For 2 years prior to my current role, I worked from home and was a remote worker while the rest of my team was in the office. But never before have we had companies telecommute on such a broad scale. Social isolation is also a legitimate thing when working from home. I know we are supposed to be social distancing right now, but here are some work from home tips that I learned and things to do to cope with social isolation while working.
Work from Home Tips
Maintain Your Morning Routine
Get up at your normal time and stick your usual every day routine. You will have some extra time in the morning because you will not be driving to the office. You could have morning coffee with your child or something during this time. But sticking to the routine will keep you on track for when things return to normal.
One thing most people think of or potentially do when working from home, is stay in their pajamas and work in bed or on the couch. You should get dressed like you normally would for the work day. This again will keep you in the routine and make you still feel like you are not only being productive but also help you feel like you have something to do and go to for the day.
Have a dedicated Workspace
This is key. Since you will be working from home for an extended period of time, you want to make sure that you have a dedicated work space. You are working within the same walls that you live in, so you do not want to be working where you try and relax every night. You should set up an area in your house where you will be working each day and is away from as many distractions as possible. You need to create a fine line between work life and family life.
When in the office, people pop over to your desk or you chat in the common area. Even though we currently should not be traveling out unless for essential items, go outside for a walk, or play catch outside with your son, etc; this will distract your mind for a few minutes and will get you moving and fresh air. Be sure to include plenty of exercise in your schedule.
Drink Plenty of water
Be sure to have your water bottle at your workstation with you and you are drinking. In the office, workers typically carry their water with to meetings, since that won’t be happening make sure you are drinking plenty of water at your desk and getting up to refill it.
Schedule virtual coffee chats
When in the office people we usually get coffee with co-workers, talk to co-workers in the common areas, stop by a co-workers cube or pop our heads over the cube wall to chat. In the office it is easy to just stand up and brainstorm with our team. When working from home you need to be diligent to create those opportunities. Schedule some virtual coffee chats with co-works where you are on video and can bounce ideas off of each other. This will also help with the social isolation and keep the people interaction in your daily live.
Don’t multi-task while on calls
When you are on Skype calls, do not be multi-tasking. Treat calls as if they are an in-person meeting. When you are sitting in a meeting, you wouldn’t be multi-tasking you would be paying attention and participating. You want to do the same when you are on conference / skype calls. Treat it as an in-person meeting.
Create rules for family
Since you are probably working from home right now with a spouse and kids home, be sure to set some rules. If the door is closed, you are in a meeting or can’t be bothered. If you have the headset on, you are probably on a conference call. Be sure that the family is aware and everyone understands what is going on.
Stick to your work schedule
Stick to your normal work day schedule. Start the day when you normally would and end the day when you normally would. You also should have lunch at the same time that you would have lunch when in the office. The key is to keep everything a normal as you possible can and sticking to your every day work schedule will be key to your success.
This are just a few of my tips and suggestions. Obviously you will need to do what is right for you and your family as you work from home. Stay focused and once you fall into a routine it will feel normal.