Working from home has many perks, including more flexibility with your schedule, a fridge nearby and no commute longer than 30 seconds. However, as most people know from working from home during the pandemic, it isn’t always easy. Here’s what many career coaches recommend for a productive experience.
Have a consistent schedule.
It’s normal to lose track of hours when at home all day. Commit yourself to a regular daily schedule, write it down and understand why it makes sense for you. This helps you get the work done in a timely manner and allows for a better work-life balance.
Optimize your office setup.
Many companies provide equipment or allowances to set up a home office. If you’re not sure, ask. If possible, work in a space that’s separate from the rest of your living quarters so it’s easier to concentrate. Even if you can’t get that separate space, it really helps to have a decent desk or table top surface and a chair with good support for your back. Back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome is no fun.
Taking breaks throughout the day is as important as getting work done. Stepping away from the computer allows your brain to reset and protects you from eye strain, headaches, and a sore back. Use the break to stretch your muscles, eat a healthy lunch or snack, or meditate. Put the break times into your schedule!
Stay in your pajamas.
One of the biggest perks of working from home is not having a dress code. However, studies show that wearing certain clothes can have a psychological influence on productivity. Instead of wearing cozy sweats or pajamas, choose clothing that’s both presentable and creates an office-like environment that promotes productivity. If you have your go-to pants or shorts for virtual calls, fine. But you get the idea.
Distractions hinder productivity. Nothing new there. And, most homes are filled with distractions including the news, laundry, social media feeds, leaky faucets, mail, hunger pangs and so much more. Of course, having children at home creates unusual and constant pressures, if not enormous distractions, which are difficult to deal with.
Practice self-control during work hours and set aside time to check notifications, send texts or personal emails, or scroll feeds. If you need white noise to stay focused, choose a SoundCloud® or Spotify® playlist with mellow tunes. If you have children, be sure to set expectations with them, and your partner if you have one, so “taking care of it all” doesn’t fall just on you! In this regard, studies show that women ages 25-44 are almost three times as likely as men to not be working due to childcare demands. About one in three of these women are not working because of childcare, compared to 12.1% of men in the same age group. http://bit.ly/ParentingDuringthePandemic So, have the necessary discussions and try to make the load of work and care of children fall equally on all involved. Get help from a close relative, if you can.
Ghost your team.
Being in your own space doesn’t mean you’re working alone. Regular communication with your manager and colleagues is essential to collectively get the job done. Utilizing online platforms like Slack®, Zoom®, and Google Hangouts® makes it easier to stay in touch with your team. And, if you’re getting “zoomed out,” consider taking a mini-break but communicate about it first.
Create a productive environment while you remain at home with help from Margaret M. Enloe, JD, PCC. With over 30 years of experience, this life and career coach strives to help New York City professionals enhance their leadership and communication skills for long-term success. She’ll also assist with creating realistic goals and plans to achieve them while remaining empathetic throughout the process. Find out more about this career coach online, or contact her via email for a free consultation.