Pictured: Xanthe, Vora, Seraphina from Etc.
The problem for many people working from home isn’t about what you should be doing. Your role and responsibilities may have changed slightly due to COVID, but the tasks you were required to accomplish before working from home have probably remained the same.
You still need to get your work done.
It’s what you shouldn’t be doing that interrupts an otherwise productive workday. Here are five common mistakes people make while working from home.
Don’t skip the morning routine
Get dressed and eat breakfast. Whatever your morning routine was before you started working from home, is the routine you need to stick with. There is plenty of evidence to suggest keeping your morning routine will help you stay on track. Naturally, you can get work done with bed-head and in your pajamas, but psychologically, a morning routine prepares you for the entire workday. Henry Ward Beecher once said: “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.” That first hour needs to be consistent with what you had while you were going to the office.
Don’t work “whenever”
If you worked from 8 to 5 before COVID forced you into a home office situation, you should stick with that schedule. I’m sure we have all heard the stories of managers and coworkers blowing up Slack channels well into the evening. It’s natural to slip into an always-on, always-available mindset when working from home. The lines have been blurred but you need to set boundaries. Unplug and turn off notifications. If ground rules haven’t been established with the team, head up that discussion as soon as possible.
Don’t get distracted
This is a classic pitfall for anyone working from home. Some distractions may be out of your control. Many moms and dads have young children at home. This complicates things dramatically. While there are some unavoidable distractions, things like the laundry, watching TV, or cleaning the house can be avoided. This is where self-discipline comes into play. Scheduling lunch and breaks can help offset the need to get chores done or play with your pets. Block out time for being productive and reward yourself with a 15-minute break. Just as the morning routine is essential, the lunch and break routine is just as important.
Don’t let communication get out of hand
Avoid falling completely off the radar while you’re working from home. Your team is counting on you to be available and responsive when the need arises. On the other hand, avoid long unnecessary video meetings or phone calls. That 45-minute Zoom meeting with 6 other people can easily add up to an hour and a half. Don’t be afraid to duck out when you go over the allotted time. Communication is essential when working remotely, but it’s best to set some personal and professional guidelines to prevent issues.
Don’t work from the couch
As fun and relaxing as this may sound, working from the couch is a really, really bad idea. Not only is it bad for your posture, but it blurs the line between work and relaxation. It’s important to define a workspace in the home that feels professional. Naturally, some people may not have space or furniture to make a proper home office, but try to get as close as you can. If you need to make an investment in office furniture, consult with your employer about either providing you with some desking essentials or compensating you for the extra expense. Depending on how your state or county is managing workplace restrictions you could be working from home for a very long time. Try to create a dedicated space for your home office.
Whether you have been doing it for months or are just getting started, take some time to really think about your home office situation. We realize no two home office situations are the same and you can’t control all of the factors that go into having a distraction-free and productive home. Just remember, you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources available to you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the BOLD Office Solutions team for advice and even home office furniture.