Are you new to working from home? I have lots of friends trying to figure out how to work at home right now due to coronavirus closures. I think the #1 issue they’re worrying about is how to get stuff done!
First off, I don’t have kids who are home from school so my situation is much different. I just have to deal with a cuddly kitty, and Tango has finally learned what time of the day is his snuggle time. Like clockwork, Tango’s 4:45 pm arrival to my office lets me know it’s quitting time.
So, to all you parents out there, you just have to set a new routine that makes working from home a success.
I have been happily running my business from home for more than seven years now so I hope this advice will help you with your current home office situation.
Pay attention to your eyes
Avoid eyestrain by placing your desktop or laptop monitor just above eye level and an arm’s length away. Make sure you have natural light in your home office and a good lamp for when it’s dark or cloudy.
Don’t forget to look away from your computer often and focus on something at a far distance. This will help avoid eyestrain.
Create your personal office space
I have a room in the house that is dedicated as my office only. I do not entertain visitors in this space – it’s my work space only.
I have enough desk space for two monitors and I have a comfy chair where my husband can sit if we need to discuss business matters (he’s my business partner and has his own space). I also have a comfy couch for taking breaks to read or rest.
Ergonomics in the home office
I invested in an ergonomic chair that is designed to fit me perfectly. My desk space is set up so that my monitors, keypad and mouse don’t cause any unnecessary strain on my back, shoulders, and wrists.
Make sure you are comfortable for computing all day, just like you would be at your office.
You will need fast Internet
Does your home Internet give you enough bandwidth for working remotely? You’re going to be sharing your internet with other household devices in the house.
I opted for the fastest speed I could get through Spectrum/Charter which is 400mbs at a local address. You will need a good Internet connection if you have to take part in video conferencing.
Set and maintain regular business hours
Create a regular work schedule and stick to it. Take control of your time so you’re not working too many hours. Believe me, it’s easy to do at home, especially without a daily commute.
Set boundaries – with everyone
When people know you work from home, they start to assume you’re available 24/7. People will try to take advantage of your personal time because they know your office is right there. “This won’t take long, I promise.”
If you do not set boundaries, it will come back to haunt you. Create boundaries for personal time and office time.
Do not work in your pjs – get dressed
It’s way too easy to get up, grab some coffee, and start working while still in your pajamas with wild bed hair.
Personally, I find myself in a better mindset for work if I put on a nice shirt and leggings, blow dry my hair, and brush my teeth. If you have video conferences scheduled, get ready like any normal workday.
Eat a healthy lunch away from your desk
I usually start working at my desk at the same time every day. I also take a lunch break at the same time, too.
And I do not answer the phone during my lunch. I am on a much-needed nutrition break. I eat my lunch away from my desk or I sit outside, depending on the weather.
Take breaks away from your desk
I make myself step outside to toss a toy around for my dog Trekker or I grab my Rotary magazine and read an inspiring article. Some days I just do some breathing exercises by my window and watch the birds at the feeder.
These short pauses away from your desk will help you recharge so don’t feel guilty for taking a break – breaks are essential to your wellness.
Get out of your home office
Schedule meetings, lunch dates, and happy hour cocktails outside of the office, if you can.
If you’re working at home due to social distancing and coronavirus, at least leave your house once a day. You don’t have to go to crowded public spaces to get away from your home office.
Move your body, breathe in some fresh air, and enjoy the natural light of the outdoors. Spring is coming so maybe you can start yard clean-up. It will do you good.
If you don’t feel well, take a sick day
I used to be bad at resting if I didn’t feel 100%, but I’ve learned to take the sick time I need. As a small business owner, I can fall into the time-is-money trap and then I’m trying to power through being sick which ends up making me feel worse. Take time to rest and get healthy. You will be more productive in the long term.
I love working at home!
In all honesty, I’m not sure I could work in a traditional office again. I love my office, I set a schedule that works for me, and I am very productive in the quiet setting I’ve created for myself.
I hope you’ve figured out when and where to work, and are creating healthy boundaries between your work and personal life.
Now, go get stuff done!