8 Tips For Working From Home for the First Time

For those of us who still have jobs, this new normal requires many of us to work from home for the very first time.

Which is something to be grateful for. Not needing to risk our health, being free to exercise our civic duty to slow the spread, all while getting a paycheck….is a wonderful thing.

It’s still an adjustment. Under different circumstances, I only work from home a few times per year. I recently questioned if I’d be happier doing my job from home full-time…..but never did I think I’d be forced to because of a global pandemic. Talk about the curveball of 2020.

But I’ll get by, and so will you! Here are some things I’ve found helpful in making the switch.

1. If you can, invest in a monitor.

It’s neither pleasant nor healthy to hunch over a laptop 8 hours a day. If your org is willing to foot the bill, consider ordering a computer monitor that you can place on a table or desk. You’ll be grateful to make yourself comfortable during this already stressful time.

Tip: If buying a new monitor isn’t in the cards for you or your org, you may be able to use your TV – so long as there’s an HDMI, DVI or VGA input that can be connected to your computer (or an adapter). More on how to do this here.

2. Get a mouse.

This is a similar issue of comfort. Your trackpad may be okay right now, but having the option to use a mouse could drastically alter your work day (depending on the task).

3. Spend a few days organizing your home.

Back when we all left the house, it was easier to let slide the occasional dish in the sink or dust bunny under the couch. However, now that we’re home all day, those little messes can drive us crazy. In fact, clutter is known to be directly linked to stress and anxiety…two things we simply don’t need any more of right now!

For parents, I’m sure this is tougher. While I’m not the expert, I thought this post had some pretty creative ideas for getting the kiddos involved!

4. Designate a spot for work. But be flexible.

If you don’t have a home office, you’ll need to finagle a work space that is “separate” from the rest of your home. That might be the kitchen table, a bar counter, a nightstand with a chair, or even a vanity. This helps reinforce the mentality (and perception with family members) that being in this space means you’re in work mode.

Still, no one should sit in the same spot for hours when they don’t have to. Incorporate some flexibility by having one “work” area, that can be easily transferred to the couch or a comfy chair for the last hour of your day.

5. Take whatever work you can do offline, offline.

I’ve always found it helpful to do my brainstorming work on a notepad. If there are pieces of your job that can be done without sitting in front of a computer screen, go for it! All that screen time will get old (if it hasn’t already) and you’ll appreciate the chance to give your eyes a break. Plus, some of our most creative work happens when we use a pen and paper.

6. Drink plenty of water.

We all need to keep healthy right now, and staying properly hydrated is part of that responsibility. (At first, I found I was forgetting to do this. Hence the reminder.)

7. Replicate the enjoyable parts of your workday at home.

My office morning ritual consists of brewing a cup of decaf one hour into the workday.

When routines get upended, it can throw us off balance. Identify those small rituals in your day that give you a sense of calm or enjoyment, and do your best to replicate that at home. Whether it’s a regularly scheduled lunch break, a cup of tea in the afternoons, or even listening to a podcast!

While people raced out to grab toilet paper, I made sure to stock up on decaf.

8. Take physical breaks throughout the day.

Being home more means we’re moving less. That’s not great for our well being or energy.

Stand up, stretch, take a walk (around your home!), and make sure you get moving! One thing I’ve found helpful is scheduling 10-minute blocks of YouTube exercise, which I’ll often do via video call with my mom and aunt! It gets us moving and gets us talking, which is important during this time of social distancing.

p.s. If you’re currently not working or are seeking a remote job, here are some tips for how to get started.

What are your work-from-home tips?

Share your thoughts!