Here is my quick and dirty guide for someone who has just started working from home (or remotely or telecommute, etc.). These tips are in order of importance; first up:
Give yourself a month before making big changes
I’d suggest giving yourself a month-long trial period in which you carefully note how it is going and don’t make huge changes to your normal workflow. If you get dressed up for work I’d do that the first week at home. If you don’t have a TV in your office at work then don’t put one in your home office; if you don’t typically work standing up I wouldn’t jump into this hardcore at first, etc. Just working from home will be change enough and you can play with the increased flexibility and extra time once you prove that you can still be effective. One of the benefits of working from home is that you can do crazy things that aren’t socially acceptable at some offices that actually increase your effectiveness (naps, listen to music loudly, working outside, wearing what you want to wear, exercising at odd times, not shaving, wearing an eye patch, etc.). Save these for later.
Separate work from home
Keep set hours that work for you to prevent checking email at 8PM and other forms of sad insanity. Build a separate office space. Take time in the morning and the afternoon to perform silly little routines that remind your body and mind that you are switching modes (like changing shoes Mr. Rogers style or moon-walking from your home office into your living room):
Set expectations with your family (or anybody you live with)
Working from home puts a bit of stress on others if they are home at all during the day. Let them know what to expect:
Realize that you need structure
Even if your role has a lot of creative alone time you will find you need more structure to your day as the natural bookends of in-person conversations and your commute leave a vacuum. Try different techniques to track what you are doing until you find some system that gets you moving and keeps you there even if you are a bit more disconnected physically. I recommend starting with the Pomodoro Technique and also tracking what you did each day with iDoneThis.
Keep from going insane
Try to work some from your office, a co-working spot, or at a coffeeshop where you know a few people. Generally track your level of insanity; take breaks; talk to people; go eat lunch, and have fun.
|I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.|