March 2020 brought working remotely to the spotlight for many businesses and people who never dreamed of going remotely. All of the sudden they were at home with laptops or computers trying to find a place to setup their home office and try to be as “normal” as possible.
Here are some tips and tricks for working at home to make things easier and to keep you more sane.
Setup an Official “work” Area
Have a space setup in your house that is specifically for working. If you are only working remotely due to the Stay Home rulings in your area, there are options to have a temporary location made. This can be on your dining room table like my husband is right now, or you can make a temporary space out of a spot in your house that is not being used. Stykka has some amazing cardboard desks that can be built in 10 minutes and shipped to you for $85. (A giant hat tip to Topher for that cool find!)
No matter where your spot is for working, make sure you are setup for success in that area. Use a comfortable and supportive chair while working. Also, make sure you have everything you need there for your workspace.
End your Workday
Just like if you were at the office, when your workday ends, let it end. Do not get back on your computer later to do some work just because that laptop is home and staring at you. The work can wait until tomorrow, I promise. The rule of thumb is that if you would not be doing the work at home when you worked from your company’s building, do not do it now.
Overly Communicate with your Team
The way you communicate while working remotely is vastly different than if you were in the office every day. One of the biggest issues I have heard with people working remotely recently is that when there is an issue, they can not simply walk over to the other co-worker to get it resolved.
This means everyone will need to use written communication more and be more effective with it. We have a rule in the department that I work in that if you said it, did it, or fixed it, write it down so if we need the information in the future, we can retrieve it at any time. Plus the more we use written communication at work, the easier life will be with a paper trail to back everything up. How often are we like “I will remember that. I do not need to write it down” and we forget every single time.
With everyone being home, communication in general is taking a hit. People are not networking, having conversations, visiting with each other and it shows. While not everyone is fond of social media, it can really help with mental health while we are on the Stay Home orders. Use social media to reach out to people. Use apps like Zoom, Skype, Facebook Chat, and others to connect with your friends and family while not working. You can also use those same apps to connect with your coworkers.
I have one coworker that we will often open a Zoom call while working just to talk while we work to make it feel like you are not alone in the house all day. Sometimes having that one person to chatter with can make you more productive. Granted, some people do not multi-task very well and probably should not try having a Zoom meeting and typing documents at the same time.
Take Care of You
Do not forget about yourself. Do not forget about your physical or mental health during your time of working remotely. Depression is one of the leading illnesses of people working remotely as the alone time is not good for everyone. Also, working at home opens you up to all of the food in your kitchen. That can be good or dangerous for your health. Also, working remotely can have adverse affects on your hygiene. Another issue with the Stay Home orders is that most gyms, state parks, and the option of playing sports are not an option. That does not mean you can ignore your body though. You can still go for a walk or run. If you have never tried bodyweight exercises, they can be a lot of fun and great for your body. Also, if you get in a habit of doing exercises that do not involve any equipment, those habits will be great for when you go on a vacation, business trip, or other places where gym equipment is not readily available. No matter where you are for working remotely, make it a priority to take care of yourself with proper diet, hygiene, and exercise while working remotely.
Focus on the Cans and not the Can’ts
Right now in the world there is a lot of things we cannot do and a lot of things we should not do. Looking at the negatives and the can’ts can put a strain on your mental and physical health. Looks at the positive we can still do. Remember what you have and CAN do and show the gratitude to that and you will see a shift of your view on life and it will change how we all get through this difficult time.
Be Honest with Yourself
If things are not working out as planned, talk about it. Let your boss and your team know what is and what is not working. If working remotely is causing an issue with your mental or physical health, seek help. If the Stay Home orders have you down and thinking of harming yourself or others, seek help immediately. If you need someone to talk to, reach out. If you feel you have absolutely no one, you can even go to our Contact Page and leave a note for me. You can also reach out to me on Twitter. My DMs are always open.