Tips on Working from Home

With news about Coronavirus updating seemingly by the hour (I feel like we’ve been living in a movie these last few weeks), a lot of schools/businesses/organizations/etc. have resorted to sending employees home to work remotely. Reclaim Hosting included. I feel incredibly lucky that my job has been remote for quite a while now so this shift has not felt as huge for me. On the other hand, I’ve received calls from friends and family asking me for recommendations on online collaborative and video chat tools, and there’s even been a shift in my email inbox as higher-ed staff are pulled into supporting their communities from afar.

While the Reclaim Hosting team is no stranger to online collaborative work as a distributed company, just this morning Meredith, Jim and I were discussing how difficult it can be to simply shift to the #remotelife. Working from home is great for the first few days. You can take advantage of working from your bed, enjoy your 10 second ‘commute’ to your laptop, work from your pajamas and snack all day long. But before you know it, your work life starts to blend with your home life, you haven’t showered in 3 days, you’re in a weird, semi-exhausted, mental funk and your home is no longer your place of Zen. (LOL. Can you tell I’ve been here once or twice…?)

I’ve developed little habits in my daily routine over time that have helped me stay focused and productive, healthy, and organized. I thought I’d share some of these small tips for the Reclaim team and anyone else who is suddenly faced with working from home.

Get dressed for the day.

Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as dressing comfortably while also feeling professional. If there’s one thing that makes me feel ready to conquer the day, it’s getting out of my pajamas and actually getting ready for it. That, and coffee.

Have a clean workspace (outside of your bedroom).

Clear desk = clear mind, people. If you don’t use it regularly then move it out of sight. Give yourself some elbow room. And as tempting as it may seem, do not work from your bed. In fact, leave your bedroom altogether. Keep work and sleep separate.

Stand up.

This may sound silly, but taking time to stand and stretch is easy to forget when you’re not in an office and talking to coworkers. When working from home, my goal is to stand once an hour, at least. Go get a glass of water, stand up when you take phone calls, and take a walk while you’re eating your lunch! (There are even apps out there that will send you regular reminders to move.)

Double the screens, double the fun.

If you can pimp out your desk setup with a second monitor, it will change your life.

Find your ‘off’ switch.

When working from home, “leaving work” becomes a bit more complicated than simply leaving the office. Even though there are set hours in which I’m required to work, I used to find myself checking email, working on projects, and innocently “checking in” way into the evening and/or night. Not that finishing tasks or having an ambitious work ethic is a bad thing, but it’s good to turn work off after a certain point to have a bit of balance. Flipping the ‘off’ switch allows you to clear your head so you can rejoin your projects the next day with a fresh perspective. When you’re on the job, be on; when you’re off, be off.

Other helpful tips:

– Open the windows – let in natural light
– Get yourself some blue light-filtering glasses if you stare at screens all day
– Don’t snack. Stick with designated meal times
– At the end of your work day, make a list of the things that you want to tackle the following day. Get it on paper and out of your mind so you can officially check out.
– Name your distractions and limit them (i.e. social media, household chores, etc.)
– Drink water. All. Day. Long.

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