We can’t wait to be back in our physical office again (soon!), once the coronavirus pandemic eases up and life, as we know it, returns to normal. In the meantime, we’ve solicited advice from a colleague who has experience working from home.
While the shift of office environment requires adjustments, with a little trial and error — and these expert tips — we’re determined to seamlessly support our clients (and preserve our sanity).
Tips for Successfully Working From Home
By Michelle Stone, Brighton Account Director
Set up a designated work space.
At first, I would sit at my kitchen table, but I didn’t have everything I needed within range, and I would have to pack everything up and move it at the end of the day. As soon as I set up my office, I was able to be more productive and have everything I needed at my fingertips — printer, second screen, notepad, pens, etc.
Keep a normal schedule.
Start and finish your day like you were in the office. Also, take a lunch break! It can be so easy to just grab something and eat in front of the computer. There are days when this isn’t possible, but I try for a few days a week.
Schedule breaks throughout the day.
With lots of calls vs. face-to-face meetings, there can be long stretches of time when you don’t move. I try to schedule 10-15 minutes in the morning and midafternoon. Take your dog for a walk, grab a snack or just move around.
Turn off the TV.
If you didn’t have TV on at your office, you probably shouldn’t have it on at home. I also keep music to a minimum. (It’s difficult to have calls with music in the background.)
Avoid the kitchen.
When I first started working from home, I would graze all day. (No co-workers to judge repeated visits to the pantry!) Now, I try to only eat meals or have snacks at “break” times. I also try to watch serving sizes.
Multitasking is hard.
I thought I’d be able to do laundry or make dinner while still working. I learned the hard way that was a recipe for disaster — I wasn’t doing anything well and missed crucial commentary in meetings. Now, for the most part I keep those things to after work or on the weekends like I did when I went into the office every day.
Don't feel guilty.
At first, I felt I had to prove that I was working every second of the day. If I heard the “ding” of e-mail I would run back to my computer, even if it was before/after hours or over lunch. Over time, I developed a schedule and made sure to stick to it. That made it easier to prove to myself and others that I was still working at a high level and being productive.
Let people know if you will be late to a meeting (they can’t see you run into the restroom or know that your previous call is running over). I text or use Slack or Microsoft Teams to let other team members know what is up.