Working from home is something that many of us have had to adapt to over this past year, and it’s something the majority of business owners believe is here to stay even after the pandemic.
It is interesting to see how the pandemic has had impacted jobs and how companies have been forced to adapt to remote work arrangements. Economists seem to agree that it is a positive change for our economy and will help companies drive growth.
Working from home sure has its benefits:
- No commute time to / from work
- Less office drama
- More quiet time / deep focus
- Less distractions
- More comfortable workspace
- High employee morale
However, let’s not pretend that working from home doesn’t present challenges for the employee as well.
Having worked from home full-time for several years, I’ve come to understand that to be effective in a work-from-home environment requires skills and attributes that I did not originally anticipate.
Here are my top takeaways:
1) Take a class on time management
Time is our most precious asset, and yet so few of us see it as that. How often do we see the resource of time as something we are spending, or investing? And yet, that is what it is.
Every minute that passes is a minute we could have spent working and making money. Which means every minute we don’t work is actually costing us money. Time is valuable. It is a limited resource. So, for those of us who work from home, it can be useful to listen to a webinar, take a class, or read a book on time management to hone your skills.
2) Have a dedicated workspace.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having a sacred space where everyone in the household respects as your workspace. When you are there, you are working. This might be a spare bedroom turned home office. It might part of the basement, perhaps a big closet. Not only should people respect this as your workspace, but you should honor it as such.
View your time within that space as work time, and your time outside of the space as personal time. Even if you get up for a small break, lunch, or whatever, when you are outside the space, you are dedicating it to personal time.
What can happen if you don’t do this, is you intermix the two, and you don’t do either your work or personal life justice when you have one foot in both.
3) Schedule breaks
It is easy to get locked into work mode throughout the day, and it is easy to feel like you shouldn’t take a break because it doesn’t feel like a traditional work break. You aren’t visiting the water cooler, chatting with coworkers, or going to the break room. Your breaks feel much more personal. Allow yourself that time to unplug and recharge for a few minutes. Stretch your legs.
Studies show we are more productive when we allow for at least a 5-minute break every hour. Put reminders in your calendar to remind you to get up and stretch!
4) Have a transition time
Some experts say having a planned transition period between work and personal time can be healthy for our mental state. In a traditional work environment, we would get this from our drive back home from work. But when we work from home, we might miss that.
I suggest spending 5 or 10 minutes where you separate from the workday so you can decompress, release any stress and refocus your energy on your family and home life.
5) Get outside the home from time to time
This might be hard to do right now but post pandemic, if you are able, take your work to a coffee shop or rent an office space for a day. You’d be surprised how getting out in public and changing your setting can enhance your focus and help you to be more efficient with your time at work. Then you can use the drive back home as your transition time, so you are fully present for your family.
Working from home can have so many advantages. However, you also have challenges to face. Hopefully this article has given you a few things to think through as you become more present, more efficient and more effective in both your personal and professional life.