Career & Self-Help

Five Tips for Working from Home

Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are working from home. Since I worked from home for a year and a half, I have compiled some tips and tricks to thrive as a remote worker. Hopefully they’ll help you stay sane, get stuff done, and minimize distractions. Like all those Netflix shows. Wait, what am I talking about? For me it’s that stack of books.

First a blanket statement: It’s a weird world out there right now. I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy.

Alright, on to today’s post.

1. Get Dressed

Okay, friends, I know each of you is reading this thinking really? Isn’t the beauty of working from home the fact that you don’t have to get dressed? Sure, wearing your pjs is a major benefit when you first transition to remote work. So soak it in. Bask in the fact that you don’t have to put on that professional outfit. However, if you’re going to do any long term work from home, you’ll want to start getting dressed.

Why? I’ll give you the same reason I give my clients when I suggest they dress up for a phone interview. Putting on clothes sets your mindset. It signals to your brain and your body that you are in professional mode. It’s one of those ways to separate you the professional from you the mother, wife, daughter, Netflix-binger.

You don’t have to wear anything fancy if you don’t want to, but I would suggest something different than your pjs to get the full effect.

2. Look for Social Interaction Opportunities

Many of you have Link or Google chats. Many of you have Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, or Microsoft Teams. These are wonderful because they connect you with people. Working from home can be isolating. If you would normally jump on the phone to talk to someone, do it. If you would normally meet in person with someone, ask them to do a video chat. We humans are social animals. Even you introverts out there likely want a little time with other people in your day. So, use the amazing tech that’s available.

Side note: my friend group has been using an app called Marco Polo where you can record video messages. Kind of like snapchat, except the videos don’t delete after watching. Highly recommend this for your personal interactions

3. Set up a Separate Workspace

When I say separate, I don’t mean a separate room. This could be in your bedroom or living room if you live in a tight space. However, have a place that you deem as the work zone. Again this helps with separating your professional life from your personal life.

4. Find a Few ASMR Videos on YouTube

Y’all, this is a funny one, but I’m serious. I love having ambient noise and scenes on in the background. Some of my favorites are the Gryffindor common room from Harry Potter and a cozy ski lodge which I found on YouTube. You can even find videos where people are talking in the background, the type of murmured speaking you experience at a coffee shop. So much cool stuff.

I like to keep mine seasonal. In winter I love snowy scenes and fireplaces. In spring I love outside scenes. Playing these is fun, but it also signals to your brain that your work has begun.

5. Create a Shut Down Ritual

No, I don’t mean you should pray to the Goddess of Work for a productive day. However, if there were such a goddess, I envision her in amazing power suits, wearing the perfect red lipstick, and carrying the perfect work bag.

What I mean is have a signal to your brain that your work is done for the day. Just as you turn off your computer or put it in sleep mode, do the same for your professional self. Figure out the signal you want to use. That could be putting your computer and work stuff away. That could be saying, “I’m done.” That could be playing a particular song you love. Creating a ritual lets your brain know that you are transitioning away from work and into personal time.

To summarize, the biggest advice I can give is this: find ways to separate your work life from your personal life. Working from home has a way of bleeding into your personal time. Instead of slowly allowing this to happen, create signals to your brain about work mode. That lets you know when you’re on and off the clock even though you’re in a personal space.

Good luck everyone and stay safe.

What other work from home tips do you have?

Photo by Dominika Roseclay.

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