10 Tips for working from home
Join Kuldip Gill, our Director of Sales in Western Canada, as he shares his top 10 work-from-home tips with us.
For about 13 years with several different organizations, I’ve been working from home and I thought I would share a few tips that have worked well for me and hopefully some of them will resonate with you.
You can watch the video or read the summary below. Enjoy!
Have a workstation; importance of getting into "work mode”
If you have a room in your house that you can transform into an office that would be ideal, but it can be as simple as having a specific spot on your dining room table. Somewhere where you always work from and switch into work mode.
Staying active and moving; naturally we do this in an office
Working in an office environment we tend to get up and stretch our legs often by working over to a colleague’s desk, a water cooler run or a lunchtime walk. At home it’s easy to get focused and lose track of time and the next thing you know you’ve been in front of your workstation for 5 hours straight. It’s important to set reminders to get up and move around. The days I am working on an important project and I know I will get super focused and lose track of the time I set 30 minute reminders on my watch to make sure I get up every 30 minutes and move around.
Active routine and doing something physical throughout the day; get outside.
For me this is key. I truly believe that the body and mind are so connected. If I don’t get my regular exercise my work suffers from it as I am not sharp mentally. Get out for a bike ride or a walk daily.
Don't feel guilty about taking breaks; more efficient if you disconnect for a bit.
This one I struggled with when I first started working for home. I felt guilty taking breaks or ducking out for an hour long hike every so often before I realized just how many hours I was working in a day. If you work from home, especially if you’re in sales you’ll understand there are no set hours. You are working on proposals late at night, responding to clients in different time zones early in the morning. It’s ok to get breaks during the day, take those mental health hours.
Drinking enough water; help stay hydrated and can help curb food cravings.
It’s so tempting to snack while you work. You get your head buried into your screen and it just becomes muscle memory to grab those pretzels or trail mix and snack during the day. I keep a gallon of water next to my desk and am constantly sipping water throughout the day. I find this curbs those snacky cravings but also makes sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Without those watercooler trips as excuses to chat with your friends in the office it’s easy to not drink enough water.
Time blocking (put it in the calendar for research, outreaches, follow ups etc)
Right now with everyone working from home it’s easy to get inundated with meeting requests. It can throw a monkey wrench into your workflow and rhythm. I make sure every week the same day and time I block out my calendar for weekly tasks, such as researching industry trends or consumer behavior, prospecting, client follow ups etc…
Set rules and boundaries for others in your home.
If you live with a partner or have kids in the house, it’s important that you set down rules for when you are working in order to limit the number of distractions throughout the day. For example, if the office door is closed, it means do not disturb, if I set up my workstation on the kitchen table I’m asking to be left alone for the next 3 hours or have a plan with your partner who’s tending to the kids of the dog during those hours.
Keep your morning routine and stay consistent; whether that’s 15 minutes or 2 hours.
Working from home is new to a lot of people right now and it’s easy to fall out of your regular routine. I would suggest still getting up the same time you would when you were to go into the office. Keep your routine as consistent as possible.
Connecting with co-workers and clients on a more social level; find a sense of community to combat that feeling of isolation.
With COVID19 forcing everyone to work from home I am finding I am getting to know my co-workers a lot better. I’m taking the time almost daily to jump on a video call with them and getting to know them on a more personal level. Always being a remote employee and being the only one out west it’s easy to just go about doing your own thing. Connect with people in your organization that you might not normally connect with or volunteer in your community to combat any of those feelings of isolation.
This last point is all the over points rolled into one. It’s easy to fall into a rut when you’re feeling isolated by working from home. It’s important to recognize when you are feeling anxious, alone or just unsettled. It’s ok to feel that with everything that’s going on right now. Allow yourself to feel that and try to avoid bad habits or bad coping mechanisms. Reach out to a friend, have a facetime conversation with someone you miss, do a workout in your living room to shake it off. The point is to keep doing mental health check ins with yourself and those you care about.
I hope this helps, as mentioned these are some things that work for me and they might not work for everyone, but I hope some of it was helpful.