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Switching from working at an office to working at home can be a big adjustment. Here are several tips to help you work from home efficiently and productively.
Hey everyone, Phillip here.
When Tiffany got really sick after our first child was born, we moved to another state to be by her parents and have help. That led to me working from our home and telecommuting for three years.
Since we moved back, I have been working in the office again. Due to the current world pandemic of COVID-19, I’m back working from home. Some of my employees are working from home for the first time, and it’s been an adjustment for them and their families.
To help everyone out, I wanted to share what’s helped me work productively from home, especially when the kids are home as well.
Set up a schedule
Schedule your day/time. Tiffany also does this while she’s blogging and homeschooling. There can be way more distractions as home than there are work. Setting daily goals for what you want to accomplish, and holding yourself to them can help you focus on getting the right things done.
Part of that schedule should including showering and getting dressed. The first several days it’s fun to work in your pajamas on your bed, but you’ll learn quickly that you aren’t as effective – and your back might start hurting.
Keep your family informed of your meeting schedule. This helps keep expectations under control if your kids/spouse know when you are unavailable.
Communicate with coworkers
Keep communication lines open, but not too much. Because you can’t just go walk over to a coworker’s desk, you will need to spend more time in communication.
However, with a large number of people doing this there can be a tendency to spend so much time in meetings that you don’t have time to get the work done. Be aware that your coworkers are trying to complete their responsibilities and be sensitive of their time.
Be professional during that communication. If it’s a video call, don’t do it in your pajamas or oldest t-shirt. If it’s a phone call, make sure you don’t have background noise like the radio or television still on.
Set up a working space
You will need time/space to focus. Make sure you are able to find a place where interruptions will be at a minimum. This may not always be possible with everyone at home, but if you can find several hours a day of good uninterrupted time, it will help you meet your obligations to your employer.
You may even talk with your manager/supervisor to see if you can work at different times during the day. If possible you could spend time in the evenings working.
Also make sure your working space is comfortable for condusive to effeciency. If you have a chair that hurts your back, you won’t get much done. But if you’re lounging on the sofa, you might be too relaxed and end up falling asleep.
You also will want to organize your work space – it’s easier to be productive when you aren’t distracted or stressed by a mess.
Take breaks to spend time with your family. It’s okay to do that! You spend more time than you realize chatting with your coworkers at work than you may realize.
Get away from your desk and spend some of that time with your family. It will invigorate you for when you get back and will build your relationship with your spouse/kids.
As with your meetings, make sure your family knows what times you can take breaks.
Remember it’s still a home, not an office
Many people who work from home for the first time after working in an office think they can set up on the kitchen table and then get frustrated when their spouse and kids interrupt and distract.
That’s the wrong attitude to have.
Remember – you’re the intruder in this situation! If your family is like mine, your wife and kids already have a pretty good routine set up. You’re the one walking in and trespassing on their territory – not the other way around. You are disrupting them; they’re not disrupting you.
It can be difficult to balance this, especially when you live in a small space. This is a stressful, difficult time (especially during a pandemic), and tempers are probably short. However, be respectful of your family – they were there first, and this is their space during the day more than it is yours.
If you aren’t willing to compromise and communicate, your relationship with your spouse and children will suffer.
It takes commitment
Overall, this is a difficult process, no matter what the reason is. Even if the work itself is the same, changing the environment and people around you makes a significant different.
It’s going to be hard, and you’re going to have some bumps along the way. But keep at it, and it will all work out.
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