Find Success in Working from Home
Current events have many of us tackling the new frontier of working from home. Maybe you thought working from home would bring you all types of freedom and joy….and now you are realizing there is just as much to navigate as if you were commuting to an office everyday.
So I am here to help. From my days freelancing to my current nine to five which provides flexible work from home schedule, there are a couple of tips I have learned to help you save your sanity & relationships. I want to give you tips you won’t find other places on the internet. So let’s quickly cover the basics:
- Maintain a routine: Get up, get dressed, and slap on some lipstick if that’s your jam. Basically, preparing your body also prepares your mind to work.
- Set up space: Find or create a clutter free space in your home that will be your workspace. This again will help turn your mind on to work mode.
- Stay charged: This means having coffee handy AND knowing the location of your computer charger. There are few things that will ruin your concentration game faster than being on a work call and have your computer flashing LOW BATTERY at you.
Okay now for some good stuff……
In most offices you can simply get up and walk over to a coworker to talk. When working from home, our co-workers are no longer readily available face to face but there is still important communication that needs to go on, so get with your team and decide how you are going to talk to each other. My recommendation – don’t use email as your primary source of communication. There is no immediacy and getting a team involved in a thread is madness.
There are numerous chat apps available that will allow you to have real time conversation. Check out this article from Zapier for a rundown of some of the best options. For bigger meetings use video chats like Google Hangouts or Zoom. This allows everyone to turn on their cameras (another reason to get dressed in the morning) and get some face time with the team.
BONUS TIP: Video chat can also be used for informal get togethers. For example, my company hosts “Coffee Talks” on Friday morning where anyone can just show up and talk about what is going on in life.
This tip is two fold. First, set boundaries with your boss and co-workers. If your normal office hours are 9-5 then you should not be expected to be available from 7 to 7 just because your laptop is now in your home. At some point the new normal will return and if you work late at home, you can create the expectation that you are also available to stay late at the office. Keeping normal hours also ensures that you have time for other pursuits and family. If you get pushback on maintaining normal hours, I recommend communicating something along these lines:
“I want to ensure during this time that I am bringing my best work and continuing to provide the same level of service/projects/(whatever applies to you) that I have in the past. In order to do this I need to maintain normal working hours”…..then state your hours and ensure you are available during that time.
Second, set boundaries with the other people in your home (the bigs and the littles). Maybe your spouse isn’t working or the kids want to play, have everyone come together and discuss expectations. If you have an office at home, can you hang a sign outside that communicates when you cannot be disturbed (say if you are on a call) and when you can? Setting boundaries at home may require flexibility on your part – instead of using your lunch to read, you may need to spend that time hanging with your kids. Communicate with your partner, roommates, and family so that everyone is aware of the new norm.
Be Kind to Yourself
Transitioning from an office to working from home is a big deal, so cut yourself some slack and provide space to find a pace and schedule that suits you. You may not be as productive right away and may find many distractions. On the flip side, you may find yourself glued to your laptop and working in overdrive. Neither provides sustainable results for yourself or your company.
It can be helpful to reflect during the first few days what worked and what didn’t. If necessary communicate any adaptations you need to make to your team and if you’re the boss, give your team space to do the same – this is all new to them too.
Taking a break from your computer for a walk or to read during lunch time can do wonders for your concentration and stress management. Better yet, head on over to OutlawYogaClub.com and take a quick class! You’d be amazed how energized you feel after a good flow.
Rachel Parnell took her first Outlaw class in early 2018 and knew immediately that she had “found her people”. Avid hiker, workshop junkie and always up to share a charcuterie board and wine, Rachel values learning and connection. She is an empowering Outlaw Yoga teacher bringing a background in exercise science and calming presence to her classes. In addition to teaching weekly at Outlaw, she is also the host of the monthly New Moon Women’s Circle – – this community time is associated with the new moon of every month, and we will discuss various topics related to femininity in the modern world – stay tuned for the topic of the month on our Facebook page. Follow her on Instagram @racheljacquelyn.