Working from Home During the Stay at Home Order
Like many Americans, you're probably trying to work from home now that most states have a Stay at Home order in place. If you've never worked at home, especially if you have children at home attending online school, this can be a monumental change. While there are many adjustments to be made to your schedule and those of your housemates, working at home can be very productive and actually save you a lot of time.
Working at home has its challenges - creating a quiet workspace, having the right technology, and being disciplined when it comes to separating work from home - but it also has its perks. You won't spend time in traffic, you'll save on gas, you can probably sleep in a little longer if you have to commute, you can (though it is not recommended) work in your pajamas, and no one is going to steal your lunch.
Working from home can be challenging, but if you follow these tips and tricks it should be pretty easy to find a new normal pretty quickly.
Tips and Tricks for Working from Home
Establish a Routine
Getting your routine down as soon as possible will get you on the right track, right away. Create a routine that is as close to your regular work day/schedule as possible. If you start your day by waking at 5:30am, continue to do so. Shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and then get down to business. Don't forget to get up and stretch every now and then. Try to keep to your routine and don't let house chores distract you while keeping work hours, even though it's really easy to do.
No one is around to see you so why not wear sweats or PJs all day long? Because you won't be nearly as productive if you do. Get up and get dressed in comfortable clothing (you don't have to wear a suit). You'll set your brain into work-mode this way. By staying in sweats or other non-business attire, you'll signal to your brain that it's time to play or time to rest, neither of which is conducive to a productive day at work.
You'll need the right tech to work from home. While many of the tools we use everyday to connect with co-workers and clients is cloud based, if you are now using your personal laptop or desktop to work from home you'll need access to possibly your office network as well as any apps that allow you to virtually meet with your team. If you are accessing the office network from home you'll want to be sure your computer has malware or other security installed and is up to date. Your office IT person should be able to help you install the appropriate software.
With more people working from home than ever before, as well as kids finishing the school year at home, the internet has never been so stretched to capacity. While many internet providers are increasing speeds, it may not be able to keep up with demand. Expect the internet to slow down from time to time. If it slows down, it might be a good time to get up, stretch your legs and get another cup of coffee.
The most difficult part about working from home is all the distractions you'll encounter while trying to get anything done. Whether it's the neighbor's barking dog, the kids fighting over a video game or the pile of laundry on the dining room table that's been calling out to you - distractions abound. If you can shut yourself off from the rest of the home you're ahead of the game. If you can't do that, you'll need to be disciplined and you'll need the support of other family members. It might take a little time to find the rhythm that works best for you and your family, but eventually you'll figure it out.
Be kind while you’re getting used to this new situation. It’s okay if you get frustrated, and it’s okay if you don’t accomplish all that you usually do in a day at the office. It takes some time to get used to new routines and this is one most of us have never encountered before. Breathe, do your best to relax and be prepared to walk away from your desk rather than put unneeded pressure on yourself to force productivity.