A few months back, there were a lot of people who were excited to hear that they would be able to work from home. Sounds great, right? No boss looking over your shoulder all of the time; the ability to listen to the music you want and hang out with your dog; constant access to yummy snacks and fun distractions. What could be better?!
But a couple of months into this new normal has revealed some unique difficulties. Some of the things that sounded so great at the beginning could actually be causing you undue stress and making it difficult to really get things done. If you want to stay productive – and positive – make sure that you do not make these common mistakes.
Not Getting Up and Dressed
A lot of people were excited about the prospect of being able to work from bed, or in front of the television in their pajamas. By maintaining the same routine in the morning that you had before – including getting up and getting ready – you are signifying to your brain that it is time to start the day. Otherwise, it can be difficult to really “switch over” into work-mode, and you will be easily distracted. This could also save you from some embarrassment if your boss or a team member schedules an impromptu video call.
When everyone is working from their individual homes, it can be really tough to know where certain projects stand. You can no longer just walk over to someone and quickly ask, or just glance over and know that work is being done. The most productive people tend to overcommunicate when working remotely. This means staying engaged on Slack or regularly checking in with colleagues on Zoom. You will not have the same level of transparency as you would on the job site, so it is important that you make this extra effort to stay connected and informed.
Not Separating Home and Work
Depending on your living situation, this can be really tough. But in order to stay productive, it is really important that you create some boundaries. This means letting your husband, or your kids, or your roommates know that between the hours of X and Y, you are working. Just because you are physically there, does not mean that you are available to take breaks or start chatting. You should have a designated work area that you do not use for fun or personal activities.
Being able to work from home can provide some unique opportunities that you should not take for granted. For one, it is nice to have more face time with your family. It also allows you to learn some new skills that you may not have had before. Take advantage of these, but also make sure that you are not succumbing to any of the pitfalls of working remotely that might zap your productivity.