Nine Hacks to Work Effectively from Home

With the work-from-home or shelter-in-place mandates, many people are working from home for the first time. Here are seven hacks to work effectively from home.

Establish a dedicated workspace. This can be a chair, office, part of a room, or whatever you can find in your home. If it’s nice where you live you can even work outside! Make sure you have the space and tools to do your work. Having a dedicated workspace also gives you and your family the signal that you are working.

Tweak your routines. Structure is important to maintain a feeling of control. Modify your daily morning, after work and evening routines to reflect your new reality. What needs to change to support you and make your days run smoother?

Focus. Define and prioritize what is really important now. You are also giving yourself permission to NOT do the things that aren’t important. Take care of the critical things that require your attention and let go of the trivial things that get in your way.

Minimize distractions. It’s easy to get distracted, especially if you share the space or don’t have a dedicated office or workspace at home. Turn off the TV, get noise-canceling headphones, close the door and focus on your work. A simple red/green or yes/no sign on your door can indicate to children when you need privacy and when you can be interrupted.

Respect the bandwidth. With most people restricted to their homes, internet usage is extremely high, especially with streaming and people working from home. Streaming on a company VPN stresses the system and slows everyone down. Do as much as you can offline.

Take care of yourself. You can’t cope well or help others who need it when you’re tired, cranky, dehydrated, and malnourished. Get a decent amount of sleep, eat as well as you can, and get some exercise. Turn off the TV and computer an hour before you go to bed to give your brain a chance to rest.

Go outside. Get some fresh air and get your body moving. Even a short walk can refresh and energize you.

Stay connected. Social isolation is difficult, especially for extroverts. Check in with your team or co-workers and help out if they need it. Seeing friendly faces on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or Marco Polo can brighten your day and help you feel less alone. Send a text, make a call, or email – whatever works. We are all in this together!

Be patient. We are all in this together, managing the situation day by day. Kids, dogs and other distractions will interrupt conference calls, throw a wrench in your plans and disrupt your flow. Be kind and understanding, laugh, take care of the interruption and get back to work. It’s okay.

Now get going! Take one small step every day to take control of your life and save time, money, and stress.