In my last piece, I wrote about finding the ideal space to work from home. Now, that you have found your work space, how can you maximize your efficiency while staying mentally and physically healthy?
Here are some tips for success:
- Work Hours
The cardinal rule for working from home is that you should work amount of hours that you are paid to work! The best part of working from home is being able to skip the morning and afternoon commute entirely. For some, the commute is longer than others. Maybe now you can start your day earlier which means that you can end your day earlier, but keep a set amount of hours and try to stick to those hours consecutively. Don’t fall into the habit of waking up late and working less, as that will end up hurting your productivity. However, don’t get into the habit over working too much either. When you don’t have the commute, it is harder to log off at the end of the day. While it is definitely a good idea to put in more time into your job than less; too much overtime will mentally drain you and take away from the other important things in your life. Also, be sure to set goals for the day or week. This will help you stay on track for assignments that are due.
2. Break-Up The Day/Exercise
It is easy to lose track of the day when you are working from home. I actually found that I moved around less when I first started working from come compared to when I was physically present in the office. Sometimes I would even forget to eat lunch. Employees are entitled to breaks during the day whether they are in or out of the office. This will clear your head and mentally prepare you for the day ahead. Take at least two 15-20 minute breaks per day and in that time; you can find some great online meditation or exercise classes. I use the Peloton app which offers a wide variety of 10-15 minute meditation or strength classes. Being that you are working in comfortable clothing (read: sweats, shorts, yoga pants), hop on a short online class. Or, go for a walk or jog outside and enjoy the change of scenery. Lunch breaks are important too. Working from home is a good excuse to start eating healthier. Sometimes it was hard to pack lunches in the morning rush, and the alternative was fast food or running down to the local deli. Now, with more time in the morning and your refrigerator at your fingertips, buy healthier foods to store and make your own lunches. In addition to eating better, you will save money!
3. Keep in Touch
One of the biggest challenges that full time work from home employees’ face these days are the loss of human contact. Many years ago, a friend of mine said that he became depressed working from home as he felt out of touch with people. Technology has come a long way. Web-Ex, Zoom and Google Hangouts are great ways to stay connected with clients and colleagues to run meeting or even hold Zoom “happy hours.” Be sure to schedule weekly or monthly meetings with clients and colleagues/teams. While congregating around the water cooler and walking into a co-workers office doesn’t exist in a work from home environment, still pick up the phone and call, text or email your colleagues with pictures, jokes or funny stories from the weekend. I am actually finding that I am speaking to clients and colleagues more since working from home full time. Don’t let this important relationships go stale, as especially for clients, you want to make sure that they know you are around and constantly on their minds.
4. No TV or Social Media
While it is good to take some breaks throughout the day, don’t fall into the habit of leaving the T.V. on to watch movies or shows. This will easily distract you and make you less productive and even cause you to make errors since you aren’t paying full attention to your job. In addition, don’t fall into the habit of going on social media during the work day, unless you are on a break. If not, you will fall into the rabbit hole and by the time you know it, the day will be over and little work has been done. However, working from home can get quiet and lonely, I find that playing music in the background keeps me upbeat and doesn’t distract me from my work.
Lisa A. Bloom resides in New York with her husband and three wonderful daughters. She graduated from the University at Albany with majors in English and Psychology and received her law degree from Hofstra University. When she isn’t working, Lisa enjoys spending time with family, writing, hot yoga and cooking Paleo. You can follow her on Instagram @Paleoworkingmama