Working at home can be a positive experience or it can be downright disastrous, depending on how you plan and implement it. Many of us dreamed of the day when we would not have to commute to work. The time, money savings, and flexibility we get by staying at home are significant benefits. While increased tensions, family responsibilities, and cramped spaces can cause undue stress, a few simple acts can keep your home office functioning well, with limited interruptions and minimal stress. Here they are:
It is important to set boundaries when you’re working from home – both when you start your day and when you end your day. Before and after these times, you will not answer the phone, check email, or open your laptop from work. This needs to be made clear with both your family and your company so they understand when you are working. You also want to let them know, however, that if there is a true emergency you can be available.
Fake the commute
It is important to set up a fake commute every day. Your morning commute is important as it mentally helps you leave your home in the morning and prepare for work. The afternoon commute allows you to leave work behind and prepare for your responsibilities at home. It is important to have that mental break and preparation for each transition. Your fake commute can be walking outside for 10 minutes or taking a car or bike ride. It can also be a morning ritual of having breakfast and cleaning up or having an afternoon cup of tea to get you ready for the evening.
It is important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself each day. Being at home, you are not going to be as active as you normally would be in an office where you move from place to place to interact with your colleagues. Setting up at least two breaks a day of 15 minutes or more is important to provide the self-care you need to stay energized and focused. There are some simple ways you can take care of yourself – going for a walk, meditating, going to another room or reading a book for a few minutes to name a few. The most important part is that you need to schedule this into your daily routine.
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When you are working at home in your family setting, you need to make sure that you establish designated break times. These break times are when you can connect with your children or spouse/partner so that you’re not interrupting meetings or other work responsibilities. This helps to establish the workday and times to connect. This way you keep family members from walking into a zoom meeting or during a business phone call. You also want to let your family know that if there is an emergency they can interrupt or contact you to deal with it.
Digital Water Cooler
While working at home, many of us are craving the opportunity to connect with others and especially with some of our colleagues. The easy interaction that you had when you were working with others is no longer there. But with technology, there are some easy ways to connect now. Set up a digital happy hour where you can connect with your colleagues and chat. You can also set up a game or trivia night to have some needed connection and conversation. You can even do a movie night while online.
When working from home, it is important to follow these five simple acts that can be implemented easily. With these acts, you can reduce your stress, prepare for each daily transition, and provide structure for the family so you have an enjoyable and productive home office experience.