Updated: Apr 1, 2020
We've recently had to adjust to WFH on a daily basis. Here are some of the lessons we've learned that may help to keep you productive and feeling good.
01. Create a new daily routine and stick to it.
Chart it out
Open Excel or Google Sheets and create a timeline for yourself. Define your working hours - without a commute these might be different, but don't let yourself overwork just because you have more time. It's always important to take care of your mental health, but especially so during this period of social distancing.
Click here to download our template and get started.
Track your time
There are loads of time tracking programs out there. These apps can help you see how well you're managing time while working from home. Here are just a few that might be worth checking out:
Harvest (Free plan: Yes | Paid plan: $12/month per person)
Timely (Individual plans from $7/month, team plans from $99/year)
02. Define house rules during working hours.
If you live with others, it can be difficult to separate the personal from the professional. Is there a part of the house that’s off limits to them for certain hours? How do they know if you're on an important call or video conference? Sit down with your new "coworkers" and discuss a plan.
When you're in the office you might walk over to someone's desk for a quick chat, vent to a coworker about a tricky task, or walk outside for coffee. Make sure you carve out a bit of time during the day to interact with those sharing your home office - even if it's only thirty minutes. Everyone needs some human interaction and it's always good to give yourself a small break from work.
03. Get outside.
It's important to get some fresh air. Don't get stuck hunched over your computer all day. Go outside, walk around the block, have a coffee on your front steps, and play with your pet! Anything will do - get out of the house while it's daylight and you will feel much better.
04. Get a video chat system.
Meetings with clients and coworkers are much better face to face. Instead of calls, texts, and emails, set up video chats with those you need to speak with regularly. Although we’re all comfortable with the digital lifestyle that has removed a significant amount of in-person meetings, use digital tools to get face time with the people you care most about and add a personal touch. FaceTime might be the norm but keep in mind that not everyone has an iPhone. Here are a few other options for you:
05. Start the day with a clean workspace.
Clutter is distracting. One of the easiest things to add to your routine is taking five minutes to clear off your desk. Put your papers away, bring your coffee mug to the sink, clean off the desk surface, and file the things you won't need for the day. It will feel like a brand-new space.
As the day goes on, it’s easy for your desk to get cluttered and messy. That's okay! Be more productive and less stressed by taking the time to start fresh each morning.
Get a filing cabinet
You can purchase a small filing cabinet online that will fit neatly under your desk. Label folders, keep it organized, and use it ONLY for work related items. Having a dedicated space to keep your documents can make finding them later much easier.
06. Get a Bluetooth headset.
It's 2020 and most of us have earbuds but a quality headset is a great tool. If you're on the phone the ENTIRE day - think about getting a higher quality, more expensive version. For those of us who don't need the “Rolls Royce” of headsets, you can find some great ones that offer noise cancelling and connections to your cell phone, computer, or landline.
I recently tried this one that I got from Amazon and it works perfectly. Besides being able to type and move around on a call, those that you’re on the phone with will appreciate hearing your voice clearly, without distracting background noise.
Sitting all day is much easier when you're already at home and don't really NEED to go anywhere. In some cases, you’re not even allowed to leave your home except for certain tasks. We all know that isn't healthy. Your physical and mental health will thank you for adding some exercise into your day. Here are some quick ways you can get your blood flowing when you're working from home:
Stand or walk around while you're on a call.
Set a timer to ring once an hour that reminds you to stand up.
Add some time to your daily routine that includes basic stretches.
Yoga is a great way to get exercise at home and keep your stress levels in check.. Look for an app on your phone that offers free classes or search YouTube for videos with instructors that will walk you through the stretches.
08. Stay off the couch.
When you're at home, it’s natural to find working from the couch appealing. That does not mean it’s a good idea. It's bad for your back to be hunched over all day and it can make turning on the TV for a “few minutes” that much easier.
Dedicate a workspace
Not everyone has a room to use as a dedicated office and that's okay. Do what you can to create a space in your house that is just for working. If you have a small space it can be hard, but there are many resources out there for inspiration. My favorite is Apartment Therapy.
09. Don't work in your pajamas.
We’ve all thought, "I'm working from home, no one can see me...why should I change what I'm wearing?" But, if you had a client meeting, would you go in a ripped t-shirt? Probably not. So, when you're caught off guard by a client sending you a video chat request, it will be very helpful to look presentable. Also, you’ll be more productive if you stay in your routine and prepare for each day as though you were going to the office.
Look good and feel good. You don't need to be in a three-piece suit, but a nice shirt will go a long way.
10. Enjoy the benefits.
It's important to stay focused and productive when working from home but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the extra time you have now that you don't need to commute every day. If you have a hobby that you haven’t had the time for because you were stuck in the office all day, now is the time to pick it up and add it to your routine! Spend some extra time with family or friends (digitally of course). Get your laundry out of the way while you're working so your weekends are free. The possibilities are endless.