Has the COVID-19 pandemic pushed you into working from home? Not sure where to begin with the new challenge of working in your kitchen or having your kids around? We have you covered!
At Aspen Grove Marketing, we’re experts at working from home. We’ve been doing it for years now, so we have a few tricks up our sleeves. Everyone working remotely now has to figure out boundaries, where to work, and when to work. Here are our tips to be successful while working at home and keeping your sanity:
1. Set a Schedule/Create a Routine
We know that the transition from working in the office to working from home can be difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before. It will disrupt your routine no matter what, but you should try and keep a similar schedule to what you had. If you were getting up at 6 am and getting to work by 8 am, keep doing that. Create a guideline for yourself establishing when you will start working and when to stop.
Having a routine for yourself is a key part of successfully working from home. Make your coffee in the morning, eat breakfast, work out, get your day started the same way you are used to. Another key to a successful work from home routine is getting dressed. Yes, it’s fun to sit in your PJs because you can, but trust us – it will help your motivation if you get properly dressed like you would if you were going into the office. Also, be sure to brush your teeth!
If you’re making the big transition to working from home and you also have kids in the house, creating a daily schedule and routine is extra important. It can be incredibly challenging to stay focused on daily tasks with constant interruptions. No matter what age your children are, it will benefit you to create some solid boundaries so you can meet your deadlines and still be present for your family. That means that you may need to make some additional changes that might not sound fun at first, but it will help alleviate the work/life juggle when everyone is stuck at home together and will certainly pay off.
- Wake up before your kids. This is a game-changer. If you can give yourself 1-2 hours every morning without anyone asking you where their Captain America toy is, or needing help going potty, you’ll be off to a great start.
- Carve out quiet time every day (for the kids) so you have another chunk of time dedicated solely for getting some work done. If your kids are little and still take naps – that’s time for Mom and/or Dad to focus. If your kids are older, set the expectation that every day from 1-3 pm (for example) they’re in their rooms quietly doing their own things.
- Take it outside! If it’s nice, bring your laptop out and let your kids play in the back yard. It will be good for both of you.
- Utilize the mute button on calls! If you need to be on a call, be sure to put yourself on mute so your colleagues don’t hear some rogue battle in the background.
2. Create Clear Expectations
Now that you’re at home with your family and kids, you might want to set some ground rules. Talk to your family about what times you will be working and when it is okay and not okay to interrupt you. Then be sure to communicate with your team so they know when you’ll be working. Keep everyone in the know and stay on schedule.
3. Schedule Breaks
Don’t forget to take breaks. If you normally have lunch and 15-minute breaks, be sure to make time for that in your day. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to sit on your couch or in your office all day working without getting up. Taking breaks actually boosts productivity and improves your mental well-being. When you take a break, you give your mind a chance to breathe. With all the stress and worry about what’s happening in our world, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Get outside. Take a 20-minute walk. Meditate. Do anything that gives your head and heart some mindful attention.
4. Minimize Distractions
Turn off Netflix, closeout news browsers, and eliminate anything else that could pull you away from your attention to work. Avoid distractions that are just begging for attention. If you have a million different things in your peripheral, you won’t be able to focus on your work. If you really struggle with focusing, there are apps and web extensions to help you. With web extensions, you can block certain websites for a period of time to keep you from visiting them.
5. Designate a Workspace/Office
Choosing a designated place to work is important. It allows you to go into work mode and disconnect from your home life. If you can make it a room in your home that you’re not usually in, do it. Make sure you have natural light and a good chair that you can comfortably sit in for hours a day. Just try to make your space as separate from the rest of your home as possible, so you can “leave” work when your workday is done.
6. Over Communicate
If you’re not used to working from home, it can be a weird switch. Over communicate with your manager and coworkers. Make a plan about how often you should check in day to day and with important projects. Collaboration is still necessary for your work to thrive. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call your coworkers when you have questions or need to talk something over.
7. Continue Socializing (Digitally of Course)
If you’re used to talking to your coworkers every day or going to social outings like happy hour, don’t suddenly put a halt to that. Take time to chat with your coworkers via Slack, calls, texts, or through video calls. One thing our team is implementing is a virtual happy hour! Hop on a video call with your favorite drink and hang out with your coworkers.
Let’s not stop checking in with each other, either. Spread some love and positivity when you can.
8. Give Yourself Some Grace
Some days you’ll feel like a work-from-home rockstar, and other days you’ll feel like you didn’t complete a single task on your list. Just do the best you can, and stay positive. That’s all you can do.