Working from home: tips and tricks.
Whenever I tell people that I work from home and do projects remotely, they usually marvel at the fact that it's even possible. It is something that I never take for granted. I have put a lot of time and energy into having a home office, and creating a comfortable and productive atmosphere in which to do my work and projects.
The luxury of working from home is becoming a popular topic these days, and many companies are allowing employees to work from home on Fridays, or even additional days based on the company model. Working from home allows more people to have time at home and get work done.
My office takes the form of my home and other cities that I produce shows and events in. The popular hashtag of #workfromanywhere is becoming one that people follow on social media as the popularity of working from other locations other than a corporate office is increasing. A comfortable workspace is key for productivity and sanity. If you don't have the ability of working from home certain days, perhaps this is a topic you could approach with your boss at your current work place? After all, it never hurts to ask.
For those of you out there who do the majority of work from your home, I've laid out some tips and tricks for staying engaged and maximizing the time you spend at your desk.
Done By Friday's top 5 tips for working from home:
TIP #1 - Office space comfort
This is at the top of my tips for a reason. If you're not comfortable in your work space, you can't do your best work. What are some things that you would add to your office to make it a comfortable environment? Here are some specific things (in photographic form) that I have in my office to make it a comfortable place for me to work:
Add some touches of your own personal taste and items that you want to look at when you're taking a break from typing away on your computer.
I like to add candles, inspiring quotes, colored vases, and some succulents (after all, I do live in the desert!) to my office decor. What is your favorite?
A comfortable office chair and wall art are a must.
I love music - so much of the artwork in my office has to do with my favorite artists and musicians. I also have memorabilia that I have collected from my various jobs and events that are framed to add some of my personal career influence into the workspace. As you can see, the way you build your office should be what matters to YOU.
And if you don't work from home, then add some of your personal touches and comfortable elements to your office at your job. I'm sure your boss will understand... maybe just don't paint your office walls bright orange. ;)
YES. I have a couch in my office.
I'm all about taking short naps during the day, or even shutting your eyes for 10 minutes if you can't nap. Recharging time is essential for productivity in your home office.
The couch is also a place where you can give your eyes a break from your computer screen and allow your brain to be actively working on other creative ideas, or solutions to problems you're working on. That active relaxation is essential for your best work and some of your greatest ideas. Give it a try.
TIP #2 - Add color to your work life
Color keeps your mind engaged and your mood up. There are so many ways to add pops of color to your work and your home office. Here are some of my favorites:
The office supplies essentials: colored sticky notes. These gems are some of my favorite things to use to write lists, small reminders, and also jot down ideas. The colors make it easy to not misplace that important thing that you wrote down.
And let's be honest, sticky notes make everything better. They are the rainbow sprinkles of your work day.
Colored pens, highlighters, and markers are also great tools to enhance your creativity and make your notes stand out. Remember to make your work personal and use things that will help you accomplish your tasks with more enthusiasm.
TIP #3 - Break up your day.
They say that sitting is the new smoking. I happen to agree. So much of our time these days is spent in front of a computer, sitting on phone calls, or spending hours looking at minor details at our desks that we forget how important it is to take breaks, get up and move, or break up the monotony during our days. Below are some things that I recommend you implement into your work days to make sure you don't spend hours glued to your desk:
Set yourself an alarm each hour to take a 10 minute break. If you don't set an alarm, chances are you'll forget to take a break. Look at something other than work for those 10 minutes. If you can't take a break, then make sure you add 10 minutes on to the next hour. Breaks are an important part of the work day and help you think better while you're focused on tasks. Remember to take breaks and don't make excuses!
Stand up or take a walk on more than one occasion during the day. If you stay glued to your desk all day, your energy level will fade. It's important to move throughout the day and also encourage others around you or your employees to do the same. Schedule some company walk breaks if you have to whether your team is remote or in-house. If you have to take a phone call, stand up while you're on the call and look at what you need to on your feet. Movement is an essential for health and a solid, working brain.
Do a mindless task during the day. For those of us who work from home, do you find yourself taking a laundry or TV break during the day? It's OK to admit that you do! I find that if I break up the day with things that are mindless activities (I like to call them GOOD distractions), I'm able to focus better.
TIP #4 - Know when you're at your best each day.
Understanding the way that you work and your productivity level are both large concepts for knowing how to approach each work day. The distractions that can be encountered by having a home office can either take advantage of you, or be used to your advantage when you understand how you operate. A lot of us don't know how to best structure the day to tackle the largest tasks when we're at our peak performance, and when to do the small, menial tasks when we are able to give our productivity a rest.
DONE BY FRIDAY BOOK RECOMMENDATION: I recommend reading Daniel H. Pink's book called When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. He devotes an entire chapter to finding your productive moments during the day. It's quite eye-opening. Great read! This is also a great book for you event professionals out there. It will really make you examine your work day and the way you handle your stamina on events.
TIP #5 - Shut the door on your work at the end of the day
This is one of the most important elements to being Done By Friday: Knowing when to shut the computer and the office door. Sometimes in the middle of peak work times, it is difficult to put everything away. However, there is a time to stop production, stop answering emails, and put the phone away. With a home office staring you in the face most of the day, it can be difficult to put the work away and stay away from the computer. For those with a home office, the hours may never seem as though they are during regular business hours due to the convenience of being steps away from the computer and the business. Even with phones, no one is ever turned off one hundred percent of the time - the expectation is to be on-call and plugged-in on a regular basis. If we know when to say 'no' and 'it can wait until tomorrow,' those are boundaries that will help you sustain a happy and healthy work-from-home life.
I hope you've enjoyed my tips on having a home office. Now go be a boss and ask to split your time and work from home!