How to work from home? Here’s 10 Tips to nail it. They are thoroughly tested. For sure you do miss your colleagues. Yes, even the one you normally avoid completely 😊 A few weeks ago it still looked quite appealing, working from home. Especially for those who wanted to do it but never got the opportunity. And now suddenly a lot of people just HAVE to.
How do you make it work?
Well, the secret lies in setting up a structure. Without that, chances are you start wandering around. And by the end of the day you don’t have a clue what you actually did. And that feels very uncomfortable.
I have been working at home for years already and I’m happy to share my experiences with you.
How to create a professional workspace
Obviously, you are not going to sit on the couch. Make sure you get a comfortable chair you can adjust to the right height of your desk or table. Not working in the living room comes with a huge perk: you have a place to go to when you’re finished or having a break. Even when it’s just 1 door further down the corridor.
Of course, not everyone will have the possibility to do that. Which means you will probably be sitting at your dinner table. Make sure to leave that table when you take a break. And once you stop working, put your stuff away. Otherwise, you will be reminded of work all the time or, even worse, feel tempted to “just check a little something”. And we all know where that leads to: suddenly you’re sitting there for another couple of hours rather than taking a rest.
Block 3 hours of undisturbed work in the morning
Whether you’re on your own or first need to get a bunch of kids on their way, at some point you will take your seat behind the laptop. That is a crucial moment. Don’t open your mail or socials. Don’t listen to your voicemail. Start Working For 3 Hours And Focus Only On That.
Handling mail, telephone, socials, WhatsApp
You really don’t have to respond immediately when the outside world is sending a signal. When you do that, you won’t be able to focus. You will constantly be distracted. Record a voicemail in which you indicate you will call back later. They can leave you a message but rather send you a mail. That way you can prepare yourself before you call them back.
Check your mail twice a day and only reply when your input is really needed and contributes to something. Or call them and get it over with. I check my mail at noon and 4 pm and literally end up with an empty inbox and an updated to do-list.
Create a work and break schedule
At the end of the working day, decide what you are going to do the next morning during the focus hours. But keep it real (there is only so much you can do in 3 hours). Then prioritize other jobs which require less focus and attention and plan them for the next afternoon or even the day after tomorrow.
What do you do when you feel lonely?
If you are not used to working at home, all by yourself, you can really start feeling lost. Schedule a few time slots during the day (after your focus block) to catch up with people. Have a nice chat and don’t do anything else in the meantime. Like checking your socials or e-mail for instance.
When do you schedule meetings?
Preferably after your focus hours. Keep meetings short and agree upfront on some house rules: not talking at the same time, not leaving for the bathroom or the kitchen without telling the others. When you’re not used to meeting online, it does feel a bit awkward in the beginning.
Keep track of what you are doing
I always write down what I’m doing. Just a few key words and the time I spent on it. By the end of the day at least I know how I spent my hours. It might look very tedious, but it offers great insights. It becomes immediately clear whether you are productive or waste more time than you hoped for. Is there anything wrong with wasting time? No, not if you are fully aware of it. If you want to play hooky for an hour, just schedule it and enjoy it. Do you want to do the laundry, have lunch with your kids or walk your dog? Fine, but schedule it. That way, you’re in control.
Take a break and don’t put too many hours in
When you’re working on your own and stick to the structure, you will be very productive. But you will also get quite tired. Do take regular breaks, preferably every 2 hours (after your 3 focus hours). I make a habit of setting alarms on my phone just to remind me it’s time for a break or to stop working.
And finally, …
Experiment. Let go of the idea that everything must be done during office hours. You may prefer to start working at 6am. Or at 10 o’clock. Now is the chance to try it. You always wanted to take a new approach but never got to it in the office? Now is the time.
I am Wilma Vervoort and I write for a living. My Dutch and English are flawless. Furthermore, I also have a broad experience in sales, training and consultancy. I would love to work for you. Interested? Contact me and I will get back to you soon. Check out my other website too.