20 Essential Tips For Working From Home: It’s The New Normal

Tips For Working From Home. When we first started with social/physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed like being home for a snowstorm – we wanted to make sure we had enough groceries, the power was working, and our computer was all set up. Generally, it seemed fun at first – like having a few snow days at home. In fact, you could hear the excitement from people about being able to work from home. Working in your pjs, taking a break to walk the dog or go outside to enjoy the day, getting to see your kids – what a joy!

But, after just a few weeks of working from home, people started to realize that we are in this for much longer. So, the snow days are over. The excitement has worn off and now we have to buckle down and establish a routine for this “new normal”. To ensure that you are successful at building your “new normal”, I offer a few tips:

Tips For Working From Home

Set a schedule.

It is time to do this. Otherwise, work and home are totally blurred. Do you work late and see your kids earlier? You need to set some time parameters. Even if you are now homeschooling your kids, they need a schedule and so do you. Have a schedule for meals so everyone knows the plan. The good news is that now families are more likely to have meals together and get to spend some time together.

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Set up your workspace.

At first, we figured we could work anywhere around the house since it would only be for a few weeks. But, now that we know it will be longer, we have to find a “best place to work”. You may need to set up space for you, your partner/spouse, and your children for their classes. This has been one of the biggest adjustments for many families – how to effectively work around each other in a confined space.

For you, using your standing desk might work out well, but if you find you are standing all day, that can cause back problems or other issues. Or maybe you are now sitting all day. Either way, come up with the best place to work that enables others in your household to also be able to get their work done. You may also need to invest in the right technology and office equipment (chairs, desks, etc.).

Designate a quiet space in your house and keep it uncluttered.

Having the news channel on in every room that has a TV could be bringing greater stress to family members. Having at least one quiet and uncluttered space enables anyone from the family to use that space to decompress and unwind.

Set work hours and communicate to your office when you are and are not available.

Otherwise, you might find yourself getting email at all hours and being invited to meetings all day long. This is especially important if you find that you now are caring for your children or homeschooling them during the day. Maybe you can’t be available during the typical workday. Whatever you are able to negotiate with your work office is important to stick to.

Close your workday out at the end of the day.

Make sure you “close the day out” when your work time is done. Just like you used to pack up your office, you may need to do the same thing here by packing up your work for the day. Close your laptop or leave your “office”.

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Let your family members know when you are working and when you are accessible to them.

This is especially true for your children (if they are old enough to understand this). Seeing you at home for an extended period may make them think you are free to play all day long. Be clear about times and expectations. You might have to work in another room and put a note on the door when you are on a work call so that you are not disturbed.

Establish ground rules in the family

for playing music, having the TV on, and any other distractions. Maybe you have college kids back home who were used to playing loud music at all hours or staying up all night long. Depending on how your house is set up, you may need to establish new rules so that everyone can still get some sleep and get work done.