I’ve worked from home full time for the last 8 years, and quite a bit of time part-time before that. Everyone posts tips for working from home like showering and getting ready as though you’re going to work, standing up every 27 minutes, or whatever. I’ve lived the last 8 years fairly unshowered and in sweat pants and here are some of MY tips for working from home:
- If you have kids…get used to making this face
Seriously though, my kids make fun of my “BE QUIET I AM ON A CONFERENCE CALL” face, because apparently I have a very specific face for that. It helps if you have an office with a door. At the very least learn the fastest way to mute yourself, and if you’re on camera, how to shut it off.
- Don’t forget, you’re human. Just because a lot of communication will move to text chat, you are still a human. The other people are still human, even if they’ve been reduced to a headshot taken by HR five years ago. Keep conversation work appropriate, but you’re still allowed to talk non-work subjects. Granted, I know there isn’t any sportsball to chat about, but we can probably all speak knowledgably on our latest binge watch.
- Be available, but not too much. Many newbies to working from home want to show that they’re online and working. As a result, you tend to answer every single ping immediately. When I first started working from home, that often meant I missed lunch because just as I stepped away, I heard a DING from instant messaging. I’d immediately jump to respond and hours later realize I hadn’t eaten. If you were physically at work, you wouldn’t do that, you’d tell the person you were heading out lunch and talk about it when you get back. You can do the same while working from home. Be available and responsive, but don’t let it overwhelm you at the sake of your wellbeing, or at the sake of work you need to be doing.
- Don’t stress if you aren’t doing it the “right” way. As I said, I don’t get up early and shower and get dressed before I start my day. If that helps you, GREAT! Then do it! But if you’d rather be a lazy slob like me, don’t feel bad about it. I tried a standing desk and hated it. For a couple of years, I worked from my couch. I break a lot of rules and that’s ok. Try different things and find what works for you.
These are just a few things off the top of my head. If you’ve got any questions or additional unusual suggestions, feel free to comment!