So your home has become your office? Working from home is welcome change for some, but others (like me) find the adjustment challenging.
If you’re struggling with the transition, let me challenge your perspective about your new work environment. Imagine life with more time to exercise, healthier meals and moments to catch your breath between meetings.
I’ve been working from home for a while now, and I think I’ve cracked the code and have a few tips to help you make working from home work for you.
Working from home gives you some of your precious time back. Reclaim that time and reinvest it wisely.
Start by taking an inventory of the time you can take back now that you’re working from home. What are the time-savers?
- You no longer have to take time put together a completely coherent outfit or make sure you have the right documents in your work bag.
- No more picking up or packing lunches. You have a local café a few steps away from you now. Just make sure it’s stocked!
- Say goodbye to sitting in traffic during your commute. You’ve hit the time-saving jackpot, my friend!
Also, think about how compressed timelines from working in a traditional office may have led you to make choices that weren’t the best for your well-being or surfaced anxieties that hindered your ability to work effectively:
- Slugging down your much-needed coffee.
- Stuffing your breakfast in your mouth as you jet off to catch a train or time your drive to avoid traffic.
- Frantically looking for a parking spot and running across the parking lot only to arrive to your meeting drenched in sweat.
- Stressing because you need to get your steps in and you’d love to go outside, but your office location makes it inconvenient to get outside (and you have another meeting in 20 minutes!).
Now that you’ve found some additional time and some peace of mind, establish structure.
- Take time for self-care
- Use the extra time on things that support your energy and mental clarity. Perhaps start your day with prayer or meditation, exercise or enjoying (not slugging down) your coffee. Or take time to ensure you have healthy snacks and meals available to you throughout day.
- Get yourself ready for work!
- You don’t have to wear clothes suitable for a photo shoot (this varies, I know), but pull yourself together even if you’re just wearing a casual outfit. It will help make you feel sharper and ready to work.
- Make a list of daily action items. What are the top three to five things that absolutely have to get done today? Checking items off your list will help you gauge your productivity.
- Make sure your gadgets are charged and your technology is working (BEFORE your video conference is scheduled to start). You don’t want to be late for meetings when you’re working from home.
- Review your calendar and make sure you’ve given yourself enough time in between meetings. Ask colleagues to push back meeting start times 10-15 minutes so you have time to properly prepare in between meetings.
- Have a designated work area
- Pick a place where you can comfortably focus on your work. It should be a quiet area where you will not be disturbed by others. It should also be an appropriate environment for an impromptu web meeting.
- Talk to people as much as possible
- Don’t rely solely on email. Relying completely on email doesn’t support effective communication. It’s slow and leads to misinterpretation of sensitive messages.
- Talk via phone or use a web conferencing platform as much as possible. These mediums are faster and more effective than sending emails. Leverage your web-conferencing platform as a way to create traditional, large group and in-person meeting experiences.
- It feels good to connect with people when we’re all isolated — even if it’s just to talk about how your weekend went.
And if you are a company leader, here are more tips for you.
- Set clear performance expectations
- Give employees clarity by making sure they know what is expected of them and when it is expected. Also, make sure you and your employees agree on how performance expectations will be met.
- Check in with each of your team members regularly (formally and informally)
- Schedule regular meetings to have conversations about work progress and to provide clarity and re-set expectations if needed.
- Continue to have one-on-one meetings, team meetings and department meetings to ensure that essential information is being shared.
- Schedule time for light and fun conversations to maintain a sense of team camaraderie and keep morale up. Attach some fun to the beginning of a meeting, or just pick up the phone and strike a conversation as if you were strolling past a colleague’s office.
You can do this! Incorporating these tips into your daily routine positions you for a successful work-from-home life. You may even enjoy your new setup.