Tens of millions of people will find themselves in the unfamiliar situation of working from home because of coronavirus.
I learned the hard way that working from home is not as easy or as pleasant as it first sounds. However, I have learned many tricks for making work from home comfortable and effective in over 10 years of freelance writing.
To help all the people working from home for the first time. I’ll share a few of my best work from home hints below.
My Top Work from Hints Include:
1. Create a workstation.
When I first started working at home, I realized what I missed most was the two big screens I had on my work computer. I could get work done faster and better with two screens.
Therefore, I ordered a dual monitor computer and dual monitors from Dell. Currently, you order two dual monitor computers from Amazon for a few hundred dollars. If you cannot afford dual screens or other tools you use at work ask your boss if the company will pay for them.
Thus, creating a work station similar to the one you have at the office can help you work from home.
2. If possible create a home office
Many home workers fail because they try working from the couch or the kitchen table.
These people fail because the living room and the kitchen are full of distractions. For example, the TV set, your video games, that pile of dirty laundry, and books.
The best way to avoid distractions is to set up a home office. Even if it is just a corner of your bedroom. Having a home office away from distractions can make you more effective.
3. Stand While You Work
We all know that sitting all day can be both bad for us and uncomfortable. Thus finding a way to stand while you work is a smart move.
To stand you could sit your laptop on a high surface, such as a kitchen counter or a dresser. Another suggestion is to buy or build a standing computer desk in a corner.
If you are used to standing while you work will need a standing computer desk of some sort.
4. Be careful about chairs
Strangely, the thing many people miss most about the office is their ergonomic chair.
If you plan to sit all day take a close look at the chairs and couches in your home. Kitchen chairs are alright for eating a meal, but sitting at one for prolonged periods of time could lead to a backache.
Hence, you need to create a standing workstation, order an ergonomic chair, or find something real comfortable to sit on. Two suggestions are to work from the couch or an armchair. These methods may not be dignified but they can save your back.
5. Take breaks
Bizarrely overwork is one of the biggest threats when you work alone.
If your work is interesting you could get caught up in it and not take a break. Additionally, you could end up skipping meals and getting no exercise.
Thus you need to take breaks. In particular, take breaks for exercise. A good idea is to take a fifteen minute break every two hours to do chores or exercise.
6. Have a schedule
Many home workers find themselves putting in 10 or 12 hour shifts and having no fun without realizing it. Some people end up working instead of sleeping.
You can avoid this pitfall, by having a schedule. For example, I start work at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. and have a hard quitting time of 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. A great rule I have is the computer shuts down at 5 p.m. and stays off until 8 a.m. the next morning. That gives me plenty of time for sleep and rest and relaxation.
If somebody needs something I will be available to help them the next day.
7. Be careful with email, phones and social media
Some of the worst distractions are built right into your computer. Email, for example can be a real pain because many people will spend all their time answering it.
One suggestion is to have a set time of day to answer email, social media, and the phone. Tell people you check your messages at a certain time. A smart move is to schedule three or four hours of work in the morning and before checking your messages.
That way you can have everything done before the email with the crisis of the day distracts you.
8. Don’t eat at your work station
One great advantage to working from home is that you do not need to eat at your workstation. Instead, you can eat at the table like a civilized human being.
Instead of grabbing a sandwich, take a real meal break in the kitchen and consider making something you could not have a work. A bowl of hot soup, a TV dinner, a steak, or some pasta for example.
Not eating at your workstation means you can concentrate on your work. More importantly, you will be able to enjoy your meals.
9. Get out and move around
Make sure that you get out of the house and spend time outside each day if possible.
Take an hour off in the middle of the day to walk the dog, jog, or go shopping for example. If you need to buy something, consider walking or bicycling to the store.
Being cooped up inside with no sun, fresh air, or human contact is one of the greatest dangers of work from home. Fortunately, you can avoid that danger by walking out the door.
10. Keep in contact with friends, family, clients, and coworkers
It is easy to lose contact with important people when you work at home. Without the office, it is easy to become so wrapped in your work you forget about the people.
Hence, schedule time for face to face or phone communication with family, friends, coworkers, and clients each. You could schedule a daily Skype session with your boss or coworkers, for instance.
Moreover, it is a good idea to schedule some daily communication with people who are not your family. If you have kids at home, talking to another adult regularly is vital.
Even if it is just a five-minute phone call to your mother or your brother. Or a bull session with your buddies. Human contact is vital because it keeps you sane in these dark times.
Yes working from home can be fun. However, work from home can be just as dull, tedious, and emotionally draining as working at the office. Therefore, the real trick for home workers is keeping their sanity away from the office.
Originally published at https://marketmadhouse.com on March 30, 2020.