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Tips for Working from Home

TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME

Get your space in order.  Find or create a designated workspace.  Identify any outstanding ergonomic or technology needs and share these with your supervisor/manager. Having a defined workspace that is physically separate from the leisure space in your home can help set emotional boundaries between work when it’s time to end your workday.

Organize your day.  Create structure in your day by scheduling your tasks based on projects and assignments.  This helps prevent distractions and keeps you focused when you suddenly get the urge to reorganize your closet.  It will also help you keep track of everything you have been working on when you need to report out to your supervisor/manager.  Don’t forget to block out time for breaks, lunch, and exercise.

Set a routine.  Or perhaps, continue your routine as if you are physically going into work.  Get dressed in the morning and comb your hair.  While it may initially seem attractive to work in your pajamas, you may find it difficult to truly “shut down” at night with the scent of work on your sleepwear.

Communicate.  Stay in close contact with your supervisor/manager.  If you are unclear about what you should be working on or prioritizing, or if you do not have enough work to do, make that known.  Be sure to understand the communication format preferred by your supervisor/manager and between colleagues. Find out whether your team has any preferred virtual collaboration tools.  Find out whether your supervisor/manager or colleagues have preferred times for when you can reach each other, or schedule appointments.  Understand how work progress should be shared.  Clarity is key.  If something is not clear to you, do not hesitate to find the answers.

Avoid distractions.  Easier said than done.  Keep the television off while working and avoid any distracting music.  Assess whether certain things tend to distract you more than others and adjust your workspace if necessary.  If you need to run errands, schedule them as part of your day during a break or lunchtime. 

  • If you have children: Consider maintaining a routine with a childcare provider, family member, spouse, or other caregiver so that you have the space and time you need to complete your work. Communicate to your children (those who are of the age to understand) that you are working and which hours you are not available, despite being at home.  Set boundaries and/or divide up tasks or schedule out those that are necessary.  When it’s time to shut down for work, truly shut it down.
  • If multiple people are working remotely in the same area: Do your best to find physical separation for multiple workspaces. Communicate the hours when you are not available or consider putting up an “in office” or “do not disturb” sign while you are working.
  • If you have a pet (or multiple): Maintain a regular routine, such as walking and/or feeding your pet in the morning prior to work and in the afternoon.  

Be kind to yourself.  Working remotely is not as easy as it sounds.  Understand that there will be distractions and know that “life happens.” Reach out to your supervisor/manager if you need any additional support.