Many are struggling to establish a good work-from-home routine, as remote work becomes a requirement in this social distancing era. I spoke to a couple of friends who are WFH veterans for their tips and tricks.
While it may have started as a refreshing change of pace, the novelty of working from home is no more. Now, many of us are struggling once again to find that elusive work-life balance. It’s hard to find a happy medium when the lines between work and home are blurred.
With that in mind, I reached out to some friends of mine to get their advice on working from home and how they manage to keep their professional and personal lives separate.
Carolyn, 2 kids, working from home for the past 6 years
What is your advice for those new to working from home?
Establishing a workspace and a work routine is so important. I get up in the morning, shower, get dressed, including makeup and shoes, and start my day at the same time. I am lucky enough to have a separate workspace from my family’s living space. However, I think setting up a defined area that allows you to walk away from the emails and the phone calls is so important.
What helps you succeed as a fully remote employee?
Picking up the phone and talking to people or jumping on a video call is key. So much can be lost in translation when you cannot hear tone or see body language. It adds that human element back into communication.
Irene, 2 kids, working from home a few days a week for the past 10 years
What is your advice for staying productive when working from home?
We have a medically fragile child, so our routines require a lot of advanced planning, regardless of work locations. Learning from experience and being flexible are just as necessary as having our days and weeks mapped out. When things don’t go to plan, we must be able to jump to Plan B or create Plan C on the fly. With this experience in mind, maximizing the time spent focused on work is critical, in preparation for the possibility of interruptions.
What helps you maximize your work time?
Having a clear end to the day allows me to prioritize the things I must do. I can see tangible results of my day and am able to put it down when it is time to log off. Also, adjusting call schedules that work for both my and my husband’s schedule allows us to support each other, even when working from the same location.
For me, there are a few key things I establish to successfully work from home and separate work from home.
1. Establish a morning routine
Getting ready sets the tone for my day.
2. Setting my intention to work
I am at work, so I turn off as many non-work distractions and focus.
3. Managing my time
I set up time blocks – lunch, break times, and a clear end time to the day.
4. Setting boundaries
I set boundaries by sticking to my time blocks, defining my workspace, and walking away at the end of my work day.
At the end of the day, working from home probably isn’t for everyone. But it’s a reality many people are adjusting to for the time being, and there are small ways you can make your work-from-home routine feel more productive.