I’m pretty convinced that working from home is inevitable. By 2020 most of the workforce under the age of 30 is going to either expect or desire some degree of work-from-home privileges. My relationship with the whole work from home thing has changed over the past year. At first, I thought it sounded nice but didn't think I’d ever like that much. Then I started working and really liked the idea. Then I had to work from home for an extended amount of time and grew weary of it.
Advice for how to make the most out of working from home
What I have come to understand about working from home is that it takes a little more planning then just showing up to the office would in order to make it work. Here is my advice for how to make the most out of working from home – delivered in a schedule.
7:00am: Choose Your Work Hours
Decide in the morning if you intend to work your regular workday, or you were going to start a little later or maybe trail out of the day. A little bit of strategic thinking at the beginning of the day can help determine how successful you are going to be when working from home. If you decide that you are going to work your regular work hours (which I would highly recommend) then treat your day like a normal workday and consider the comforts of home an added benefit.
7:30am: Get Ready
Treat the day like a normal workday. This means waking up and getting dressed according to your normal schedule. Plus, it’ll help you stay on track when you return to the office. Also, if you’re like me and you know this is true but can’t be bothered as punctual when you’re at home – sleep in for 30 minutes and wear comfy clothes.
8:00: Commute Time is Prep Time
One of my worst habits when working from home is to not make the most out of my usual commute time. This is your moment to get setup for the day. Need a sunny place for a video call later? Set it up now. Get your coffee. Grab a snack and get settled in.
Try to avoid having to cook lunch when you're at home. I find that the relaxing rhythm of cooking food in the middle of the day makes it very hard to wind up into my tasks when I'm done eating. Plus, it's a time suck.
I would highly recommend that you meal prep for days that you're working at home just like you would if you were bringing your lunch into the office. Consider having a couple of meals at home that are your go to whenever need a quick bite to eat.
2PM: Get Your Midday Slump A Great Headset
Anyone else notice that working from home is a recipe for getting distracted easily?? I can’t count how many times I have been in the zone and a bird lands on the fire escape to zap me out of it. Then I end up working through the end of the workday just to make up for lost time. My quick fix here is to have an awesome headset. This multi-tasks as a way to keep you focused by listening to music and as a way to take the pain out of remote meetings.
5:30pm Evening commute time: Clean up around the house.
It’s the one thing that nags at me the most about working from home. My room can get out of sorts during the week but none of that clutter keeps me from doing my job when I’m in the office. If I’m at home? It is a whole different story.
So, give yourself the breathing room to get some of those home chores done. One of the best benefits of working from home is the swift transition to home tasks but when it goes unstructured it can be a burden. Use your evening commute time as a time to transition out of work thinking. Consider it as a value-added time to be at home.
Do you ever find yourself struggling to be productive at home? What are your strategies for making home a great office?