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Posted in personal
March 20, 2020

Working from Home Tips and Tricks

I do have a day job, and while I’ve been at the day job through two acquisitions and three names for the network – one thing has been the same. I’ve worked from home. So in this time of self-quarantining, I thought I’d share some useful working from home tips if you’re brand new to this.

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Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Get Dressed

I know. Most people think that most remote workers work in their pajamas – and while I certainly do wear a lot of spandex and geeky t-shirts, I don’t wear pajamas.

One of the biggest hurdles is motivation. If you stay in your pajamas, it’s going to be tempting to sit and watch Netflix all day. Or, well, go back to sleep.

So think like Mr. Rogers – he started every episode by changing into the clothes we knew and loved. Off went his coat, on went the cardigan. Off went the dress shoes, and on went his sneakers. That transition into something different will help you stay on your toes.

Working from home tips

Set a start time

It doesn’t matter that you’re working from home, start at the same time you did when you were in the office. I admit, I answer the occasional early email I get (usually with a ‘I’ll get you an answer when I’m in the office’ placeholder), but I don’t really work until my start time.

Find a video space

This is the next most important tip I have – set up a dedicated workspace for calls. Odds are, you’re going to need to do video calls from your laptop. So find a space with some nice lighting and a clean background.

If you’re working with kids around – make sure that they know what times you’re working and rules for how to behave during your calls if it’s a shared space. (I often work in my bedroom at the desk there, and get to lock the door. But sometimes I work in the den downstairs, and made a sign to stick on the door to warn people when I’m on a call)

I often move from room to room during the day. Sometimes a new location is the sort of thing you need to unstick yourself.

Working from home tips

Schedule breaks!

It’s easy to lose track of time. So block out time between meetings for breaks and lunch on your calendar. You don’t work a solid 8 hours in the office, so you should make sure you’re replicating that amount of time.

Also, putting it on your calendar means you get a reminder. Without coworkers saying they’re going out to lunch, or your friends hitting you up to see if you want to go out – it’s easy to just lose track of time and end up being hangry. It also means you won’t end up with only 15 minutes to eat before a call.

(And if you know it’s going to be a busy day, make your lunch that morning!)

Set yourself away!

When it’s time for your break, set yourself away, and put your phone down! I usually play games on my phone or watch a video while I eat. That time is mine, and I make sure that I get at least a half hour to myself.

Slack it out!

Odds are, your work uses Slack or something similar. Get used to using it to keep tabs with your coworkers in place of looking over at them to see

One of the best features is going to be slack’s DND mode. You’ll want to use it so that you don’t get notifications from when work is supposed to be done until the morning.

Know when quitting time is

It’s easy for lines to blur when you’re working from home. You’ll take some time away to do some laundry, or help a kid with something – so you’ll work a little later than normal. The next thing you know, you’re working late every night. (Which leads to people expecting you to always be available)

Burn out is a reality, so make sure you set a firm quitting time (same time as you have in the office). Don’t answer emails you wouldn’t normally answer. Don’t answer slack.

And if anyone suggests that you have more time to work since you don’t have a commute – nobody paid you for that time, and you didn’t work on the way in anyways.

Working from home tips

Be present

We talk a lot about this anyways, about putting your phone down and being in the moment. But it’s especially important when you’re working from home. Just like Mr. Rogers, settling in to time at home – you want to make sure you’re putting work away. Put the laptop in your office or in your work bag. Set yourself away…. and then spend time with your loved ones, or something that’s just for you!

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