February 7th, 2022 | By Alison Bennet of E Squared Marketing
Ah, working from home … it’s the dream, right? Say goodbye to long commutes, stuffy business clothes and office drama. Say hello to more time with family, more flexibility, and a custom working environment. The perks are seemingly endless! That is, until you wake up one day and realize you’ve been wearing the same pajamas for four days straight and the closest human contact you’ve had this week is watching your DoorDash driver pull away. Don’t despair! Working from home can have serious benefits if you take advantage of a few essential tips. Here are five suggestions for maximizing your remote work lifestyle.
Take a shower and get ready for the day.
It can be so tempting to push that snooze button one more time in the morning, knowing the only creature that will see how you look today is your dog (and he’s not judging). However, when we fail to prioritize our morning routine we often spend the day feeling unmotivated and sluggish. Spend a few extra minutes in the morning taking a shower, brushing your teeth and putting on real (yet still comfortable) clothes. You’ll feel invigorated and ready for the day. The truth is, when we look good, we feel good — and we perform better. Taking care of ourselves is essential to our wellbeing and mental health and gives a boost to our overall mood. Plus, when that surprise Zoom call pops up, you’ll feel confident enough to turn your camera on without hesitation.
Create a designated workspace and invest in your tools.
Let’s be honest, propping up your laptop on the kitchen table just isn’t going to cut it in the long term. You need a designated workspace where you feel focused, motivated, and free from distractions. Utilizing a separate physical workspace will help you set clear work-home boundaries, physically and mentally. While having a home office in a separate room with a door is ideal, it’s not a necessity. Find a space in your home with good natural lighting where you can put a small writing desk. You may have to do some heavy lifting and move some furniture around, but it will be worth it. Invest in an ergonomic chair, get yourself a fancy wireless mouse and headphones, and make sure your router can handle your bandwidth needs. Put some effort into creating a comfortable and efficient space. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time there!
Create a schedule that works for you.
One of the great benefits of working from home is more flexibility. Being able to throw a load of laundry in the wash or run the kids to soccer practice during the day is a huge perk. However, having a semi-structured schedule that works for you is an essential part of working from home. Humans are creatures of habit, and routines provide predictability and reduce stress. Plus, holding yourself to a schedule lets your co-workers and clients know when they can contact you, so work doesn’t seep into your off hours. Write down a design for your day: work time, break time and personal time. Prioritize the things you need to get done and allow space for unexpected setbacks and interruptions. Figure out the time of day when you are most productive and schedule your most challenging work during those hours. Make sure you also carve out some time for yourself to step back, take a break and eat properly. A holistic approach will help you become the healthiest version of yourself while keeping your work/life balance in check.
Take REAL breaks.
Speaking of breaks — take them! We all know that feeling of being immersed in your work, not wanting to step away, and sooner or later we glance at the corner of the screen and are shocked at how quickly the time has gone by. However, breaks are crucial to productivity. They recharge us, invigorate us, and give us a fresh perspective. It’s generally recommended to take a 10-30 minute break after every 2-3 hours or work, plus time for a proper lunch. Be sure to build these breaks into your schedule and set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to take a step back at the designated time. Then, take a REAL break. Grab a snack, call a friend, or take a walk outside. It’s important to move around to stimulate your blood flow and give your eyes a rest from the screen. Not only is this practice good for our physical and mental health, but it can also spark creativity. Decision fatigue is real, but by taking breaks you give your brain a chance to recharge. You may be surprised at how much easier it is to tackle a challenging task after you’ve had the chance to clear your mind with a short break.
Set rules and boundaries with family.
With so many of us working and learning virtually these days, we often end up sharing space with our family members. This is where it becomes essential to set clear boundaries and rules around your work needs. Have a discussion with your family members or roommates about expectations. Let them know what type of support and environment you need to do your work and how it may impact them. Remember that schedule I asked you to write down earlier? Post it on your office door or on the refrigerator where everyone can see it. Remind them that when you are in your designated workspace, you’re busy. Whatever your method is, make it clear that if your family needs something, they will need to wait until one of your pre-scheduled breaks. To ease the adjustment you may need to anticipate your family members’ needs before you start work for the day. For instance, if you are working at home with young children, it may be a good idea to set up a station for them with activities, snacks, and drinks that they can access themselves while you are working to reduce the interruptions. Take your dog for a walk before you sit down for the day so he doesn’t bother you with constant potty requests. It may take some getting used to, but with consistency, everyone will adapt to the new routine.
It’s no question that working from home can be an adjustment. However, by putting into practice these simple tips, you can thrive in any environment. Make sure to continuously evaluate your work from home set up and routine until you find what works for you. Eventually, you’ll find your rhythm and you may even end up wondering how you ever worked any other way!
Alison Bennett is an account manager for E Squared Marketing. She specializes in content writing for social media. She has been working from her home since 2020. E Squared Marketing is a dedicated team of marketing professionals who take your business’ goals and knock them out of the park. Learn more about them by visiting esquaredmarketing.com.