Working From Home: How Can I Make the Most of My Time?
By Armando Peña |
Working at home can be a challenge but also a benefit that can save you money and help you do more things that you normally would not be able to do. With the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) many schools, workplaces, and businesses have gone from face-to-face interaction to 100% remote. This new transition has been a 180 degree change for many that have never worked at home. With it, concerns have risen regarding how someone can still be effective while working at home, teaching their children, managing other distractions, and everything else that comes with working from a home environment.
“Avoid putting yourself in a situation where you will get distracted by something or someone.”
I have created a list of tips that will help you make the most of your time while working from home.
You have probably heard this a million times by now that communication is the best tool we can use. It gets said a lot because it stands to be true, especially when working at a distance. It is very important to communicate on a daily basis with your boss, co-workers, and clients on the status of your work or projects. Inform them of issues, concerns, or tips that might be useful for other employees. This can help you not have to re-do anyone’s work or not have a hundred messages from your supervisor on deadlines that have not been met. Be sure to consistently communicate. It is better to over communicate than under communicate.
Dress for Success
Dressing for the day is one of the best things you can do to start the day. This does not mean that you will put on a leather suit or evening gown but that you dress with clothing that makes you feel confident. In the words of Tonya Dalton, CEO of inkWELL Press Productivity CO., “Nothing gets you into work more than dressing the part.” Dressing for the day means taking a shower, putting on a nice shirt or blouse, putting on some makeup, and brushing your teeth. It does not mean staying in bed and “waiting for ten more minutes.” If we don’t dress the part we can’t expect others to treat us as professionals and we can’t expect our focus to be at work.
Create a Personal Workspace
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of creating a workspace. When we think of a personal workspace we might think of having a room apart from all noise in the house. A room that has a nice desk with a variety of colored pens neatly placed in a cup. Our personal workspace does not have to be fancy to be effective. Your workspace can be on a kitchen table, in a corner of your bedroom, or even the yard patio.
By creating a personal workspace, it sets the tone for work not only for you but for people around you. When you are in your personal workspace, people around you will know that you have started work and that you need to be focused.
If you know that you get distracted while listening to music on Youtube, then don’t go on Youtube. If you know that you get distracted when you work in the kitchen, then move. If you know you get distracted when you are near your phone, then move the phone to another room. You know what distracts you and what doesn’t. Avoid putting yourself in a situation where you will get distracted by something or someone.
With children it can be challenging to not get distracted especially when arguments arise about who should get the tv remote or who’s turn it is to take out the trash. Experts have suggested creating a schedule with children to create less distractions while working. This might include planning activities ahead of time for younger children or implementing ‘screen time’ while finishing your work for the day. Another suggestion is creating a list of distractions that can be caused by children then going through them one-by-one and figuring out how to solve them if they were to come up during work.
When I first started working remotely, I was tempted to work every minute of the day. I thought by doing so I would make up for the time that I would have spent at the office working. I also wanted to show that I was working even if I was not present in the office with my co-workers. However, this can be very damaging. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries for when you will work and when you will take breaks. Set available time and stick to it. If needed, let your boss or co-workers know when you are available and when you are not. A perk of working at home is that during your breaks you can play the guitar, go on a short walk, or spend quality time with your family.
In short, working at home can be challenging but it can also be rewarding when we put into practice the tips that I have outlined. We can get a lot done while also not overloading ourselves. We may not know when Coronavirus will allow us to return to the workplace, but that should not stop us from working effectively.
Armando Peña - Learning Designer, Construct