The dog is barking. Your children are running around and have reached a new decibel, if that was possible. Now you’ve just knocked your coffee onto your laptop. And it’s not even 8am.
Sound familiar? I’m sure we can all relate to some part of this unpleasant scenario, as many of us struggle with the daily work from home life that is the new normal.
Hoping to get a bit of reprieve in your day, here are some helpful tips on how to make working from home just a little bit easier.
1. Accept everyone’s situation is different
Whether you have pets, kids, a roommate or partner. Where you live, the size of your living space and your job with all it’s requirements are all different. And some of these are more conducive to a work from home environment than others. So the first tip I’d like to share with you when working from home is to accept that your situation is different from others whom you are undoubtedly comparing yourself to. Cut yourself some slack if you don’t make it through that one hour Zoom meeting without any interruptions.
2. Define expectations
This leads us to the next tip. Set and define expectations for yourself. And share these expectations with your co-workers, manager and whoever you’re living with. I set expectations with myself and my work team that I will be available for work-related matters from 9am-6pm. If you have kids that are old enough, let them know the hours of the day that you have to have quiet time for your work.
3. Build structure into each day
This may seem obvious by now. But creating your own structure for your daily routine is so important. At work you probably had a regular start and end time for the day, and somet scheduled break times when you got your coffee and had lunch. You still need to commit to times when work is on and work is not off, and include breaks to give your brain time to re-energize so it can focus and work at optimal capacity when you’re back in work-mode.
Here’s what a typical day working from home looks like for me as a marketing manager for a technology company. (For reference, I live in a small apartment with a French Bulldog and a partner who is now back at the office for work):
7:30am – 8:30am : wake up and get my workout in (inside my apartment)
8:30am – 9:00am: breakfast and a quick morning walk with my dog
9:00am – 9:30am: work day begins; I check emails and our team communication platform
9:30am – 11:30am: various team Zoom calls
11:30am – 1:00pm: works tasks
1:00pm – 1:30pm: lunch time
1:30pm – 4:00pm: work tasks
4:00pm – 4:30pm: coffee break and afternoon walk with my dog
4:30pm – 6:00pm: finish up work tasks for the day and set goals for the next day; end of work day
4. Self-Care 101
I plan my 30 minute lunch break and coffee break, and walk my dog before he gets too restless at the end of the day, so my last hour or so can be as productive as possible. Not having to commute allows me time to workout in the morning, which I love. I feel energized and ready to take charge of the day.
You work your best when you are feeling your best. Outside of the working hours schedule you set for yourself, it is important to schedule in other activities that are beneficial for your mind and body. Even inside a small apartment it is possible to have a good bodyweight workout, have a mindful yoga practice, or just play your favourite songs and have a dance party. Plan time to cook your meals. Listen to a new podcast. Learn a new skill. Pick up a new hobby.
5. Take Advantages of your Resources
You are not in this alone, even though it may feel like it with physical distancing. We all have access to resources that can help make our work from home lives easier – friends, family, colleagues, Employee Assistance Programs, and other aid programs.
Ask your relatives or friends to Zoom call and play with your kids for the morning. Have a dog walker take your dog out for the day. Reach out to colleagues for advice – ask them how they are managing their days working from home. I’m sure they will have some helpful tips of their own.
If you’d like to chat to one of our Chatnels team members about how to be more productive while working from home, we are always here to listen.