Over the past few weeks, many people have found themselves transitioning from a shared workspace to a home office set-up. From commuting into the office and having lunch out with co-workers to waking up in the morning and quietly going about your day.
Things have changed. Life has transitioned.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t also be wildly successful in your new home office environment. Let me tell you how I’ve done this well and share some of my top tips to getting you acclimated in your new at home work environment.
For the past 14 years, I have worked from a home office. Dodging office meetings, avoiding long commutes into work and instead learning how to balance my home office with my personal life. Creating the perfect work/life balance.
The first 2 years that I worked from home, I was a fortune-500 recruiter for Kelly Services. I had an incredible boss named Don Kingston, the VP of our Region. I asked him if I could work from home, which would remove my 2-3 hour daily commute and allow me to work more successfully. He told me, “As long as you book at least $15,000/month in direct hire sales, you’ll never have to step foot into this office again.” I was out to prove to him that I could meet my sales goals and ensure he had made the right decision.
And that’s where my home office experience began.
I worked tirelessly to make Don proud and booked well over $15,000/month for my last 2 years of working for Kelly Services.
Working from home for the first time can be a little overwhelming. I like a neat, tidy home. Dishes washed, laundry done, bed made, a deep cleaned bathroom. I can easily get distracted from doing my real job to taking care of our household, running errands and prepping dinner.
7 Home Office Best Practices
#1: SET OFFICE HOURS
You really are going to fall into 1 of 3 categories when it comes to setting office hours at home. But only one of these options is going to give you the very best work/life balance. The entire reason that you are reading this article!
OPTION 1: Work from sun up until sun down and never feel like it’s enough
OPTION 2: Work a little, play a little, work a little, netflix a little..
OPTION 3: Create a work/life balance by setting office hours.
If you were to guess which option I am, then yes, option 3 is how I work from home successfully. My office hours have changed over the years as my life changes. Before having children, my office hours were 730am – 530pm. Now that they are pre-teens and my husband’s home office is now in my office and the kids are being homeschooled (because COVID-19!), my office hours look a little differently.
You can catch me in my office from 9am-1pm… a lunch/outdoor break and then back to work until 4pm every day.
Setting office hours is important, but being flexible and keeping blocks of time to get your work done is also important.
#2: BLOCK TIME WITH NO NOTIFICATIONS
Once you have your set work schedule for the week, make a plan to block hours of the day without distraction. Turn off phone notifications, silence your Apple watch, shut the door and just focus.
It’s easy to get distracted when no one is watching, but it’s not productive and it just means you’ll be sitting in your chair longer trying to cram work in later in the day.
For me, I set design blocks every day. It’s typically a 2-3 hour block of time where I turn off all notifications, remove all distractions, shut down email and turn off instant messaging with my team. It gives me the focused time I need to be creative and design.
#3: TAKE A LUNCH BREAK
Just like you did when you worked from a shared workspace, make the time for lunch while working from home. No, this doesn’t mean grabbing something quickly and then heading back to your desk.
This means, take a lunch break. You need to get a mental break from your job to keep your immune system optimized and your work/life balance in check. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to make a healthy, well-balanced lunch. Need some ideas? Check out some clean, healthy recipes here.
#4: GET OUTSIDE
While taking lunch break I suggested above, grab your lunch and sit on the patio. Or take the dog for a walk or grab your basketball and shoot a few hoops. Do something outside every day. Not only does this give you some very necessary vitamin D but it also boosts your immune system.
#5: EAT HEALTHY SNACKS
Trust me, I know how easy it is to go downstairs to grab a glass of water and then find my favorite cookies in the cupboard, a handful of M&M’s or some of the kids fruit snacks. Oh, it is so easy!
Instead, I’ve learned to plan ahead and I keep a bowl full of apples, nectarines, containers of cashews, walnuts and a few bags of Emmy’s Organics in the house. Then, when I need a snack, healthy options abound.
#6: TAKE A NAP
For quite possibly the first time in your life, you are now working down the hall from your bedroom. Yes, it’s fantastic. BUT, if you’re like me, you work through your tired afternoons.
With immune boosting being so important right now, I urge you – if you feel tired, rest. My dad swears by his 20 minute siesta after lunch every day. He’s been doing this for over 25 years and this short after lunch nap gives him the energy to labor through the rest of his day.
If my 60 year old dad claims this to be true, I’m with him.
#7: STICK TO A ROUTINE
If you got up early to hit the gym before commuting off to work… or if you went for a run after you got home from work, I suggest that you keep on keeping on.
Just because your work environment has changed, doesn’t mean your routine has to. There are so many apps now offering great workouts for free or pinterest infographics to help you find a new “home workout” routine.
I encourage you, stick to your routine and keep your work/life balance in check while working from a home office.
Cheers to making the most out of your home office space. Have questions? Send me an email!