In an unprecedented turn of events, you’re working from home. Your coworkers range from furry felines, to rambunctious kids, and equally unsure-how-to-make-this-work adults. Your normal routine is out the window, you’ have deadlines to meet, and the kids need to complete their schoolwork. It’s a lot.
The good news is while this might be new for you, remote workers are offering their experiences on how to make it work.
Understand Your Expectations
As an employee working from home, you need to make sure you understand your employer’s expectations. If you’re unsure, ask questions. If you have concerns, express them. Remote working isn’t for the uncommunicative. It’ll be a frustrating experience if you can’t get on the same page.
The same goes with your family.
If you have children at home, it’s important to discuss expectations for the day. Just like you, they’re not used to being home all the time and the scramble to homeschool unexpectedly. Setting a schedule together, a process for how to handle you being busy and break times will help eliminate stress.
Work Along Your Natural Rhythms
We all have regular routines. When working from home, it can be incredibly easy to become unproductive. You need to treat the day like a day to get things done. So, get up at a normal time, do your morning work-out, and get dressed for the day! Maintaining this consistency will help you greatly in keeping a clear head and being motivated to get things done.
If you have a routine at the office, do the same routine at home too. Your body and mind are used to its routine. The positive here is that remote workers are known for being able to get work done faster by working smarter.
Keeping your same routine will help you stay focused, but don’t be surprised if you’re done much earlier than you expected.
Take Advantage of Your Productivity Time
We all have a time in the day where we just hit our stride. Our brain is firing out creative solutions, our motivation is high, and we can just get it done! Some are early birds, others hit this time later in the day, and for others, it might be after dinner.
Taking advantage of this while working from home is one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll see. This is especially true for when the whole family is home!
A respondent on a remote marketing team with two kids at home said, “If you’re a morning person, take advantage of it. Get up early and get the work that needs to be distraction-free done before any kids are even up!”
The longer you work from home, you’ll get to know your work ethic more deeply. The more you do, the more you’ll learn to take advantage of the flexibility remote working offers. There’s nothing wrong with adjusting your workday to maximize your productivity.
Just make sure you’re available for communication during the hours set by your employer!
Set Up a Workplace
Set up or designate a workplace in your home. For some, this might look like having an actual office with a door to close. For others, you might set up a mini-“office” in your kitchen with a workplace for each member of the family, aka. your new coworkers.
If you have younger elementary age kids at home, encourage them to help *design* what the office will be like. They can make motivational posters, choose their work spot, make nameplates, set up a water-cooler, etc.
This makes the scenario a little more playful. Which can help take some of the tension off of having to do schoolwork at home and not having your complete attention.
Whatever it looks like in your home, it’s helpful to have a clear work area and to designate a quiet room. This is especially important for when you have to take calls or join a video conference.
A couple who both work full time that is now working from home with their young kids take shifts. One works in the morning, then the other in the afternoon. When one is working, the other is giving their attention to the kids.
Taking turns at getting uninterrupted work hours can do wonders when you have two adults adjusting to working from home at the same time. Plus, it eases stress as the kids will get the attention, they need without worrying about when you’ll get work done.
This won’t be an option in many households, but if you can, you might want to take advantage of it.
“When you’re done for the day, be done. It’s too easy to get sucked back in and not be present for your family.”
This advice comes from a woman who normally works from home and now has her four kids and husband home while quarantined in California. When it comes to working from home with everyone home, this is probably one of the best tips for success. Compartmentalizing your time allows you to set specific hours to be all in with work and specific hours to be all in with your kids.
If you have worked from home before, you know how easy it can be to never really stop working. Setting these boundaries will help you prevent burn out. Plus, in times like these being present for each other is vital. The anxiety is real. Your kids, spouse, partner, furry pets, and YOURSELF need you to know when to call it a day on work.
Enjoy the Option
Working from home has its challenges, but it’s kind of wonderful that it’s an option. It’s not an option everyone will have. Remote working has been trending long before times of crisis. Thus, we already have so many tools and services online, making remote working more than possible but reasonable.
Having the whole family home comes with its own challenges, but not anything that can’t be figured out!