Posted on March 30, 2020 by
Do you need to learn how to work from home while sheltering in place? With the world concerned about the Coronavirus outbreak, companies, schools and businesses are sending people to work from home and self-quarantine and to learn how to work from home on their own. Until this outbreak subsides, and for the unforeseeable future, thousands of people will be working from home and exploring remote work options for the very first time. The world is focused on Coronavirus prevention tips, and my belief is that we need to do our best to remain productive while we work at home as well. I hope you’ll learn a few important tips in this article while you’re learning how to work from home.
I’ve worked as a successful Digital Standards, Social Media and SEO consultant and a small business owner for more than 20 years. Most of my work has been performed remotely in my home office. Personally, working in a fabric cubicle with artificial lighting didn’t work for me. My productivity declined and concentration was difficult. A work from home solution was my best option. So, I set up a home office, learned how to work from home and here I am, sharing my tips and tricks with you.
Currently, my home is in a community where many people who work for Facebook and Google live. Most everyone is working from home and our sidewalks are bustling with employees walking dogs while on breaks (while practicing social distancing, of course). A few people mentioned to me this week how unfocused they feel, and how working from home isn’t as fun as they imagined. I’ve found myself offering tips and advice on successfully getting the job done, and I thought it was time to share my best advice right here on the Roaring Pajamas Blog.
1. Create a routine.
When you worked in an office, you had a routine, right? You woke up at a certain time of day, worked out, ate breakfast, played with the cat or walked the dog. Keep doing those activities. Don’t stop. Maybe you can adjust the schedule to get up 30 minutes later because you no longer have a commute, or you can add a meditation, house cleaning or whatever to your schedule, but make and keep a routine. Setting a routine is especially important as you are learning how to work from home. Stay disciplined during this time and in time you’ll be able to relax a bit and still remain productive.
2. Shower and get ready for work. Every. Single. Day.
I love my Roaring Pajamas. We celebrate National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day too. But trust me. You’ll feel more professional, effective and productive if you get dressed. You don’t need to wear a suit or high heels, but you might at least get dressed in something you wouldn’t mind wearing to the grocery store when you run into a client, co-worker or boss.
3. Keep 2 to-do lists.
I always keep two task lists, one for work activities and the other list is for personal to-dos.
The reason I keep two lists is to help me separate work from my personal time during the day. I like to take frequent breaks to relax my eyes after staring at a computer screen. During those breaks, I’ll make a snack, look at my list and perhaps tackle a personal task like moving a load of laundry, picking up the mail or making a personal phone call. Knowing these personal activities are somewhat scheduled makes them okay to do during the day, and I feel less guilty and distracted.
Also, I find that creating a daily task list helps me stay on task each day. I’ve also tried the Tomato Timer to help me focus for 25 minutes at a time. The app’s awesome if you like that sort of thing.
I know this sounds obvious to many of you, but many people tell me they don’t really worry about prioritizing tasks on a daily basis. They also tell me they are easily distracted during remote work. Try my recommendation. It totally works.
4. Go outside. Often.
Sunshine is so important. I support this advice wherever one works, at home or office. Sunshine is known to lift spirits, reduce depression, improve energy and some studies claim the sun kills viruses too! If the sun is shining, take your laptop outdoors. Take a phone call on your patio. Take a noon walk.
My sunshine program includes:
– Sunrise: Breathwork, Qi Gong, sun gazing and a long walk
– Mid-day: A short walk even if just to pick up a package
– Sunset: Sungazing, meditation and a long walk
5. Cover your cameras and set up a VPN.
Seriously. Cover your cameras. Nothing rattles me more than receiving one of those emails that say they recorded me and the writer “knows what you did.” Those emails are creepy. I keep covers on my phone, laptop, tablet and external cameras. Now, when I receive one of those disturbing emails, I simply delete it knowing it’s fake.
I also like having my own VPN for increased security and peace of mind. Using a personal VPN allows an extra layer of security from hacks and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Use a company VPN, if available. Otherwise, you can sign up for one of many VPN services to help protect your data while on your home network, common area, café or other public wifi.
6. Schedule the end of your day.
I can work all day and all night on search engine optimization for our clients, but a girl’s gotta eat sooner or later. Each day, when I’m planning my activities for the day, I also plan the end of the day. During the dark days of winter, I usually step outside at sunset around 4:30 to 5 pm. In the dog days of summer, I’ll stop around 5 pm to eat dinner, then step out for sunset and a long walk. Either way, I consciously plan to end my workday. Of course, sometimes I’ll work late at night on a project. Those nights, I try to take a long break and then come back later in the evening to finish up what I need to do.
Hopefully, this post on how to work from home will help you remain productive while avoiding the Coronavirus. Working from home can be very productive and offers a lot of benefits. Try my tips to keep you focused, productive and successful while you work from home. You may also find you enjoy working from home after all the shelter in place requirements are lifted, and now you’ll know how to work from home, and you’ll have all the tools you’ll need. In the meantime, take care of yourself, boost your immune system and take heed of other Coronavirus prevention tips provided by your county health department. Do you have other tips on how to work from home? I’d love to hear them!