The global spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), is keeping people at home.
If you’re new to the work-from-home lifestyle, you’ll need to change some of your habits and routines to make working from home a success.
1. Maintain Regular Hours
Set a schedule, and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance.
2. Create a Morning Routine
Deciding you’ll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. What in your morning routine indicates you’re about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pajama pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.
3. Set Ground Rules With the People in Your Space
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work.
4. Schedule Breaks
Know your company’s policy on break times and take them. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks seems to be the standard for full-time US employees. Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour.
5. Keep a Dedicated Office Space
Dedicate a desk and some peripherals only for work use. For example, when your laptop is hooked up to the monitor and external keyboard, it’s work time. When it’s on your lap, that’s personal time. You may want to go as far as partitioning your hard drive and creating a separate user account for work.
6. “Show Up” to Meetings and Be Heard
Certainly, you’ll take part in video conferences and conference calls, but it’s a good idea to attend optional meetings sometimes, too. Be sure to speak up during the meeting so everyone knows you’re on the call. A simple, “Thanks, everyone. Bye!” at the close of a meeting will go a long way toward making your presence known.
Working remotely requires you to overcommunicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Overcommunicating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself.
8. Be Positive
I like succinct and clear messages, but I know that the less face time I have with people, the less they know how to interpret my tone in writing. When you work remotely full-time, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a jerk. It’s unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji :D. You’re going to need them.
9. End Your Day With a Routine
Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on the TV will do. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.