Whether you’re dealing with your restless children, relentless pets, a lack of functional workspace, or an unfortunate combination of all three, working from home sounds a lot easier than it actually is. However, this home-office situation is the reality for a massive percentage of us at the moment. But fret not: There are plenty of strategies that you can utilize to make sure your time is used just as efficiently as it would be in a regular business setting!
1. Have a dedicated workspace.
This is rule #1 for a reason. Plopping down and conducting business from your favorite lounge spot in the house sounds tantalizing, but for most people, this is going to backfire quickly. Our minds are powerful things, and while we’re at home we need to be careful that we’re not subconsciously drifting into lounge-mode. Sarah Hoskins, Staffing Coordinator at our Columbus-West branch, puts it into simple terms, “You have to have a designated work space. I’m in a smaller apartment, so it’s dangerously easy for me to head to the couch and end up getting distracted. But the desk means work, and the couch means free time; I’m careful not to blur the lines.”
If you don’t have an office or a room with a desk? “Get creative!” says Acloché On-Site Manager Jeremy Shemas. “A dresser or an end table can work temporarily if you are required to work from home for a week or two. Just make sure you’re stationed somewhere with minimal distractions.”
2. Keep a routine.
Working from home means removing your morning commute, which can drastically loosen up your schedule! It makes sense to give yourself a little looser of a schedule after waking up, but try not to over-do it. Wake up around the same time as you would if you were heading into the office. This helps keep your body and mind on schedule, which would make the transition back into the office much easier.
Whatever your routine is, try to be strict about it! We have a lot more freedom at home than in a typical work setting, but sticking to your usual break schedule will make your work hours feel as “normal” as possible.
Working from home can be isolating, especially if you live by yourself. It’s vital that you communicate with your team often and in a variety of ways. “I’ve found that constant communication with my teammates has been a great deal of help. While working apart from everyone, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of emails. Stepping back and calling or videoconferencing your team just to touch base has been really beneficial,” says Savannah Byram, one of our recruitment specialists in the Lancaster area.
At the office, it’s sometimes pretty easy to take the temperature of certain projects or conversations, but when you’re isolated from everyone, you need to be more comfortable communicating aside from just email all day everyday
“It’s nice to talk to someone and have a quick conversation rather than relying on emails all day. It can be faster, too,” explains Sarah Hoskins.
4. Utilize break time.
Distractions lurk around every corner when working from home, but it’s important to still give yourself breaks during the day. Some people find that time seems to move much faster at home than at the office. Rebecca Montowski, a Business Development Specialist in the Marysville region, stresses this, “Take your breaks! It’s so easy to sit down at your computer at 7 or 8AM and not realize that it’s suddenly noon. Get up, stretch, grab some water, each lunch—give yourself a chance to decompress.”
Jeremy Shemas agrees, “I take frequent mini-breaks just to stretch, look out the window, and then refocus.”
Just like at the office, taking a little bit of time away from your projects is healthy. Just make sure that you set a time to get back after it!
5. Set expectations with your household.
For a huge portion of us, this is the first time that we’re working from home over an extended period of time. Understandably, that can be a little exciting for the other members of the house!
It’s crucial that you set strict expectations regarding your work hours. Spouses, children, pets, and even excitable roommates may try to pry your attention away from your duties, so you must set some boundaries for them.
Now, with a household full of kids, all plans tend to go out the window. However, you can quell some of the inevitable distractions that will come up if you aren’t lenient regarding your work boundaries.
6. Take advantage of the benefits.
It goes without saying: there are a lot of benefits to working from home. Take advantage of it! Get some exercise in the morning, make a real cup of coffee, play your own music, and open up the windows if it’s nice outside.
How many times have you been sitting at work and remembered you forgot to start the dryer, or been disappointed in the lunch you packed? These are the little things that you can benefit from while working in the comfort of your own home. Unless your dog is a complete spazz, you can even enjoy their company while you scroll through spreadsheets.
Whatever you do, remember that there is a certain block of hours that is reserved for work. Unless there is an emergency, everything else comes second.
These are uncertain times for all of us, but as a local company, Acloché is here to help in any way that we can! For over 50 years, we have helped individuals and businesses in our Central Ohio communities grow, and we remain a team that you can rely on as we all navigate this pandemic together.