There are a lot of us right now who are having to work from home due to the coronavirus, and working from home is likely new to a LOT of people. I’ve worked from home nearly every Friday for the last six and a half years and wanted to share some of my own tips and tricks for working from home effectively.
1. Aim to wake up at the same time every day
To start the day off, aim to wake up at roughly the same time every day. I like setting my alarm for 6am so I can have a couple hours of quiet time with Alex and my dog, Bucket.
2. Establish and maintain a routine
In our case, Alex is usually the first one to start tackling chores such as cleaning the counter, emptying the dishwasher, or folding laundry. While these are all things that could be done later on, it’s nice to knock them out first thing in the morning AND they’re good activities to help wake you up!
3. Clean yourself up and get dressed
Clean yourself up and get dressed - don’t stay in your pajamas all day. You’ll feel more productive and you’ll save yourself from being embarrassed on any video calls. And washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc. will make you feel a little more human.
4. Have a designated workspace with natural light
Okay, let’s move into the actual work part of the day. First and foremost, make sure you have a designated workspace with a good amount of natural light. When I’m working from home by myself, I’ll usually work in a few designated spots throughout the house to follow the natural light throughout the day. Since Alex is working from home as well, I’m spending more time in my office than I’m used to, but it’s a fair compromise since Alex doesn’t have an office of his own.
5. Move around throughout the day
Do you ever have trouble sustaining energy (or motivation) throughout the day? You'll be surprised how helpful taking a walk, doing some pushups, playing with your dog in the backyard, or any activity to move your body can be. I aim to get up and move around for a few minutes every hour.
6. Eat foods that make you feel good
Eat foods that make you feel good and agree with your digestive system. Not only will indigestion likely cause some distractions and discomfort later on in the day, but it’s especially important for us all right now to keep our bodies healthy and happy.
7. Alternate between sitting and standing
My home office has everything I need to get stuff done and it’s also set up for me to alternate between sitting and standing. I try to alternate roughly every hour, and it helps reduce the stiffness and discomfort you often get from being in the same position all day.
8. Do something that’s not work related during lunch (but make sure you’re still available
If possible, do something that isn’t work related during your lunch break. Bonus points if you can get outside. I absolutely love going on walks with Bucket during lunch, but it’s also important to keep in mind that you generally have to be extra responsive and available when working from home. While I’d prefer to be “unplugged” during lunch, I bring my phone with me so I can make sure I don’t miss any unexpected calls.
9. Coordinate breaks with your partner or roommate if they’re also working from homeIf you’re at home with your partner or a roommate that you want to spend some time with, or even if you want some extra time alone, talk through each other’s schedules and try coordinating your breaks to meet everyone’s needs. Communication is KEY.
10. Be aware of your posture throughout the day
If possible, try to keep your computer at eye level so you’re not hunched over your computer. It’s also important to be conscious of your alignment and to aim to keep your ears in line with your clavicle.
11. Be aware of distractions
I think this point in the day is important to share because you can see how much more distracted I am! Alex and I are talking to each other, Bucket is running around and being fun, and I can’t seem to get comfortable. This is the reality of working from home, and it’s important to accept that you’re going to get distracted throughout the day.
12. Get outside
I briefly touched on this earlier, but try and get outside for at least 30 minutes during the day. I’ve found this particularly helpful when I feel myself losing steam or if I’m starting to get tired and grumpy. Not only will getting outside put you in a better headspace, getting enough vitamin D is more important now than ever because it helps support your immune system!
What other ways have you improved your "work from home" experience? I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have!