While the benefits of working from home (wfh) include not having to commute and greater flexibility with managing your schedule, there are pitfalls. Whether you have always worked from home or have being doing this just since lockdown, you probably have experienced the challenges of working this way. Fortunately, we are well past the initial shutdowns. This makes it easier to address some of the downsides of wfh. I can assure you that they can be overcome. You’ll then be well positioned for success regardless of how long you’ll be wfh. As a NYC Professional Home Office Organizer, I have worked with clients on these issues and wanted to share the following tips.
1. Establish clear cut boundaries. It’s very easy for work and life to get very intertwined when wfh. This impacts your productivity, relationships, and mindset. As I advise my clients, it is essential to have a dedicated workspace. You might not have a home office with a door making it easier to keep work contained in one space creating a definitive separation between work and life. However, you can still do this even if you are working at the dining table. The simple act of completely clearing the table at 5pm achieves the same objective. The bottom line is to be in work mode for only the duration of the workday and keep all work-related materials contained within your workspace.
2. Stay connected. It can feel very isolating if you are working from home and aren’t sharing your space with others. Being proactive and staying in touch with both business and personal contacts is so very important especially during these unusual times. Possibly your company has setup a virtual tool like Slack for connecting with colleagues on a personal level. Schedule meetings for socially distant coffee or a walk with new contacts and to re-connect with established ones. Reach out to a colleague to discuss a future project or just call a friend to see how they’re doing. While the relaxing of the restrictions is making it easier to address this challenge, it’s time to take advantage of this if you haven’t already done so.
3. Re-purpose your commuting time. One of the benefits of working from home is not having to commute. In some places, an average commute can be between 1-2 hours. This potentially adds an additional 2-4 hours to the day. The question then is how to use this time…. You could sleep in and start your day at least an hour later. You could get up at your normal time and start working earlier. This might give you a jump on the day. However, sitting in one place for an even longer day isn’t healthy. Or you could still commute… get up at your usual time, leave for the office at same time or maybe a little later, and walk to “work” returning home in time to start your day. This is exactly what my husband did… and he was in the work mode by the time he got home.
Whether you have always worked from home or new to it, finding solutions for the challenges is key. What issues are you facing? Reach out to your NYC Professional Home Office Organizer today for additional tips to address them.