work from home

Looking at a blank screen doesn’t count as work. Dog is not fooled.

20 years ago, I started running my own business from a home office. It was a steep learning curve to be focused and productive after spending 17 years in a corporate environment. Be productive remotely and set yourself up to have a smooth transition when you go back to working on-site.

Working from home tips

  1. Get up at the same time you always have. Keep your biological clock on your normal schedule so re-entry isn’t brutal. Whatever time you used to spend commuting, use that time to slow down your morning routine a bit. Take advantage of these found minutes. What have you wanted to do but never had even 20 extra minutes to do it? Well, now you do.
  2. Work your regular hours. A home office doesn’t mean you should think about work 24/7.  Set clear boundaries for yourself. Start and end the workday a close to normal as possible.
  3. Look how you want to sound. Shower and put on decent clothes. By decent I mean not spending all day in your pajamas, holey sweats or yard-work clothes. It’s hard to feel — or be — professional sitting in your robe and underwear with bed head.
  4. Ask: Is this what I should be doing? Household tasks vie for attention when you’re home all day. No more “out of sight out of mind.” Be mindful of getting distracted and drifting away from work. Use the same criteria you would if you were in your office. Would you make a doctor or car service appointment from your office? Then it’s probably OK to do that working from home. Would you clean out your kitchen junk drawer? Back to work, you.
  5. Look out for loneliness. After being around people all day, working from home has the potential to feel isolating. (Of course, not if your entire family is at home, too. But that’s a different blog post.) Reach out to co-workers with questions or thoughts you would have talked to them about in the office. Have a conversation about the best process for keeping in touch now that you can’t just poke your head in their office.
  6. Do you need silence or ambient noise? A busy office is ambient noise so the dead silence of  a house can be disconcerting. Vice versa when you’re used to silence and now you have a houseful of people all day. Create the ‘sound environment’ you need to do your best work.
  7. Get some fresh air.  Get outside for 10 minutes. Give your brain a break. Leave your phone on the desk and clear your head during a walk around the block.

Get quick tips each week. The Minute Shift takes 60 seconds or under to read and smart people tell me it’s time well spent.