9 Tips for Working from Home

There are oodles of tips on the Net for working from home.  Here is a compact version.

1. Create a morning and closing routine

Routines are important because they prime us for jumping into our work and help us transition back to our personal life, respectively.  There are lots of articles on the Net regarding morning and evening routines.  If you do not have solid routines, it could be an idea to do some research and find what floats your boat.  It should be emphasized that by making the preparation of the following day part of your evening routine you exponentially increase your potential to start the day off right; that could include deciding on your top three priorities (or at least one) for the following day, tidying up, entering notes, choosing which clothes you will wear and anything else you do in the morning – when you are a bit groggy, that can be done the day before.

Including one bite-size exercise routine each morning if you are not the type to do a full morning work-out, like me, can get your creative juices flowing.  Even a few push-ups, sit-ups, planking or some curls can be enough to give you a sense of early morning accomplishment without really taxing you.  Also, quite importantly, drink a couple of glasses of water as soon as you can in the morning when it is dehydrated from hours without liquids.  If two glasses are too much, start with one – or even a few sips and build up, but do it consistently. Perhaps not the most pleasant thing to speak about, it’s still worth mentioning that if you often have bowel issues or hemorrhoids from too much sitting each day, you might be amazed to find out that those problems tend to disappear after about two months of consistent morning hydration.

2. Keep regular hours

Beginning with regular sleep hours (at least 7), keeping regular work hours is the important discipline that enables us to perform at our best.  Sometimes it is impossible to do, but the more consistent we are with our days, the more effective we tend to be. Learn more about Why We Sleep.

Start and finish at the same time every day

Take advantage of taking a 20-30-minute siesta after lunch

3. Set up your home office – in a dedicated room if possible

Do not just plop down your laptop on the dining room table (or worse, a coffee table) and get to work.  Make sure you have got your space set up so that you have the things you need at arm’s reach. Those things can include paper, pens, paper clips, tape, stapler, a hand calculator, your headset, desktop mic, charging cables, etc.  On the other hand, not having a trash can in your space ensures that you get up out of your chair at regular intervals.

Your desk and chair should be appropriate for working or else you could end up with muscle spasms in your neck or back.  Be very aware of this because it can take weeks to recuperate from seemingly minor physical discomfort.

If there are other people in your home, let them know how important it is that your area is your office, and let them know what your expectations regarding that.

4. Help your family understand that you are at work

If family members are at home while you are working, help them understand the limits to your availability while you are at work.

It is a good idea to announce that you are going to work each day in order to help them understand that mommy or daddy are now unavailable except when it is very important.  This is more difficult or even impossible with younger children, but the point is that setting limits will help all of you handle expectations.

When you are done with work for the day, you can also announce, “I’m home again!”  Young children will enjoy the playfulness of you pretending that you were gone and give them the signal that it is time to do family things.

This last part is actually quite important because otherwise children can be a bit insecure as to whether you are going to go back into your home office, therefore not willing to engage with you.

Bottom line: clear lines make happy families.

5. Step outside the house a least once during the day

Also, buy a floor mat on which you can do some basic stretching exercises, yoga, or meditation. In any event, get away from any screens for at least 30 minutes to give your eyes and mind a break.

6. Feel free to socialize with colleagues

You might have a coffee machine at home, but not one that you’ll stand around and share some niceties – and yet, we all need some socializing, so reach out to colleagues and let them in on the latest news or a bit of humor.

7. Get good at video conferencing

8. Overcommunicate

It is easy to distance yourself or feel distanced by colleagues when working from home.  Touch base regularly.  If your boss is not scheduling regular daily stand-ups and other meetings, recommend that she/he does.

9. Stay positive

Perhaps working from home is particularly difficult for you.  That should not affect your professional behavior.

Talk about your issues with friends, colleagues, family, your boss, in order to work them out, but do not let it interfere with your attitude at work.

Your comments will help me improve this blog and blogs in the future.  Thank you in advance.

Michael Hoffman 

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