Work from Home: Strategies to Stay on Top of Your Game
While Work From Home (WFH) can be thrilling and exciting for some, it can be a nightmare for others. For people not familiar with WFH, let’s just say it can get stressful very fast. It can feel isolated or unstructured. Due to changing circumstances, more and more people move their work to their home office. This can take place either in their kitchen, living room, home office, or guest bedroom. If you’re lucky you have an assigned space in your house where you can do your work. But there are also scenarios where you have to share your space with a spouse, partner, or even kids. This is when things get a bit more complicated and challenging. How can you balance the personal and professional life within the same space? Whether you’re new to WFH or a veteran at WFH, consider the following strategies to stay on top of your game.
1. Communication is key when you work from home.
One cannot stress enough how essential communication is during these times. Professionals transitioning work styles combined with uncertainty can take a toll on businesses. Make communication a priority. Schedule check-ins in the morning and at the end of the day with your manager and team. Check-ins can be as long as 15 minutes to set goals and expectations for the day or week. Planning is key to a successful work from home routine.
2. Give yourself time.
Did you turn on the TV while drinking your coffee and before starting working? Chances are that you will be still watching TV by the time you open up your computer and start checking-in. That’s ok! When you work from home, you need to allow yourself time to adjust with the new work style. During the first few days it’s normal that you want to play YouTube, a TV show, or music in the background. It takes 2-3 days to adjust to the new work style. If until now, you had co-workers stopping by your office to ask a question, now others will interrupt you. For example, your spouse/partner, kids, pets, or some electronic device. Learn how to create boundaries in the next section!
3. Create boundaries.
If you are joined by your spouse and kids when you work from home, you need to set boundaries. If you work from one of the bedrooms, shut your door when you have conference calls. Or if you don’t have a door to shut, make sure you ask others to stay quiet. The less distractions you have going on in the background, the more effective you can be. Plus you will avoid awkward situations if you hold a construction sales position that requires customer calls. The same is true for construction estimators, construction business developers, or project managers.
4. Treat it like a real job.
Set up your alarm in the morning as if you have to leave for the office. Stick to your daily schedule. Don’t let your attitude slide and think you can sleep extra 10 minutes. Use the commute time to ramp up for the day. It is important to go about your morning ritual as you would have to go to the office. If you have a scheduled lunch break, take it even if you work from home and your kitchen is less than 2 ft away from your desk. Take the 30-minutes or 1 hour lunch break to cook something, order some food, or take a walk to get refreshed. Avoid working longer hours than you usually do. If your work schedule ends at 5 pm, try to stick to that schedule. Try to end and shut down all your activity when time arrives. It is important to go about your post-work activities, even if you work from home.
5. Schedule your breaks.
To be productive and efficient in your work, it is important to schedule your breaks, as needed. You will more likely encounter less interactions on a daily basis. You are not going to have co-workers stopping by your office. Make sure that you take a small break to stretch or use the bathroom, every 2-3 hours. Don’t go for more than 3 hours without taking a small break.