Whether you’ve worked from home for years or you recently were plunged into the remote work camp, you could probably use some tips for working from home to get and stay productive. These tips cover three areas: routines, location, and tools to help you win. They won’t just get you through the quarantine period, they’ll help you if you choose to stay a remote worker indefinitely.
A study by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that from 2005 to 2017 the number of remote workers in the U.S. increased by 159 percent! At the beginning of 2020, 4.7 million people, or 3.4 percent of the U.S. population, worked from home. Since the coronavirus lockdown however, that number has jumped to 81 percent, according to one survey.
Common Sense Tips for Working from Home
Live and die by your routines
Whatever you do, don’t get into the habit of staying up late and sleeping in. Sleep experts agree that regularity promotes healthy sleep. And, productive, focused work requires routine at home, as well as at the office. So, don’t turn off that alarm!
As much as possible try to keep the morning routine you’ve always had. And, even when working from home, dress for success. While pajama bottoms are more comfortable than business casual, they don’t tell you to focus like your normal work clothes do.
If you normally have a morning and afternoon commute, simulate one with a walk. It will communicate to your brain that you’re still on your way to work and help you to focus once you sit down at your desk.
The Work-From-Home Toolbox
For the most part, remote work requires a certain number of special tools, particularly in the tech department. Here are a few tech tips for working from home to get you started:
Internet: If necessary, upgrade your internet service while working from home. If your family’s home, you don’t want to get kicked off your Zoom meeting because the kids are streaming their school work. You may find it necessary, no matter what your speed, to ask the rest of the household to refrain from streaming while you’re in a video conference.
Video: Another tip for working from home includes wise use of video conferencing. In the office, you pop your head over the cubicle wall or trotting across the hall to speak with a co-worker. Face-to-face conversations result in fewer misunderstandings. So, while working from home, use platforms like Skype, Zoom, or Facetime rather than the phone. When using video, position your monitor at eye level to avoid that up-the-nose angle and sit with your back to the wall to prevent background clutter. Look at the camera when speaking rather than the screen, and close any window blinds if needed for proper lighting.
Phone: If your employer hasn’t assigned a phone for your particular use, ask about forwarding your work number to your cell phone. If you do forward your number, remember to change your voicemail message to match the one at the office.
Schedule: Download your work calendar to your home computer and your phone. Activate notifications on your phone and your desktop so you don’t miss a beat when distracted by the family. Don’t forget those social media notifications, too.
Location, location, location
Location is everything when it comes to getting the work done. Granted, everyone has extenuating circumstances right now with kids and spouses all working from home. Just do what you can to secure a spot to call your office.
Furnish your space comfortably. A sore neck and back from poor posture at the dining room table add to your stress. If you can’t afford ergonomically designed furniture do what you can. Elevate your laptop on boxes or books to get it up to eye level or purchase an auxiliary monitor. Use a Bluetooth enabled keyboard, too.
If you don’t have a spare room, look for a corner where no one will disturb you. The dining room table is not the best option if you have to clean it off each evening to eat supper. A corner with a room dividing screen that you can draw shut when you’re on the phone or a video call works well in some cases.
However, for optimum privacy and quiet, consider a backyard office. As far as tips for working at home go, this one will take you beyond the Covid period. For a minimum investment, you can have a portable office delivered and set up in a short amount of time. Built to your specifications, Ulrich Lifestyle’s backyard offices are the perfect solution to your work-from-home woes.
If you think your situation is temporary, or if purchasing a backyard office isn’t in the budget right now, consider our rent-to-own program.
Either way, a trained Ulrich Lifestyle professional will help you choose what’s right for your needs and your budget. For help designing your backyard office, contact an Ulrich Lifestyle professional near you.