra time in the morning or evening productively. Since you no longer have a commute, the tendency can be to just sleep in! Yes, more sleep is good, but getting up and doing something productive will make you feel much better. We suggest: taking time to meditate, read, water your plants, get some extra pet snuggles in, or exercise (getting outside if you can!).
- Treat yourself throughout the week. One of my favorite benefits of working from home is being able to cook lunch for yourself. Right now, some of you might be getting a little stretched thin on recipes to use since we’re all trying to eat at home for all our meals. I suggest Basically by Bon Appetite – the recipes are delicious and usually include 10 ingredients or less, so they aren’t as complex.
- Get dressed for work. This might feel obvious, but seriously, changing into work clothes is so helpful for getting into the mindset of being at work. And then you look work-appropriate when you have calls with your team or clients.
- Separate your work area from your living area. This might be hard for some — in my apartment, it’s impossible not to overlap. I don’t have a separate office to use. But I’ve still made the distinction between workspace and living space. My tips: avoid the couch or your bed. Try to keep those places for after work only. This should really help your productivity.
- Set boundaries. Since this is an unprecedented situation, you’re likely working from home with other people (roommates, family, loved ones, etc.) And these people might expect you to be available now that you’re working from home. Communicate boundaries with them to control the distractions that they might cause in your workday.
- Use video! Video is so much better than just audio in meetings. Seeing each other enhances collaboration and connection to your colleagues. It can also help to replicate the social aspects of work you might be missing.
- Over-communicate with your team. There is no such thing as over-communication. Try to reply to messages as quickly as possible. If you use a collaboration tool, use the profile status option to let your team know what you’re up to. If you have an app, make sure you continue posting updates, news, and recognition.
- Get up and move. When you work from home, your lifestyle can become a lot more sedentary. Even if you move around the house, it’s easy to feel cooped up! Make sure you introduce some activity into your day. I recommend getting out before and/or after work even just for a quick walk around the block. And since social distancing is recommended for everyone right now, you shouldn’t be going to your gym. There are so many free YouTube workout videos that you can tune into use in place of your typical workout routine.
These ideas may seem simple, but they make a world of difference as you adjust to working from home!