With these uncertain times, are you suddenly finding yourself having to work from home and not sure what to do? It’s a big adjustment for anyone, especially if you are used to a corporate 9-5 environment and suddenly that has changed. I spent 15 years in the corporate world on Bay Street in Toronto. 15 years ago, I started my own business and have been an entrepreneur ever since.
Was the swtich easy? NOT AT ALL!!!! Aside from the challenges of starting a business, the biggest adjustment was working alone at home. And this was back in the day before social media and video conferencing was widely available.
Now, chances are, if you are finding yourself working from home during this time of #socialdistancing and #selfisolation you may not actually be home alone and also have the challenge of a sposue and kids around too. All factors that can have a big effect on your normal routine.
During this time of unknowns and living hour by hour and day by day, here are 5 tips to help you adjust to working at home and keeping a routine based on my own experiences.
- HAVE A ROUTINE – this is by far the #1 thing to keep in mind and will make the transition easier. Like you do at work, have a start and end time to your day. I call them my “office hours”. Schedule a time for a morning and afternoon break as well as a lunch break. You would do those things at the office, so do them at home.
- HAVE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE/OFFICE – If you are not able to have a separate home office, then dedicate a room to be that space for now. A dining room table is an excellent option as that tends to be a room that is not used everyday for dining (most families eat in the kitchen). Also, sitting at a table with a good comfortable chair is better than sitting on your couch. Having a separate workspace/room allows you to “leave” that space when it’s not working hours. If you have others in your home (spouse/kids), then set out your ‘working hours’ with your family and your break times so they know that you are ‘gone’ to work. This will also help to set boundaries for your family so they know when it is work time and when it is play time. And take some time to set it up with your favourite things you like to have around you while you work. Family photos, plants, flowers, inspirational signs…make it your own.
- TAKE YOUR BREAKS IN ANOTHER ROOM – Have lunch in the kitchen with your family (if others are at home). Don’t eat at your desk. Or if it’s nice outside, sit in your backyard. If you are still able to be outside, go for a walk around your neighbourhood.
- CONNECT WITH COLLEAUGES ONLINE – Everyday have a team meeting with your colleagues over a video call. Zoom or Facetime are excellent free options to use where you can see those you are chatting with. It will also give you the social interaction that you will be missing from the day to day office life.
- GET DRESSED! – Don’t wear your PJ’s to work at home. Getting dressed will dramatically change your mood and attitude. If you normally wear a suit, you can do without that, but put on casual Friday clothes. You will be more productive.
Having a positive mindset during this time will help make the adjustment much easier. Don’t look at it as an inconvenince, but rather think of the positives. You get to spend more time with your family, you can have lunch with your kids and spouse, you don’t need to commute, you have more time in the morning before starting your day, your workday finishes earlier. These are just a few of the positives that are a result of working from home. As an entrepreneur, I am grateful for these benefits each and everyday!
Do you have any other tips or tricks that are working for you as you adjust to a different way of working? Or have a question about how to cope with working from home? Share them in the comments below. Let’s all help each other through these times of unknowns.
Amber Dinda is wife, mom of two teenagers and a serial entreprenuer. She has embraced the mid life years as an opportunity to enjoy and explore all that life has to offer and not approach mid life as a crisis. You can follow Amber’s journey and experiences by subscribing to her blog and connecting with her on Facebook or on Instagram.