How to Work from Home
For many people, the current world situation is the first time they’ve been faced with the necessity of working from home. Whether you’ve wanted to be able to do this for a while but your company wouldn’t let you or you never wanted to in the first place, the new reality will take some getting used to.
As a travel blogger who’s been working from a laptop wherever I happen to be in the world, I can help! Here’s a guide on how to get started, how to maintain a routine from home, how to separate your work from your homelife and how to get the most out of working from home.
So you’re facing the new reality of having to work from home but don’t know where to start. The first thing to do is find a place in your home where you can set up what you need for your work. Things like good light, a comfortable chair and a desk at the correct height (if this cannot be achieved directly maybe you need to improvise by putting shoeboxes on a surface to lift your computer, notebook or other work device up to the right level for your body) are good things to start with.
Luckily, since you’re setting up your home office in one place, you can hopefully leave it as it is once you get it right; since I travel the world and work as a blogger and freelance writer, I have to set up a new spot every time I move!
Once you have set up a designated spot where you can work, you may need to tackle dealing with new technology or interfaces that you’re not used to. Give yourself time and some slack when learning to deal with these things; it’s okay if you don’t get everything right at the beginning, especially in these exceptional circumstances! Start by being kind to yourself and the rest will follow.
Figuring Out Your Routine
At first, you may feel that you have to replicate the routine you had at your workplace exactly at home. However, there are many reasons this might not work for you. You likely now have additional, or simply different, distractions: your roommates or family around you while working, chores beckoning for your attention and acting as potential procrastination techniques or new technology to deal with.
For those reasons (and more), it’s unrealistic to imagine that your routine working from home can be identical to how it was at your office. I constantly have to make allowances for variation in routine as I travel, depending on where I am, the time zone I’m in and so on.
Many people find that when working from home, having specific clothes to do so helps get them in the mindframe of being productive and focused on their work. This may not work for you, however; you may be able to work perfectly fine in your PJs. As a general rule, you should be wary of all-encompassing advice that prescribes how working from home should and should not be done.
That being said, allow yourself to find a rhythm that genuinely works for you. It may be the case that going out for a walk or run, doing yoga, meditating or doing an at-home workout in the morning before starting work helps to get your head in gear to transition from being at home to being at work - even if you never did that before when going to your workplace.
In short, give yourself time and space to find a routine. You won’t be effective in your work if you simply try to force yourself into action each day: again, be kind and gentle with yourself.
Separating Work Life from Home Life
Given that you’ll be working and living in the same house, apartment or even room for the foreseeable future, having a healthy work/life balance is more important now than ever. Start by trying your best to stick to your work start and end times, taking a lunch break away from your work spot and conducting your work on a specific device while keeping another for personal use, if you have that option. Eventually, as you develop a functional routine, these things should fall into place.
If you are struggling to separate your work from your home life, make an effort to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances who are also starting to work from home - but perhaps have completely different jobs - and share your progress and struggles with each other. A fresh perspective can often help to shed light on what is and is not working for you, as well as present possible solutions. Maybe even getting in touch with your favourite blogger is a great idea right now; they may have some handy tips that you hadn’t thought of!