In light of current events, much of the nation is now self-quarantining and social distancing. This means that many people are now finding themselves in a new position: working from home. We realize this can be uncharted waters for some, but our team are pros at this! We got together and compiled our best tips to help you adjust to and be productive while you work from home!
Work from Home Tips from Ashley
1. Try to designate a separate place that you can use as a temporary office (if you don’t already have one). By creating this, you are able to have a dedicated working environment where once you enter you are in work mode and then you are able to leave it behind when your work is done.
2. Get dressed for work in the morning. Don’t sit around in your pajamas all day! While it’s tempting to do so, there have been many scientific studies that say how you dress affects your productivity. This doesn’t mean you need to get dolled up or dressed in a suit, but this simple act of getting dressed for work can help kick your brain in gear for a productive work day.
3. Eliminate distractions as best you can. We know how tempting it can be to do all. the. things. (read: laundry, dishes, or catching up on your fave Netflix show, etc) while you’re working from home. Sometimes it just takes some willpower to not give in! If you absolutely need to do those things, complete them while you’re taking a break (i.e. throw a load of laundry in while you’re eating lunch).
4. Make sure to take breaks and stretch or go for a short walk to avoid burnout. Just like you would take a break to chat at the watercooler or grab lunch while at the office, it’s important to continue these breaks while working from home, too.
Work from Home Tips from Alyssa
1. Set working hours. This goes along with Ashley’s burnout tip! It can be tempting to split up your day with home/family tasks and work and is easy to say “I’ll jump back in and complete that after dinner.” DON’T DO IT. You may feel like the flexibility of working from home means that you need to be on all the time – you don’t. Don’t feel chained to your work even though you’re not “leaving” the office. Set standard working/office hours for yourself and dedicate that to work. If someone emails outside of that (unless it’s a true emergency), it can wait til you’re in office hours.
2. Batch your work. This can be done in a variety of ways. You can batch your days by tasks (i.e. emails from 8am – 9am, calls from 9am – 10am, and so on) or you can batch based on your clients/customers. Personally, I like to batch by clients. So, I’ll work in time blocks on each specific client. I also try to limit client communication to their work block too!
3. Take an unplugged lunch break. Again, this is similar to Ashley’s tip on burnout – but with the evolving situation of COVID-19, it can be tempting to constantly be checking the news on our TVs or phones. I encourage you to take the half hour or hour for lunch to be present and fully engage with eating, read a book, or take a walk. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and energized!
4. Take advantage of WFH tools. There are SO many tools that are available to people today for working remotely! Whether it’s to keep yourself or your entire team on track, there’s a tool for everything from CRM to project management and more. Some of our favorite tools are:
- Asana for project management. Whether it’s internal projects or client projects, everything is housed here month-by-month in chronological order. I truly don’t know what we would do without this system!
- Dubsado for client relations. From sending proposals to contracts to monthly reports and all the communication in between, Dubsado is a wonderful system that keeps us and our clients straight!
- Google docs
- Whereby/Zoom/Google Hangouts for video conferencing: These all have limited free versions (typically based on the number of people, amount of time that you need, or location).
5. Set an auto-responder on emails. It’s a bizarre time for everyone and we could all use a little bit more grace and kindness. Consider setting an auto-responder on your email. Let people know that you’re working remotely and will respond to them at your earliest convenience. This helps set the tone of communications with you during this time and should help ease any frustrations that may come from a delayed response.
Working from Home Tips (with a Little One!) from Shannon
As a mom of a five-year-old who is used to that child being in school from 9am – 4pm Monday through Friday, this whole “I’m a homeschooler now” is a little much for me! My tips are a little different, because I’m in a different stage of life, but I hope these can be helpful for you!
1. If you aren’t already, make sure you’re using a project management tool, but don’t just use the one that sounds good – make sure you choose one that you’ll be able to actually understand and work for how you retain information. (i.e. if you’re a list person, use Asana or Click-Up, if you’re a visual person use Monday.com)
2. Schedules are great, but if you’re like me and brand new to this WAHM life, they can be a little overwhelming (okay, full disclosure – I’m kind of allergic to schedules, I like to keep mine open 😉). I will say that I did create a schedule for this, because at 5 my son can pretty much play independently, but I have to remind myself that I don’t want him to remember his childhood as mom just sitting at a computer all day. You can get my super basic schedule HERE. I also created a time blocking schedule for my strategy session clients, and it has proven to be super helpful if you are a scheduler and really need to time block your days. You can get that HERE.
3. Get dressed + do your hair/put some make-up on, paint your nails. Do something to make yourself feel as productive as possible. Some days (like today) I can be productive in sweatpants, but if I spend too many days in a row in lounge wear with my hair on top of my head and no makeup on, I can start to get really unproductive which isn’t helpful for anyone!
4. Move your body – ALL of you. Getting fresh air, getting active, sweating, all of these things will help your mental health. Sitting all day isn’t good for anyone. If you’re feeling like you’re close to a breakdown, just go outside and listen to the birds! (P.S. Peloton is offering their digital subscription free for 90 days for new members!)
5. Have separate spaces. You might not be working as many hours as you’re used to, but that doesn’t mean you should give in to the temptation to work from the couch, your bed, or your child’s playroom. Work from your desk (or your kitchen table if that’s all you have) and then turn it off when it’s time to be present for your family. If you can, work outside but make sure it’s feasible for you to focus on the job at hand.
WFHM Encouragement: As a mom, working from home just looks way different. If you have little ones, you have to be very firm during work hours, or maybe you’re going to need to be super flexible when it comes to screen time.
My son LOVES crafts, so we purchased paints and a full set of craft supplies from our local craft store and he couldn’t be happier. Here’s a great one that’s similar from Amazon!
Remember: your kids will learn something, even if it’s not bookwork. They’re learning how to be creative problem solvers; isn’t that what we want them to ultimately become?
In the end. . . Be flexible. Kids are NOT a one size fits all. Your schedule will probably fail. If you own your own business and people depend on you, tell them now that your schedule is up in the air, and that you appreciate them understanding. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself!
The Best Tip? Remember to breathe.
Remember, this is just for a season and the crazy won’t last forever. Don’t forget to let loose and remember who the most important people in the room are. Your job will never mean more than your family, and if you can learn anything from this experience – learn to love being with them.
Do you have any tried and true tips for working from home? Maybe some encouragement to share during this time? Let us know below!