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In March 2020, more people than ever started working from home. It was an abrupt shift that neither organizations nor employees knew how to navigate. With no road map to prepare for the shift, no one knew the best ways to transition teams, processes, and company culture to an online-only environment.
Habits and routines had to change radically and quickly to make the work-from-home lifestyle a success. No matter your job, everyone working remotely had to determine where and when to work and how to create boundaries between their work and personal lives. Remember how important work-life balance is?
So, now that we are well into 2022 and the pandemic has transitioned into an endemic, many people are deciding whether to continue working from home or to return to the office. So, how do you stay sane (and organized) if you choose to work from home moving forward? Here are some tips.
One of the greatest benefits of remote work is flexibility. Setting clear guidelines for when to work, when to attend to personal tasks and when to call it a day. Setting a schedule and sticking to it is essential!
Setting a morning routine is not just deciding when to sit down at your desk and start working but also what practices you will adopt in setting the pattern for when work starts every day. For example, it may start with exercising, making a cup of coffee, or walking the dog that signals the kick-off to your workday.
The people living in your home must understand that your work time is your work time. Children in the house during your workday need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. Likewise, adults who share your space need to respect your need for quiet and understand that when you have online meetings, your workspace cannot be disturbed.
Everyone needs a break. That is why if you work in an office, there is usually a policy for break times. If you work from home, you need to walk away from the computer screen, take a break from the phone at least twice a day for 15 minutes. And take at least 30 additional minutes for lunch. It’s not only the law, but it will help you decompress and refocus your mind when you return to your desk!
If you are working remotely for a company that supports your choice, ask for the equipment you need to do your job correctly from home, including a computer, monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, and anything else you may need. Some companies may even supply you with a desk and an ergonomically suitable chair to ensure that you produce the desired results.
Not everyone has a spare room to set up an office space at home. If this is the case, you will have to share the space between your work and personal roles. So, reserve a desk or table space and some accessories you will use only for work. For example, when you connect your laptop to the monitor and external keyboard, it’s work time, but when you use it on your lap, it is your time.
If your employer doesn’t supply you with a work phone, set up a phone number exclusively used for calls with coworkers and clients. Rather than a landline or a second mobile phone, you could consider a VoIP service like Skype or Google Voice. Having a phone number allocated to your job will help you manage your work-life balance and keep you more organized.
When working from home, the most important thing is to figure out what works best for you. Then, if you need some assistance or inspiration from other people who work remotely, find an online community to interact with for support. You can find them through blogs, Twitter, or your organization’s Slack app. While you need a solid routine, it doesn’t hurt to shake it up occasionally. You may be surprised at how you well you get yourself organized and more productive than ever before!