Working from home sounds thrilling but it can be more challenging than it seems. We are all recently adjusting to working from home among family members who have their own work or school demands and many other possible distractions. Giving yourself and your family a lot of room to adjust to the new dynamics and being flexible are necessary steps we all need to take so please be patient!
Here are a few tips to help professional women during this transition to effectively work from home while others are sharing the same space.
Stick to a routine
If you have school age children and they will be doing remote learning, it is a good idea to follow a schedule similar to a normal day where they can “attend school” while you get your work done. You may opt to divide your day in separate blocks of time that allow you to get work and activities done with more flexibility than an hourly schedule would. Print out your schedule, keep it next to your work space and get your significant other on board with it.
If you have smaller children or babies, things can be more complicated but still a routine is of utmost importance to get work done. Taking advantage of kids’ nap times may be enough to send emails or make client phone calls without interruptions.
Include blocks of free time and self care. For kids, this may be a good time to include some physical activity to release some energy and get exercise.
Just because you are working from home, you should not stay in PJs or sweats all day. However, your outfit doesn’t have to be a formal corporate suit. A blouse or a shirt with a cardigan and casual pants will give you a better look while staying comfortable. Don’t forget to put on some makeup and do your hair.
Getting dressed not only makes you feel more in tune and puts you in a better mindset to work but also makes you more presentable for any video meetings you may have. It will also help change your posture and your body language conveying the message to anyone in the house that you are “at work”, acting as a deterrent to any unscheduled interruptions.
Identify a space where you can work in private
This may be a no-brainer for those used to work from home but, believe it or not, not everyone has a home office. Many may find themselves having to create a separate space for work.
The best area is one with good natural light. If not possible, find a good lamp that fits in your workspace. Get a desk and a chair where you will work for longer periods of time. Working from your bed will decrease your productivity and attention span, in addition to becoming uncomfortable after a while.
Ideally your space should be closed to others. If you don’t have a door, a curtain or a screen panel can be put up, providing you with a dedicated space. Test your internet connection and make sure you have enough office supplies.
Limit social media interactions
Remember to check your email and your work communications in the morning and one or two other times during the day but avoid going on social media during work hours. This is a particularly stressful time where people are engaging more frequently than normal and you can easily go into a rabbit hole wasting precious time.
Try to keep up and check in with your team during the day. Everyone will appreciate it If you get your work during your scheduled hours. If you can’t, letting your supervisor know that you checked in and are working at a different time, lets everyone know that you are still doing your part.
Keep your daily routines
If you exercise regularly, this is not the time to stop. You will be spending more time at home than you ever thought before. There will be temptations to slouch and eat at irregular times. Wake up earlier if necessary, to get your exercise routine. Plan healthy meals and cook in batches as much as you can. Believe me, it saves more time to cook enough meals for a few days that you freeze and then reheat than to try to figure out what you will eat every time.
There are many other things you can do to make this a successful and productive time but these can be discussed at a later time. In the meantime, I hope these help someone who is struggling to stay productive and organized while dealing with this new situation. Please comment what adjustments have you made recently to stay productive.