A lot has changed these past few weeks as the effects of COVID-19 are felt globally. One of the major shifts we have seen in our society is the adjustment to working from home. For companies that can continue to serve their customers and clients while following social distancing guidelines, working from home has become the new norm.
U.S. Census data indicates that 5.2% of U.S. workers completely worked at home in 2017. This number is on the rise and according to research, more employees would work remotely if it was an option. We also found these work from home statistics from Finances Online insightful.
Here at TargetMarket, we are grateful for the ability to work from home now more than ever. Everyone on our team has worked from home for certain periods of time, and when we are in the office, we rotate work from home days each week.
We understand that working from home can be an adjustment, especially for those who are new to it, so we’ve put together a list of our top tips for working from home. We also asked everyone on our team to share a few things that work for them when they work remotely.
Find a Routine
We all agree that finding a routine that works for you is the most important. Following a routine will set you up for a successful and productive day of work, even during these uncertain times. Try writing it down in your planner or even setting alarms throughout the day until you’ve established your work-week routine.
Work on Structure
Just like finding a daily routine, we also recommend structuring out your work day so that it makes sense for you. We understand that it can be easy to stay in your pajamas, work in bed or continue working after-hours when your normal daily structure has been disrupted. Maybe creating structure means making your bed, having your cup of coffee at 8 AM, catching up on the news, putting on clothes (even if that means joggers and a comfy tee), opening your computer to check emails and making your to-do list for the day.
Schedule Video or Phone Meetings
If working from home is new to you, getting used to working without your coworkers in the same office might be tough, but we recommend taking advantage of technology and scheduling video or phone conferences with your clients and with your coworkers. In times like this, holding a video meeting can help everyone feel a sense of normalcy.
Talk to Your Coworkers
On the same theme of scheduling video or phone meetings with clients and coworkers, we encourage you to keep an open line of communication with your coworkers. Even if that means just checking in to see how your coworker’s day is going, we think it’s important to touch base with the people you are used to seeing every day.
Take a Break
It can be easy to get wrapped up in work when working from home. Remember to take breaks throughout the day. Get up from the computer, stretch, walk outside, grab a snack or make some coffee or tea and take a moment to clear your head after finishing up a task.
Create a Workspace
Whether it’s your actual home office or a makeshift office space at your kitchen table, we recommend designating a workspace with a table and chair set up at home. Every now and then it can be nice to switch things up and work on a task from your sofa, but sitting in a comfortable chair with your computer raised on a table will be better on your neck long-term.
Here is what some of our team had to say about their experience in working from home:
When working from home, I have a certain routine that makes me feel good about getting my day started… because trust me it’s easy to stay in those pajamas! Before hitting the computer, I like to get ready for the day. Little things like making my bed, opening up the blinds, starting some laundry, and making coffee give me the ability to be less distracted with these things mid-day. I’ve found having a clean, bright and happy workspace is what works best for my productivity and creativity!
I always start my day by getting up the second I hear my alarm. By not allowing myself to snooze, or to fall back asleep, I find I have way more energy. I’ve also found this is especially helpful when working from home, because I’m able to get right out of bed and switch to my desk set up in a separate room. It’s easy to fall into the trap of bringing your laptop into bed with you, but I think it’s best to separate work from relaxation.
Routine is important to keeping your mind focused. I definitely recommend setting hard boundaries with a start and stop time and even for lunch – make sure you are taking breaks! It’s so easy to snuggle up on the couch with your laptop and get carried away, so make sure you are taking time to move around. A walk at lunchtime or even a few minutes outside is so good for the mind! A brain and eye break! I like to move my workspace to various areas of my house – some days you’ll catch me at the kitchen table, other days I’m on my couch in the loft, at my desk in my office, or even outside on my porch (when it’s not blazing hot). I also like to have something going in the background when I’m not writing, like music or even just a movie I’ve seen a million times. Key is to not position yourself in front of the television, so you can listen but not watch.
For me, working from home means being flexible and keeping a prioritized “to-do” list. Before the COVID-19 crisis, I adjusted my work schedule so I could spend as much time as possible with my young daughter, and now that flexibility is more important than ever. Currently, I schedule my focused work time around either her sleep schedule (working when she goes to bed or before she wakes up), any childcare help (my partner is home from his essential work a few days per week, so we rotate the care of our daughter), or when she’s focused on her own projects (I have created activity stations for her so she stays busy, and we “work” side by side). I also am sure to schedule any calls during the time when I know I have help, so I can handle business calls and meetings with peace of mind. You’ll often find me in our backyard working from my laptop while my daughter plays. I also sometimes put on a movie or TV show so I can knock out a project on a deadline. Flexibility is definitely the most important factor for working from home parents.
We are navigating uncharted territory in this pandemic and if working from home is new to you, making the adjustment can be tough. Give some of these tips a try this week and see if they help! Is there anything that you have been doing that has helped you make the shift to working from home? We would love to hear from you!