By Angela Copeland
Working from home always sounded like a dream. It was this amazing concept that you heard about on TV that people in California did. You always wished you could try for a few days a week.
I guess this is what they mean when they say, “be careful what you wish for.” Here we are working from home, playing from home, schooling from home, and everything else-ing from home. At least there’s no commute. But, working from home isn’t as great when it’s not a choice.
But, let’s try to make the best of it. We may be here for a while. So, what can you do to effectively work at home?
For starters, find a space that you can designate for work. If you’re lucky, you may have an office or an extra bedroom. Or, you may want to designate a space like your dining room table. If you have a house with a garage, you may even want to temporarily turn your garage into an office. This is the time to get creative.
Once you’ve found your space, set it up. At a minimum, you’ll likely need a table, a desk, and your computer. If you have them, a printer and an external monitor can also be very helpful. Keep your office supplies nearby, including paper, pens, headphones, and anything else you may need. Take the time to set up your new home office in a way that is enjoyable to you. You will be spending a lot of time there.
After you setup your home office, it’s time to use it. Start out by creating a schedule for yourself. One of the most important components to successfully working from home is routine. Try to start working at the same time every day. Set aside time to eat lunch, and possibly for breaks. And, finish at a reasonable time. Try not to spend every waking hour sitting and working, as this could lead to burnout.
Look for ways to stay connected to colleagues. One of our biggest hurdles when working from home is how to stay relevant at work without being too much — in other words, without sending too many emails or making too many phone calls. Over time, work to develop a routine. Try to stay in touch with coworkers and management without wasting time, but while still creating a human connection.
Don’t forget to ask how people are really doing. When you open up, you’ll learn that your coworkers are just as stressed and as afraid as you are. They’re also trying to figure out how to keep their spouse, pets, and kids out of their workspace. They’re also worried about their parents. They’re also running low on toilet paper.
Working from home is an adjustment, even under normal circumstances. Virtual companies share that it takes months for working from home to become normal and routine. You’re in good company.
Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.