Five Tips for Newly Remote Workers

As American businesses adapt to the global pandemic, professionals with the capacity to work from home have been asked to do so. While some workers are better prepared for this situation and have experience working from home, others may be finding it difficult to transition and maintain a productive and balanced work-life environment. Here are five tips that can help set workers up for success in a work from home setting.

Set your schedule and stick to it

Remote work allows for more flexibility for the worker, but this can also lead to working longer hours or not maintaining a balance between work and free time. Much like when you work in an office environment, you should establish core hours for your work at home. It will give you, your co-workers, clients, vendors and other regular contacts a sense of stability through the work week.

Set expectations with family

If your home office environment will include children, spouse, roommates or other individuals it is important to set clear expectations for those in your home. Just because you are working from home does not mean you are available to do chores, run errands or complete other tasks that are afforded by being home but would not be appropriate during regular office hours. Consider establishing a work area, if you can’t dedicate an office, so that others know when you are working. It is inevitable that at-home workers will need to share space and interact with family members but having a clear understanding of work versus home time will benefit all parties.

Establish your morning routine

Your regular routine of getting ready for work outside the home will be different from an at-home work routine. With less time spent getting ready and eliminating a commute, a new routine should be established to transition to the workday. Consider using that time to take a walk, enjoy a cup of coffee or other activity that will give you a morning routine you can easily maintain to prepare you for work. Some people may enjoy the benefit of working in their pajamas, but getting dressed in appropriate clothing may also help you establish a routine that says, “I am now in work mode.”

Take a break

Like a regular office workday, it is important to take breaks and get away from your screen. Use your break time to walk the dog, do chores around the house, make yourself a meal, listen to a podcast or call a friend. Make it a point to not check work email if possible. You are allowed time to disconnect and recharge. By scheduling breaks, you will be more productive and focused when you are “back at your desk.”

Have an end-of-day routine

Much like your morning routine, you are accustomed to an end-of-day routine. Checking your email for anything urgent, tiding up your work space and heading out of the door at a normal time are a part of this routine. Working at home will make it harder to establish an end of day, but without it you may just end up working with partial attention all day and night rather than focusing on your typical work hours. Consider setting an alarm to physically remind you to clock out and focus on you and your family at the end of the workday.

While working from home presents benefits and challenges, controlling the environment and establishing a schedule and routine make the transition easier. Consider that a lot of people will be sharing in this experience and lean on your co-workers and friends for support and suggestions on how to create a productive work from home environment.

Trent Weber • March 17, 2020

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