If you’ve suddenly found yourself working from home in the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably noticed that it comes with different challenges than being at work. Maybe you have a job where your boss is checking in on you all the time and now you’re sitting at home not knowing what you are supposed to be doing all day. Or maybe you have kids and you can’t figure out how to get work done without feeling guilty for ignoring them all day. Whatever it is, I’m going to try and address it in this post. From supplies to strategies, it’s all here.
Set up your Workspace
First thing’s first, where are you going to work? Desk, dining room table, coffee table? It doesn’t have to be fancy to be functional. If you have a designated office space that’s already set up, then that is optimal but if not, we’ll work with what we’ve got!
Gather the Things you Need
What are the tools that you need to work from home? I know that there are a lot of things that I need during the day and having them all on my desk or within reach saves me a lot of time and running around. Think about the things that you normally use in a day at work and see if you have them in your house. If you are missing essentials, think about ordering them from Amazon.
Laptop- I was lucky enough to be able to bring my work laptop home so it has everything that I need. Something I don’t have that is hindering my progress a bit is my two large monitors that I normally work on. Being an admin assistant means a lot of computer work and I am very used to having multiple screens.
Pens- I took my favourite pens from work and brought them home because I knew I wouldn’t be able to work without them. I use the Pentel R.S.V.P pens in a .5 tip.
Ruler- I do a lot of work with spreadsheets and I have to print them out a lot. Having a ruler helps keep track of where I am.
Binder/folder for loose papers– If you are working with sensitive or confidential information, make sure you have a place to put all of the documents that you are working with.
Printer and printer paper– I have a printer at home but I’m sure I could make do without one. It comes in very handy but I’m almost out of ink so I’ll have to think about ordering some more.
Notebooks- I have a lot of notebooks laying around from my time in University and this is becoming a great opportunity to use some of hem up!
Sticky Notes/Flags– Am I the only one who has a ridiculous amount of these a home?
Common Issues with Working at Home
Working at home can come with many distractions that aren’t present at work. If you find yourself becoming distracted with household tasks during the day (laundry, dishes etc), try doing these things at night after work so that, when you wake up and start work, there is nothing for you to be distracted by.
When I started working at home, I felt very disconnected from my co-workers. I was used to seeing them every day and interacting with them but that was no longer happening. We decided to schedule a daily ‘meeting’ between three of us. Just 15 minutes to catch up on things and talk to each other. If you are feeling disconnected, try this out! We also have an instant messaging service installed on every work laptop that is kind of like Facebook. It allows us to chat whenever we want.
Do you find it hard to start and finish a task because you are constantly being interrupted? Maybe it’s your kids, your husband, or your pets. I personally don’t face this challenge at home (interruptions are more common in my workplace) but I do have some suggestions in dealing with them.
Kids: If your kids are old enough try to have a conversation with them when working on projects that require your focus. Explain that you need an hour or two to work and set them up with something that will (hopefully) keep them entertained. Try to anticipate everything that they could need for those couple of hours; snacks, water, etc and set it all up beforehand. You could also set them up with a movie while you work which, in my experience, can keep kids very engaged for a long period of time.
Pets: If your pets are interrupting you, try taking them out for a walk early in the morning before you start work and tire them out so they will sleep while you work. You can also take them out for an afternoon walk as well. If you have a back yard, put them outside to play for a while while you work on a project and give them lots of love and cuddles when they come back inside.
Fatigue/ lack of motivation
I know these are tips you’ve probably heard before but try to get up and get ready for work as you normally would. Get up, shower (if you do that in the morning), brush your teeth, do your hair, put on makeup. Obviously, you don’t need to be putting on a suit every day but dress in something that makes you feel ready for the day. It will help your productivity immensely.
If you start to get tired in the afternoon try to go out and get some fresh air. Whether it’s standing out on your balcony or going for a walk, it should wake you up enough to continue the rest of your day. And, if all else fails, coffee.
Tips for Working at Home
- Go for a walk at lunch
- Eat Regular snacks
- Try to keep your regular working hours
- Take breaks
- Take lunch
- Do your hardest task first
- Try to be as ergonomic as possible. Don’t work on the couch if you can help it. Working at a desk will promote productivity because you will feel like you are at work.