Working from home? Here are a few tips and pointers I’ve gained from my personal experience.
I'll admit it, I’m terrible at working from home. I’ve enviously watched my girlfriend bang away on her laptop for hours while sitting cross legged on the couch (despite me telling her this is a terribly unhealthy posture).
I have my own room dedicated to my home office but I still find it difficult to get anything done! I'll work for 90 minutes, get sidetracked and get up to grab coffee. Then I’ll take the dog for a walk that inevitably turns into an extended 2 hour trip to the park. It's not that I'm lazy and I don’t have ADD. I have just been conditioned for 30+ years that when you leave the house and go to the office, you put your work hat on and get down to business. My home has always been my refuge from work. My primary dilemma has been getting into the same frame of “game on” mindset while working from home.
It wasn’t easy, but over the course of three months I managed to get it done from home with close to the level of intensity that I previously had in my work office. Here's what I did.
Clear the Clutter
I organized the heck out of my home office. I cleared all the unnecessary clutter that was distracting and productivity draining. Honestly, being organized is not my natural state but it takes on a whole new level of importance when you are working from home. I needed to make my home office my sanctuary and remove any hint that this was not a place for work.
I moved most non work items out of the room and into a storage unit. It cost me an extra $100 a month but it’s well worth the cost. The rest of the items that we needed for everyday use I moved into a closet. I removed the tools of domesticity like mops and hampers. From that day forward my office beamed my war room during business hours.
Get Off the Couch
I know it's hard, but try not to work on the couch. My girlfriend is an anomaly. She works better from the couch with the TV on. Regardless of how much she gets done her back gets stiff and her hips hurt.
A quick Google search will tell you all you need to know on the health issues related to working from home. Not everyone has the luxury of space for setting up an ergonomic workstation but standing desks are now much cheaper than they were just a few years ago. Many employers allow their employees to charge these to their expense accounts. I've finally convinced my girlfriend to use one and her back and hip problems have gone away.
You're working at home, so make the most of it with a home workout built into your work day. While working from home might not be ideal for everyone, there are some amazing benefits, like the ability to take a jog or bike ride mid-day. This is tough to do when you are working at an office, so take advantage of your flexibility to exercise while working from home.
There is no greater way to overcome those mid-day energy drops than a quick run on a beautiful day. It refreshes your mind and boosts creativity, as well as productivity. Some of my best ideas have come from my time exercising, away from my computer screen. The endorphins get rolling and you do way better work. It’s the perk of a good cup of coffee, without the crash. Just make sure that 30 minute run doesn’t turn into an extended 2 hour afternoon stroll!
Stay In Touch With Your Network
One of the primary benefits to being in office is that nothing will ever replace the relationships that we build in person. Sharing ideas in the office is spontaneous and ideas tend to flow better when you get people in a room. There is something about the energy of a dynamic brainstorming session that can't be replicated online. It’s very easy to lose touch with your colleagues when the only communication is online. Set up times whenever possible for a socially distanced lunch or drink with a colleague or industry friend, in fact do that with multiple colleagues. You’ll find that the in person dialogue gets the creative juices flowing, and reminds you of why you enjoyed getting up and going to the office (most) mornings.
Research and Set up a great ergonomic workstation
You don't have to be a millionaire to upgrade your at home workstation. There are great deals that can be had on home office bundles (especially now) for an entire home office upgrade including an electric standing desk, ergonomic office chair, and storage unit for under $950
. One of the leading complaints of working from home is back pain from poor posture. Most ergonomic experts recommend that even with a great ergonomic chair you need to sit up right and adjust the lumbar support correctly. The most expensive standing desk in the world doesn't stand on its own, you need to remember to use it every hour. A small investment and commitment to healthy home working will go a long way towards preventing long term repetitive strain.
Finally, don't despair. It's easy to get caught up in crying in your coffee about current events. But mental outlook and optimism always win out. The kids will be back in class, your work office will begin to repopulate (now hopefully with less density), collaborative ideas will once again become in person and spontaneous, and you'll be longing for those days when you could just work from home in sweatpants!
Quick Ship Office
However you have created your home office space, know that getting into a rhythm and an organizational system will benefit you greatly. I created Quick Ship Office to bring you the best corporate furniture office exclusively for your home office. Get off the couch, get behind your standing desk, get organized, and get to work!