There’s no denying that life right now is pretty surreal. Whether you’re used to working home or not, being forced to work at home changes everything. If you’ve got kids at home that creates a whole additional layer of challenges.
Life has changed for all of us, at least for a while. If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably started working from home in the last week. As more and more businesses are shuttered for the next few weeks, more and more of us are going to have to work from home. Add that to the school closures, and you might have a home full of distractions and you’re expected to work.
Most of the homes we build have home offices, these spaces are designed to provide a quiet area away from larger living areas that might be full of activity, which allows for relative distraction free working. If you have a home office, you’re off to a great start. If you don’t have a dedicated space to work you’ll need to carve out an area that can be dedicated to work for the near future. The couch, in front of the TV is not the best place for productive work.
You can turn a spare bedroom or lower level space into your home office. Any space that isn’t in the middle of heavy traffic will work fine as a temporary solution. If you’ve got kids that need space to work you could set them up at the dining room table, kitchen island or in the lower level family room.
If working from home is new to you, you’ve probably already discovered how many distractions there in your home. Additionally, there are no co-workers to collaborate, or break up the monotony of work.
Working from home, if you’re not accustomed to it, can be a challenge, but there are many things you can do to make the process a little easier and even in some ways enjoyable. There are actually many benefits to working from home including saving money on gas and eating out, less wear and tear on the roads – which is good for the environment too. Here are some tips to making your work-at-home experience the best it can be.
Working from Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Establish a Routine
If you haven’t already, now is the time to establish a routine and stick to it. It’s really easy to fall into the habit of sleeping in and wearing sweats all day and that can be recipe for low productivity and easy distraction. If you usually get up at 6am, continue to do so. You can finish your day earlier leaving you with time to do the things you’ve wanted to do, but never had time to do. You’ll feel better with a routine, and in these stressful times a routine provides us with a little bit of control, something all of are sorely missing right now.
Dress for Success
You’ll be tempted to spend the day in your pjs, but you’ll find if you get dressed in something besides pjs or lounging clothing you’ll put yourself in the mindset to work. Staying in your pjs or sweats signals to your brain that you’re ready to binge watch 12 seasons of Breaking Bad. You don’t need to wear a suit while working from home, a nice pair of jeans and a sweater is enough to put you in the mood for productivity.
Having the right tech is imperative for working from home. Usually a laptop or desktop computer is all you need. Hopefully you’re using the same laptop you used at work, if not and you have to use your home computer, make sure it is free from viruses and malware before connecting to the network at the office.
Having the right internet speed will also make your work day much easier. Many internet companies are increasing broadband for their customers with no extra cost. This is helpful if you have other people in the home who are also working, uploading assignments to a school server, gaming or downloading a movie or music. You can test your download and upload speed at MLab.
One of the most challenging things about working from home is all the distractions. The dog needs a walk, there’s laundry piling up, and suddenly all of the little home improvements you’ve ever wanted to tackle are calling your name. If you’ve got kids at home they’re going to create distraction after distraction. It’s not worth pulling your hair out each time you get disturbed. Give yourself a break and accept that the environment you’re working in right now is going to be a little less productive than the one at the office. For some this means changing work hours to early in the morning or late at night when some of the distractions don’t have the same pull. You might need to try a few different methods before you find the one that works for you. Be kind and allow yourself the space you need get settled.
Give it Time
It’s going to take some time to adjust to this new situation. If it takes you a day or two to adjust to Daylight Saving Time it’s probably going to take a little longer to adjust to this change. Don’t worry, it won’t be too long before we’re all back in the office again.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Don’t expect to be as productive as you were in the office. Unless you’ve crafted a home office that serves all your needs – something that might take some time to perfect, you’re probably doing a lot of this on the fly. You’re probably going to feel frustrated that you can’t do all the things you feel you need to do. It’s okay, we’re all experiencing similar frustrations. We’re in this together and we’ll get through it together.