Working from home – tips and advice please

posted 8 months ago in Career
Post # 2
Member
3035 posts
Sugar bee

I find that forcing myself to follow a routine is key.  (I work from home or remotely while traveling fairly often.)  

For example.. just because you’re at home, don’t let yourself get distracted by things like doing laundry or housework… at least not until you’ve settled into a routine where taking 5 minutes to throw a load of clothes in the washer won’t distract you.

Make your office space comfortable but clearly work-space.  Try to not use that space for other things, if possible.  If it’s feasible to have seperate work and personal phones, I highly recommend it!

If you do any video calls, I find it’s also helpful to experiment with lighting and whatever is directly behind you, to make sure your face is well-illuminated and there’s nothing distracting behind you. It might sound silly, but it can really make a difference in how people perceive your level of professionalism. 

Make sure you communicate with friend/family that you are working. My stepmom doesn’t really understand the concept of working from home and thinks I’ve taken a personal day and likes to try and call me/text me often.

Make sure you take breaks just as you would if you were in the office. Physically leave your office space for breaks and lunch.  You want to do all you can to treat your office space like a work zone. 

On my work-from-home days, I often am wearing something like yoga pants on bottom for comfort, but I’ll wear something more polished on top as I have frequent meetings and calls via video.  I really like things like the sweater-knit blazers.  Super comfy but they look really nice and professional  on camera.

I also find I feel much less self-conscious on video calls when I have makeup on and I am nearly groomed – especially when I know my face is going to be on a giant screen for anyone in the office! 

Post # 3
Member
1137 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - City, State

Following!!!! Give us all the tips, ladies! 

Post # 4
Member
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

I’ve WFH full time for 2.5 years, and before that would go into an office about three days a week and WFH two days a week. Tips I’ve learned along the way:

1. Get up a couple of hours before work begins and take a proper shower, workout if that’s your usual time, etc. Have a “work from home uniform”. Mine is leggings and a comfy but put together top. Something I’d feel comfortable heading to the store in. Having a rotation of go-to tops will make your morning routine go by more quickly. 

2. Don’t feel guilty if you finish your work quickly. One of the major benefits of WFH is that you work more efficiently without the distractions of an office. Figure out if your employer wants you to be “butt in seat” 9-5, or if they don’t care if you take an afternoon yoga class. If it’s the latter, don’t be afraid to take advantage of that flexibility. I always do housework during traditional working hours, and it’s totally fine.

3. Sometimes I just need a change of scenery and head to a coffee shop for a few hours to get work done. Don’t be afraid to do that or even go to a differen room in your house if your office feels stiffling. 

Post # 5
Member
11297 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

View original reply
glitterandshine :  

Get the most comfortable chair you can possibly afford.  

Post # 6
Member
1287 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019 - Turkey

I’ve been working from home when I’m working on translation projects and I find it so much harder than any other job. It’s draining to my soul when I have very limited human interaction. My suggestion is if you do find yourself really becoming uneasy with the situation, don’t hesitate to go back to a regular work environment and don’t forget to go out.

 

Post # 7
Member
3035 posts
Sugar bee

I second the recommendation for the best chair you can get. 

Wearing shoes helps me feel more put together (and it’s also a good way to start breaking in shoes!) when I work from home.  

It’s also nice to get out of the house for a bit, even if it’s grabbing a cappucino or a quick lunch out, for some in-person intereaction.  

Also on my work-from-home days, I have to be conscious about making myself go for a walk or do some time on the treadmill, otherwise, it’s easy to be too sedentary. 

If it would make you happy, do some things to make your home office space pretty or otherwise a pleasant environment.  Mine has this really cute vintage desk that is painted an aqua color, and it makes my workday a little bit more pleasant.  I also have a nicely framed print hanging on the wall and some pretty desk accessories.  

You know the little things you’d keep in your desk drawer at work, like lip balm and a small first aid kit and breath mints and advil, etc?  Keep them in your home office, too.  If you have to leave the room every time you need some chapstick or a piece of gum or an antacid, it’s so easy to get distracted, and what could have been a 30 second trip to the bathroom to get a Tums becomes a 15 minutes distraction where you wind up deciding to throw the bath towels in the washing machine and unload the dishwasher and walk around the house and pet the cat…  (this has happened to me…)

Oh god.. I almost forgot this.  If you’ll ever be on video calls, be mindful that you’re not drinking out of a coffee cup that has a rude or crude design or quote printed on it.  That happened to someone I work with, last year.  He grabbed a silly coffee mug someone had given him as a gag and didn’t think about the fact that not only would the F-word be visible on-screen but that it would also be rather large, due to the fact he was on an enormous wall-mounted screen in the conference room.  

Post # 8
Member
2303 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

View original reply
glitterandshine :  I find it’s helpful to treat working from home as something as close to going to the office as possible. 

Like PP said, schedule yourself to do all the things you would “normally” do before leaving for work; get up at the same time every morning, shower, dress, have breakfast etc. All before you head into your dedicated work space. Once you cross that threshold, try to imagine you’ve arrived at work where you could encounter co-workers at any time. 

Be sure you also take breaks when you should. I find it’s really easy to get sucked into a project and forget to walk away for a few minutes on any kind of regular interval. If you find it difficult to remember, add it to your calendar so it pops up as a reminder to disengage. 

Also, stop when the day is over. When I first started working at home, I would tend to just linger after my formal day was over if there was something I hadn’t quite finished. I never did that in the office, because my commute was worse the later I stayed; but it’s important to have a clear boundary between work and personal time. Don’t sacrifice on off hours, just because you don’t have to consider travel time anymore. 

It did take a few months to adjust, but I am much more focused, creative, and happy working at home. It’s an introvert’s dream, really. It’s not for everyone, but don’t get too discouraged if it still feels strange for a while; it’s a big adjustment.

And I did not follow the comfy chair advice and deeply regret it, so I’ll echo that sentiment!

Post # 11
Member
11297 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

View original reply
glitterandshine :  

So feeling you on the footrest!  If my knees aren’t as least as high as my hips, I am miserable.  I have been using an old plastic storage bin for years and of course, it flops around.  You have given me a scathingly brilliant idea, Bee.

I finally did get my dream desk three years ago when I was picking out furniture for the new house.  The big concern was getting it upstairs.  There is one very sharp turn.  The delivery guys measured it and were confident they could do it.  I could not bear to watch.

My fear was that one of them would be killed by an errant desk.  They did have to do some maneuvering, but, dang if they didn’t get it up there.  If I ever sell, the desk will have to be included.

There were a few scratches, but, everyone was alive.  I gave them cookies and $20 each.  

The chair was a very recent acquisition once it dawned on me thatvI’d been using a 15 year old $99 Staples piece of crap.

Where did you get your chair, Bee?

Post # 12
Member
11297 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

View original reply
misslucy :  

I do this, too!  My home office desk has a lot of supplies, including lipstick and a hand mirror.  There’s ibuprofen, of course, Excedrin Extra Strength for migraines, antacids, and treats. I keep Luna bars and cheese/crackers snacks.  Also, because I am an herbal tea drinker, I bought a bamboo thermos to replace the warmer I used to use.

Totally agree about setting yourself up so you don’t have to keep getting up to get things. I have a nice WAH set up.  My office is actually the media room, so it’s big, the largest room on the floor.  And one complaint I don’t have about my house is bathrooms.  There are plenty.  And luckily, one that is literally, five steps from my office.

I just had my office painted.  It’s actually a deep grey with bright white trim. I think it’s important to make your office as nice as you can and as organized.  

Most importantly, I have my faithful assistant.  

Post # 13
Member
2062 posts
Buzzing bee

Try to get outside for a little stint each morning to let your body feel a clean break from waking to work day.  Also, it helps keep your diurnal rhythms securely ingrained.  That suffer when you’re indoors, in the same space, for working and living.  I used to spend a little time in my garden morning and afternoon, even on brisk/chilly days.  It always have me such a boost to my mood, motivation, and energy levels.  With my new neck injury, gardening causes me pain.  I really miss it.  And I’ve been skipping my time outdoors.  Not good for me.  I’m glad spring is here.😊

Post # 14
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2020

I’ve worked from home for 10+ years. My work is deadline oriented but I am not obligated to be available during normal business hours. That said,

  • I don’t set an alarm. I’ve found I’m more productive after a good night’s sleep. 
  • I make myself work in no less than 4 hour chunks. If someone comes home to interact with me, I allow myself to do so but commit to work again that same evening — even if it’s after my family has fallen asleep or they’re watching a tv show I have no interest in
  • I agree with the PP who said, I put on shoes. Even though I’m likely wearing leggings/sweats, adding shoes somehow makes me feel like I’m ready to get rolling 
  • When I receive a personal call, I talk on speakerphone so my hands are free to continue on the computer 
  • I try limit myself to one daytime, personal outing per week (whether it’s lunch with a friend or running errands) because treating myself more frequently means I have to work too many evening hours 
  • I put music or the television on in a room other than my office — I like having the background noise but it keeps my from getting sucked into a show 
Post # 15
Member
322 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

I set myself challenges and then rewards. For example, I must finish a certain task and then I can eat lunch. I also make sure by about 6:00 – 6:30 I’m done, so I can go for a run or watch the sunset or something. I do the more challenging things in the morning and save the admin for the afternoon and put Netflix on in the background for the boring stuff.

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