Home Sweet Home Office

Tips on Staying Productive and Healthy

Now that the Corona Virus has grounded the country and sent everyone to their rooms, many people find themselves working from home for the first time.

As with anything, there are Pros and Cons. On the Pro side, if you live in a normal-sized dwelling, there is no commuting. You save the time and money that would have been spent on just getting to work. As for Con’s, you’ll need to exercise an increased degree of self-discipline, and you may experience a sense of isolation.

As someone who has “telecommuted” for years, I can offer the following pointers:

 1) Get Dressed—Resist the temptation to stay in your pajamas, or sweat pants, bicycle shorts, underwear, or even “going commando.” It’s a matter of keeping your head in the game. You may only be seen from the waist up during a video conference, but how professional will you feel with your “junk lose” under the table.

I know someone who would put on a suit and tie every morning before heading down the hall to his home office. It helped him keep his edge, and he was ready for any unexpected face to face client meetings. It also meant he could stand up with confidence during one of those video conferences. 

2) Have a Designated Workspace—Even though laptops mean you can work anywhere, set aside a part of your home where you will work every day. A den, guest room, dining room, corner of the living room, or kitchen table all work out just fine as a temporary place of employment.

DO NOT use your bedroom, or anywhere near your bed, if you can help it. Starting your day by rolling out of bed and sitting at your desk and ending it by going from your desk back to bed is just too confining, and the best way to give yourself a terminal case of cabin fever. Give yourself some room. Please Note: Inmates in Federal Penatentionaries are mandated to have at least 25 square feet of unencumbered space. Treat yourself at least as well.

3) Get the Right Equipment—Working from home also means you won’t have the support staff you have at the office. It can take longer to do even the most straightforward task. Use this time to invest a couple of bucks on the right printer, upgrade your software, check out, and download the latest productivity apps. Anything that will save time and allow you to work smarter is well worth it.

4) Stay Focused— You’d be surprised at the number of distractions that will demand your attention during the day. Phone calls, texts, emails, kids, pets, snacks, your mom asking for a ride to the Dentist, games, and the most dangerous time-suck of all—Facebook/Instagram/Twitter.! 

 Staying focused will also allow you to keep regular hours and avoid the trap of working 24/7. You do not want your work time bleeding into your personal time, as you are going to need your Personal time more than ever. If you are the sort who typically works 24/7, now would be a good time to start treating yourself better. 

5) Manage Your Projects—Regardless of your position, at the office, there are people who hold you accountable. At home, you’re on own—well, at least until your employer figures how to tap into your webcam. 

Acquire a split personality—“Boss You” and “Worker You” and write out a plan for every day. This way, Boss You can keep track of Worker You and track progress./

6) Physical Health—Take care of your self, and your self will take care of you. B ring home, there is a tendency to skip meals or overindulge in such goodies as, pizza, french fries, candy, chips, not too mention pre-packaged canned and frozen food. All tasty and convenient but are also full of salt and sugar—say hello high blood pressure and or diabetes!

You’ll also be more sedentary than usual. All that time in front of a screen will stiffen those muscles in no time. Not to mention adding inches to your waistline. If you don’t already, integrate an exercise routine into your schedule.

7) Mental Health—GET OUT!!! Once the workday is done, you’ll NEED some distractions! Network, join a Meet Up, take a class, look up old friends. Get yourself some “Human Time” to balance out all those virtual relationships you spent your day with.

Cultivate hobbies, do crossword puzzles, argue with a teenager—anything that is not “work” to sharpen your wits and keep a different set of the old gray cells engaged.

Working remotely, from home, or anywhere else, is more than just a change of location. It is a lifestyle change, a significant disruption to your work/life balance. For the most part, the work part will take care of itself. Up until now, you may have taken the Life part for granted, but now it’s going to require some management of its own. It can end up changing you for the better.