Working from home can be stressful even under the best circumstances. Now, many people are working from home for the first time with little to no warning. This can be a huge hurdle to those who don’t have experience working from home.
Many of the FuzeHub staff work remotely for various reasons at times. Some of us are remote more often than not. Take a look at how we manage to stay organized, productive and stress free while working from home.
Start the day with movement: go for a walk with your dog, if you have one, or get a quick workout in before showering, eating breakfast and getting to work.
Walk at lunch: get away from your ‘desk’ for a little while and go outside to get fresh air.
Use programs like Asana to manage your workload, and keep track of specific tasks in a notebook to keep on task.
Schedule out how much time you have for each task to keep the day moving.
I have noticed that people have become more personal via email in the last week. I am getting a lot of “stay well” “hope you’re well” and “How is FuzeHub doing?” messages. We’re all facing the same struggles and it’s reassuring to share that experience and offer support.
I am also trying to share what I’m doing frequently. Phone/conference calls are definitely helpful. I connect with coworkers more too; I find myself reaching out to coworkers that I would chitchat with at the office but don’t necessarily have a work-related subject to talk about right now. We just catch up for a little bit. Makes me feel connected.
Set the ambiance – when we started working from home full-time, I’d get dressed as usual and sit at my dining room table. Then I heard coworkers rave about sitting on the couch in their pajamas and I started doing that. I did, however, notice that I can be less productive if I don’t get my mind in “work mode” first. So now I mix it up – I am starting at the table and only move to the couch after I feel fully engaged, so my productivity stays high.
Just like I would at the office, I take breaks, except now they look differently – that is when I let the dogs out in the backyard, put clothes in the drier, or tidy up the kitchen for a few minutes.
It’s trial and error – you’ll find out the things that work and the ones that do not, and adjust.
Keep a routine. Get up, have breakfast, work out (if that’s your thing), shower, get dressed. Whatever it is you normally do, keep doing it. If you let yourself get complacent about your schedule, your mentality could shift away from the work/play cycle that helps us focus and be productive on weekdays, and relax and have fun on the weekends.
If you normally have a 45 minute commute, instead of sleeping in an extra 45 minutes, start earlier and use the 45 minutes in the middle of the day to break the monotony and get your blood flowing (get away from your computer, stretch, or take a walk).
When scheduling conference calls, especially video calls, aim for morning or evening. Mid-day is when everyone else is online, so bandwidth could be limited and affect your connection. Some providers are also offering free trials of their software, so it might be a good time to try something new.
Find a dedicated space, or two or three, to “set up shop” when working from home. You want a place where you can be comfortable and productive, but it’s nice to switch it up periodically. With laptop computers, it’s fairly easy to move from one location to another, and if you have other family members who are also working/schooling remotely, consider swapping locations with them to keep things fresh.
Also bear in mind that many of us have super nice, ergonomic chairs and workstations at the office, but not at home. So be mindful of your posture.
Create a functional workspace for yourself that allows for productivity. I have a home office space with plenty of natural light and an abundance of office supplies. Overall I have the same routine as if I were going to the main office.
Keep an open mind and maintain a professional presence.
Structure your day and prioritize tasks.
As others have noted, get creative. Use this time to organize paper files/digital files/emails and purge outdated materials.
Allow adequate time to become familiar with new digital technologies in advance of using them for any conference calls or meetings.
Take advantage of appropriate personal and professional resources that are available to help navigate this situation.
I find when working from home I’ll sit at my computer for much longer stretches than usual. I’ll set a timer or alarms to remind me to get up and stretch, or make a cup of tea.
I’ll also take my lunch and do something like take a walk, do some yoga or a light home workout, and eat a healthy lunch while I’m working.
Make sure you’re eating healthy too! Working from home means you’ll generally be less active than if you were in an office, making it even more important to have healthy meals.
I also find it helpful to move my workstation around the house throughout the day. In the morning I’ll start at the dining room table, then I’ll move to my desk after lunch and end my day on the couch as my work winds down. I find the change of scenery helps me refocus and get reorganized.
Steve – Our Work from Home Pro
I like working from home better than I like working in an office, so the current situation isn’t a hardship for me. As long as I have a cell phone, my laptop, and an Internet connection, I can do my job from anywhere.
To burn stress, I’ve had to get creative. My local gym is closed, so going there is not an option. Fortunately, I live in the country and it’s early spring – a time of year when there’s a lot to do outside. Running a chainsaw, clearing brush for a walking trail, and even doing some snow removal have been welcome breaks from office work. Sitting around a campfire helps, too.
To stay organized, I use Asana. Also, I have a whiteboard in my office so that I can capture ideas any time – even when the electronic devices are off.
To stay productive, I start earlier and work later than most people. That gives me time to plan and to focus without interruptions.
The greatest challenge for me right now is dealing with the sense of urgency and loss of direction that I sense in so many people.
It is important to remember that a dog that chases its tail only has the illusion that it’s getting somewhere.
Notice some similarities in what we do to stay healthy and productive when working from home? Try some of these tips to see what works and what doesn’t work for you. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or need advice.