10 Things to Do If You’re Working From Home

by Christine McGuire

March 17, 2020CultureBlogEngagement

At Talent Plus, several of our colleagues currently work from home or away from one of our physical offices. We asked them what strategies they have to stay motivated and productive throughout the day. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Set your alarm and take a shower, just as if you were going into the office.

2. Have a designated workspace, preferably not the kitchen table – too many distractions.

3. If you have roommates or family members in the house with you, come up with some sort of a signal as to when you are busy and cannot be interrupted.

4. Define a stopping time at the end of the day and transition to “family” or home tasks.

5. Limit distractions by trying out techniques such as the Pomodoro method:

  • Break work down into time intervals (maybe 25 minutes) where you focus on a task.
  • Take a quick, three-minute break at the end of the 25 minutes and start another cycle.
  • At the end of four cycles, take a longer break (20-30 minutes) before diving back in.

6. Create structure. In a traditional office setting, an employee experiences a natural transition to and from work and home life that can be difficult to attain in a remote environment. Remote employees are presented with the dual challenge of minimizing distraction during planned work time and avoiding the temptation to constantly “be on” even during non-work hours. The following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Set and maintain regular working hours just as you would if working in a traditional office environment. Honor your planned start and finish times.
  • To keep yourself sharp, take regular breaks – but avoid tackling personal tasks that create distraction or make it difficult to transition back to work.
  • When commute time is lost, the end-of-the-day transition can feel a bit abrupt.
  • Give yourself a few minutes of transition time at the end of the workday to reflect on the day and plan for the next.

7. Prioritize relationships. Remote workers must be more intentional about creating opportunities for regular interpersonal interaction with friends and colleagues. Try these methods:

  • Schedule one on ones with new employees that join the organization with the intent of establishing a good relationship.
  • Rather than sending an email, consider picking up the phone for a conversation or, better yet, use videoconferencing that allows for face-to-face connection at a distance.
  • Look for opportunities to partner and collaborate with peers.

8. Stock up on healthy snacks such as fruit; it is very easy to eat junk when you work from home.

9. Schedule time to get out of the house, take a quick walk, anything. Being in one location 24/7 can be grueling.

10. Create a “buddy system” with other colleagues so you won’t feel isolated and alone. Try scheduling virtual coffee and lunch breaks!
Maintaining strong relationships is essential for the effective operation of a team. Relationships are needed in order to support one another, provide empathy in times of need and celebrate each other’s successes. If you do not constantly stay connected through relationships with people in the office, you will likely not be as engaged or connected to the organization.

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Christine McGuire

Christine is the Director of Consulting at Talent Plus where she delivers excellence in the areas of leadership, coaching, selection and talent development. In addition, she is a corporate facilitator who provides teams and individuals with increased skills to raise productivity.

“I use my talents to teach, helping clients and colleagues grow into their potential, always challenging them to believe they can reach new levels of skills and knowledge.”

Talents: Ego Drive, Persuasion, Response to Negativity, Executive Skill, Focus