If you’ve ever tried to work from home, you may have discovered how hard it can be to focus. There is a reason we typically go into the office – to get away from distractions. Many businesses and schools have been affected by COVID-19 requiring workers to go remote.
As people are finding themselves working from home for the first time, they begin to wonder how to stay motivated, focused, and productive in this environment. Many of us are familiar with a “work-life” balance but have you ever considered a “work-home” balance?
We talked to seasoned remote workers and people who are experiencing remote work for the first time to put together this guide. Looking for tools for success? Check out “Top 5 Tools for Working Remotely in Education”!
What is a Work-Home Balance
Whether you are new to remote work or you have been doing this a long time, it is incredibly important to create a work-home balance. A work-home balance is simply separating work tasks from home tasks! Your work-home balance will set you up for a successful remote working experience. Treat your home office as you would your on-site office and set parameters around working from home that will allow you to be productive and engaged.
- Dress for Success
If you can’t wear pajamas at the office every day then don’t do it when working from home! It is easy to feel comfortable in your home, but dressing professionally will make you feel and act like you are at work – because you are!
- Separating Home Tasks
Sometimes working from home can feel like you can catch up on chores. If you wouldn’t do laundry in the office then working from home does not change that! It may seem easy to multitask at first and a little chore here and there won’t hurt. Over time, you will see that you are far less productive at home due to distractions. Try focusing on separating home tasks during work hours.
- Set Your Schedule
Consistency is key. Set a work schedule just as you would in the office. Show up on time and “go to work” – even if work is at your kitchen table! Try to keep to your normal routine. You will feel better knowing that you are doing your part while working from home. Same thing for the end of the day, when it is time to “go-home” shut everything down and pick it up the next day.
Set Up Your Workspace
- Designated Workspace
Whether this is your kitchen table or an at-home desk, create a designated workspace at home. That way, when you head to your workspace you can turn off all distractions and focus on the task at hand. Set up your desk as you would at your office. Move the newspapers to the side and reduce any home clutter. If you are transitioning to remote work from an office, consider bringing home desk items that will allow you to replicate your workspace.
- Video Friendly Environment
Working from home typically means you will be dialing into video conferences. Make sure your workspace is video-friendly. This means setting yourself up in a space that has minimal clutter and looks professional. A pro tip is to turn your desk so that a wall is behind you. This way, co-workers and business partners don’t have to see your messy spare room! Instead of worrying what they think of your clutter filled home, you can focus on the conversation.
- Minimize Distractions
Distractions are the hardest part of working from home and vary by the person. Overall, if you are working from home, set parameters around what you can and can’t do. If you have a dog, consider putting a sign on the door letting delivery drivers know not to knock. Let your friends and family know that even though you are home, you are working and cannot be disturbed. This is easier said than done, but consider all possible distractions and see if you can find a way to prevent them.
- Stay Connected
When working from home, it is easy to feel disconnected from your team. Out of sight, out of mind. There are dozens of resources available to help you stay connected with your team members. Check out “Top 5 Tools for Working Remotely” for resources that will help.
- Pick Up the Phone
Communicate even more than you would in the office. If you don’t hear from a team member, pick up the phone! A phone call is just like walking over to their desk. Don’t let the digital barrier prevent you from connecting with your team.
- Schedule Check-Ins
It is easy to get lost in your day without having team members around. Scheduling check-ins with your team is a great way to reconnect. Hop on a zoom call or pick up the phone. See how their day is going and proactively work on projects. Just because everyone is out of the office doesn’t mean they do not want human connection!
- Video Conferencing
If you set up your at-home workspace to be video-friendly then video conferencing is a great way to communicate. Video is a powerful tool that allows you to have face to face conversations in different locations. Use technology to your advantage and send your team a Zoom meeting link for your scheduled check-in.
Overall, create an environment at home where you can be the most productive. These tips and tricks will help you organize and prioritize your day whether you are at home or in the office. Let’s get to work!
For tools to help work remote, check out “Top 5 Tools for Working Remotely in Education”.