Working from home for the first time? 9 Essential Tips for Success

Working from home for the first time? Use these tips to set yourself up for success (and keep your sanity).

For many people, working from home has always felt like a dream. You get to sleep, skip the commute, put on your pajamas all day, and park yourself on the couch… right?

Well, not at all. Now that many Americans are being forced to work remotely because of COVID-19, chances are it’s a big, unexpected adjustment: How should you stay focused? Keep in touch with your team? Resist taking a post-lunch nap? Don’t go completely crazy?

If you’re working remotely for the first time, use these tips and strategies to help you transition into this new work reality:

1. Establish a Dedicated Workspace and Establish Physical Boundaries

A lot of working from home advice will make it sound like you need a dedicated home office with a wide desk and multiple computer monitors. Sure, that would be nice, but that’s not a reality for many of us—especially if you’re new to working remotely.

All you need is a dedicated space. This can be a small desk in the corner of your living room, counter space on your kitchen island, or even your couch, although a sofa may not be the best long-term plan for your posture. . And, hey, you can walk around all day. That’s fine, as long as you have your own home base.

It is also important to establish some physical boundaries. If you are working from home with children, your partner or roommate, explain your needs. Don’t be afraid to let them know you’re going camping in the kitchen or if you need silence during a conference call. Of course, make sure one’s eye is on any of the little ones.

Another important tip: Set your work-from-home space to be comfortable and free of distractions. Plenty of natural light will also help.

2. get ready

Since you are working from home and there is no commute to wake you up, you need to help your body and mindset to shift from sleep mode to work mode. One way to do this is by getting dressed.

No, you don’t have to dress like you’re going to the office (unless you want to). You just need to get out of your pajamas. Of course, if you’re hopping on a video call with a manager or coworkers, you’ll want to look presentable.

But otherwise dress as you like. There’s nothing wrong with wearing yoga pants or gym shorts all day, as long as you’re comfortable and can focus. After all, a big advantage of working from home is being comfortable too, so take advantage of that.

3. Set the Best Morning Routine for You

Working from home is a lot like going to work in that we all have different morning routines. Some people like to get up at least three hours before work so that they can go to the gym, read the news, and cook an extravagant breakfast. Others prefer to sleep in as late as possible and spend a limited amount of time getting ready for their day.

Because working from home is new to you, give yourself a few days to establish your routine. Are you most productive when you wake up early and work out? Or are you ready to go to sleep and wake up on time, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and sign on to your computer? There is no one right way to do this; It is what works best for you and your mindset.

4. Stay Connected

When working remotely, it is very important to stay in touch with your manager and your co-workers. If your team already uses virtual communication tools – Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts etc – make sure you feel comfortable using them. If your team doesn’t already use telecommunications equipment, suggest setting up some of these channels to help everyone stay connected.

You can also suggest conducting daily or weekly morning video huddles; Since you are not physically sitting with your peers, it is still important to get face-to-face time. Morning or weekly video check-ins will help everyone stay on the same page and productive.

Also, remember that working from home can quickly become isolating. If you’re missing human contact, ask a coworker if they’d like to have a virtual lunch meeting. You can eat lunch together and catch up via video chat. If you need some fresh air, you can also suggest a virtual walk-and-talk. You will be able to get some fresh air and also be able to catch up on work via phone.

Just make yourself available to your team and stay connected, especially if this is new to you and your team.

5. All Day Schedule Break

You might be surprised to know how quickly the day passes when you are working from home. Sure, a few hours will creep in, but other times you’ll find yourself wondering how you lost lunch. That’s why it’s important to schedule breaks throughout the day.

These can be quick, hourly five-minute breaks to stretch or throw in a load of laundry, or you may want to take a 30-minute walk during lunch. Staying active and getting your body moving is essential when it comes to maintaining your energy while working from home.

If you’re having trouble remembering to take a break, set a timer or alarm on your phone. You can also block a time on your calendar to grab lunch or take a walk to let your coworkers know you’re unavailable. Taking these breaks will help you stay focused, productive, and not feel so hustle and bustle at the end of the day.

6. Use New Strategies to Hold Yourself Accountable

If you have trouble staying focused while working from home, you are not alone. There are a lot of distractions in your home, and they can quickly ruin your productivity if you’re not careful. So you have to find some new ways to hold yourself accountable while working from home.

For example, you can start each morning with a checklist. Write down the attainable goals you hope to accomplish that day. You can also suggest morning check-in to your teammates via virtual chat. These check-ins can include a little update of your day, as well as everything you hope to accomplish that day.

7. Have reliable technology—and a back-up plan

When you’re working from home, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a reliable internet connection and computer. Unfortunately, your company’s IT team probably won’t call home.

If for some reason your Wi-Fi isn’t reliable, you can always connect directly to your modem with an Ethernet cable. If you can’t connect to your home Internet, you’ll also need to create a back-up plan. If you have unlimited cell phone data, you can simply link to your phone’s hotspot. Alternatively, you can go to a local coffee shop and take advantage of their Wi-Fi – once social distancing is no longer needed.

8. Set Work-Life Boundaries

When you are working from home, it becomes easier for your work to blend into your home life. This makes it hard to disconnect at the end of the day, but it’s just as important to relax after work while you’re away. Otherwise, you risk getting burned – and that’s why you need to set some boundaries.

Having a dedicated physical workspace at home will certainly help, but you can also take steps to establish a virtual boundary. For example, if your team uses Slack, take advantage of its “Do Not Disturb” setting. You can also automatically disable notifications during specific times, so if you work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., mute your notifications from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. each day.

You may also want to adjust the push notifications on your phone so that you are not showered with email and calendar notifications 24/7. This will ensure that you have enough time to step away from your computer and collect yourself.

9. Loosen Yourself a Little in the First Few Days

Above all, remember that working from home is a huge lifestyle adjustment. It may not be as easy as you thought. That’s why it’s important to let yourself loose a bit first. Give yourself time to establish a new routine and figure out what works best for you. Keep changing your habits and adjusting your schedule until you find the right balance.

Want to transition to a job that allows you to work from home? Make sure your resume is ready. Our writers can help.

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