10 Best Tips for Working From Home

Carolyn Canetti
Nov 18, 2020 2:38:00 PM

2020 has shifted a lot of people's work situations. If you've been working from home since March now, or have recently shifted your business operations from home, it can be both hard to get into the groove, as well as hard to get out of the groove. When you work at home, the day begins and end based on the habits you set. This can be challenging whether you're isolated at home, or in a full household. 

 

We've compiled ideas and tips on how to work from home well, based on talking to our team and other small businesses operating from home. From those who have always been mobile on a computer, to those learning new technologies and conducting meetings and sessions remotely, it's both a blessing and a curse to have the option to wear sweatpants every day with no consequence. It does go to note that working from home during a pandemic is new territory for everyone, some days go out the window and can be really hard and stressful, work aside. For an average day during the pandemic, here are our ideas on staying sane and productive: 

 

 

1. Set a Schedule

One of the most important ways to achieve a work day is by setting up a schedule. Don't drive yourself crazy to follow the same schedule every day, as we recognize the nature of working from home is that you may break to walk the dog, feed your child, or tend to a household chore. If you work for a company with a strict schedule or built in meeting times, then you will be beholden to those times. But, if you have more flexibility and autonomy, set your work hours. It's okay for hours to differ each day or week as well, but as long as you know what time you need to sit down and focus, then you're more likely to do it. 


What our team suggests: 

  • "Maintain a sleeping schedule similar to if you were going to the office." 
  • "Set your goals at the beginning of each day. Have your 'must-dos', 'should-dos', and 'nice-to-dos'."
  • "What's kept me the most sane is making sure that I don't get right to work in the morning, and that I stop 'on time' at the end of the day."

2. Transition In and Out of Your Day 

For many, the loss of a commute or transition period before and after work, is a real challenge when work is at home, and home is at home. Depending on your household situation, your morning may be dedicated to others, a family time, for reading, exercise, or getting up and kicking off with work immediately. 

 

If you have the option to do so, allow yourself ample time in the morning before "going to work" and in the evening "going home from work" to recreate your commute by going for a walk, listening to music or a podcast, or making a phone call. Sometimes working from home is boundless, waking up and the first thing is to answer emails, or answering emails until bed time, but the strongest needs we've heard is the ability to start and stop working. 

 

What our team suggests: 

  • "I've found that if I do 3 specific things every day I will feel my best and remain productive: leave the apartment at least once, exercise, meditate. Sometimes even just two of those are great."
  • "Create a routine, so that your work day has some start and end time, rather than being half in and half out." 

3. Communicate with the People in Your Home

When you work from home with other people in your home: kids doing remote learning, a spouse going to work or working from home, roommates on Zoom calls, or partners or housemates without work, whatever your situation: getting in hours of uninterrupted work is necessary! You used to spend full days apart from your household. Now, you are always available - unless you set some rules and share your schedule.

 

Make it known that there are specific hours where you should not be interrupted, unless for an emergency. You may find that other people in your household require the same. 

 

 

how to work from home

 

 

 

4. Take Breaks & Leave the House Everyday 

In the same vein as a morning routine, sometimes getting into the groove with a work day means you work well into the night or through meals. Take a break! In a way, work can be a great distraction from the chaos and fears of the pandemic, why not focus on work immensely? We really hear that, and understand it, but it's important to take multiple breaks throughout your day. Work as if you were at the office, pausing momentarily to get lunch, make small-chat with co-workers, or running out for an afternoon coffee. 

 

Taking a break is one thing, but leaving the house - wow! Monumental. But, we can't stress enough that productivity also comes with routine, which goes hand in hand with setting up boundaries for yourself (both to contain yourself in work and let yourself out of work). Being home all day, every day can be soul sucking. It might have sounded good before the pandemic, being able to work from home, but - it's not fun when you have to do it. 

 

We recommend leaving the house every day. Get 30 minutes of sunlight on your face, say hi to people in your neighborhood, and ground yourself to your home, not just to your computer. Be it part of your morning or evening routine, get outside. 

 

What our team suggests: 

  • "Take walks, even if it's just to aimless walk about and get out of the house."
  • "Make sure to go outside! Sunlight and fresh air are important." 
  • "You've gotta take breaks. For the sake of your body, but also your mind. I find a lot of joy in getting up in the middle of the day to finish a chore. The breaks keep me moving. I almost always take a full lunch break."

5. Ask For Help

If working from home has become harder and harder, don't sit around and resent the people in your household for making it difficult. Don't get down on yourself for online shopping and reading the news instead of doing work. And, know that even if you think it's easy for someone else - the grass is always greener. Everyone is struggling right now to live our days as if they are normal, but they're not. 

 

Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you have co-workers and managers, ask them how they're doing. You may find that you are all experiencing similar challenges and can swap ideas. If you are living with people, ask them how they're doing during their days, talking it out can be really useful. Reach out to friends on the phone or through social media and validate that you're not the only one having a hard time right now. 

 

 

What our team suggests: 

  • "Set boundaries with your team on maintaining your mental health. Even if things get busy."
  • "Aligning your productive hours with the realities of a work-from-home schedule that also has to accommodate helping kids with school, dinner with your family, exercise, your knitting club, etc. is something that every person needs to figure out and tailor to their own personal lives. Making this work means managers being open and supportive of more flexible scheduling, and focusing on employee productivity, not 'presence'. Make sure that everyone's availabilities are respected, and creating an atmosphere where it is ok to say "this time isn't good for me" -- without making people feel like they are compromising their standing within the company."

how to set up an at home office

 

 

6. Make a Space

Assuming it's available to you; be it in your bedroom, a space in the communal area of your home, or if you have a room to yourself - set up a space to work. As much as possible, don't work from your couch or dining room table. Try not to mix relaxing at home with working from home. Having a dedicated workspace will help with sitting down and focusing on your daily tasks. 

 

Wherever your space, get it set up to maximize your focus. Make sure you have good lighting, an outlet, space for notes, books, or other materials, and even some plants, art or trinkets that you like looking at. 

 

What our team suggests: 

  • "I never use my computer in bed, I want to associate bed with sleep, and my computer for work and leisure." 
  • "A good set of headphones goes a long way." 
  • "I bought nice, used office chairs that have had a positive impact on my overall comfort." 

7. Do Small-Talk 

Wherever you worked previously: a gym, an office, a school, or otherwise, making annoying small talk with other people was something we all loved to complain about. Now that it's less available, don't you miss it a little? 

 

Talk to strangers! We're all desperate for stimulation outside of the home, so even if you don't have co-workers, take the extra few minutes to talk to a neighbor, your customers, a teacher, babysitter or other. Just because you're at home mostly, doesn't mean you can't make small talk and enjoy brief interactions with multiple people. 

 

 

8. Enjoy the Perks 

While we're really bullish on learning how to have productive days and getting focused hours in, we're also strong believers in leaning into the perks of working from home. Participate in school, take your dog to the park in the afternoon, take an hour to cook lunch, let your phone die in the evening, take a call from your backyard or from a park.

 

What we would say is embrace the option of flexibility while being transparent. If you have work to do, but the sun sets at 4:00pm, then go do the outdoors activity and hold yourself to finishing the task afterwards. 

 

What our team suggests: 

  • "Move to a schedule that is less about a continuous 8 hours and more about putting in the needed hours on a more disjointed schedule that better fits your productive periods - and don't feel bad about it. As a company we are working 24 hours a day now, like it or not."
  • "I find that I concentrate more in spurts of time any way, so if I exercise in the middle of the day, I'm still able to finish a full day of work over a longer expanse of time." 
  • "I've loved being able to cook and prep my meals in ways I wouldn't have been able to at the office."

how to work from home and not go crazy

 

9. Make Room for Self Care and Time Off

When it wasn't a pandemic, working from home sounded like a dream. But, not that we're 9 months into a restricted lifestyle, it's getting harder and harder to stay motivated. Do you get dressed in the morning? When do you brush your teeth? How many coffees are too many coffees? And why are we always tired? Do you spend hours rearranging your plants instead of doing your job? We get it! 

 

Make time to take time off. Go on a local vacation, take a road trip, or go for a nature walk during the week. Allow yourself the room the sleep in late on a Wednesday. On the flip side, don't get worked up if you bury yourself in work too. This is an incredibly confusing and hard time for so many people, with the stress of an unseen virus lurking about, it's okay to sort through the emotions. Take care of yourself. 

 

 

What our team suggests: 

  • "Take your PTO even if it's just to stay home and read a book."
  • "There have been hard days during the pandemic, where it's hard to feign interest or good spirits when the news is scary or hits close to home. Make time for yourself." 

10. Products We've Learned to Love 

Everyone has different needs, but one thing was clear with a resounding: have TV on in the background that you don't have to focus on, from team members across the country. A lot of Parks and Rec, Arrested Development or The Office shoutouts. One person specifically said, don't watch Law & Order because it's too good and you'll get sucked in instead of doing work. Here are some go-to suggestions by way of music, podcasts, products, house items and more: 

Here at Bounce House, we help one person businesses get set up online quickly. From scheduling, website pages to payment and customer management - we have you covered. Jump in for free - check us out!

Topics: Business,