Companies and employees all over the world have been moving to a remote or telecommuting strategy recently. From 2006 to 2016, the percentage of Americans working from home has increased 22% according to the US Census Bureau. Recently, we have been enacting policies for ‘social distancing’ and reducing potential virus transmission. These trends and policies mean businesses are emptying their offices and encouraging their employees to work from home (WFH).
For many people, WFH is a new concept and they may not understand exactly what it means and how to handle the changes in their work environment, schedules, and interoffice personal interactions. At Kemp, the majority of our employees regularly work from home. We have put together a list of key items that a new WFH employee should implement to maintain a healthy work-life balance and enjoy the change beyond the elimination of a daily commute!
Top Recommended Tips:
- Establish work hours
One of the hardest things to do is to stop working. We respond to work emails after hours and sometimes we will hit reply even when we are getting ready for bed. Smartphones and other devices have made this that much easier for us. When working from home, establish clear hours that you are in ‘work mode’ and put the work aside outside that time. It is essential to make a clean separation between your personal life and your work life.
- Take breaks
It is easy to lose track of time and forget to eat lunch or step away from the desk when you WFH. In the office, you have coworkers to interrupt and distract you. At home, you need to make sure that you take breaks. Try getting an egg timer or setting a countdown on your smartphone for 2 hours. At that time, get up and walk away. Take a walk around the block or drive down to the local coffee shop for a drink (note: I did NOT say bar).
- Create a workspace
Just like the work hours, you need to establish a well-defined workspace whether it is a desk in the kitchen, a bedroom-turned-office, or a study in your home. When you step into this workspace it is as if you have entered the office. You put on your work face and flip the switch. When you leave the workspace, you also leave your work.
It can feel lonely when you WFH. There isn’t a cube or desk you can walk to when you need a question answered or need someone to join you in the breakroom. Establish more calls with colleagues. Start doing more video calls. Utilize your company’s messaging platform to chat through real-time messaging.
- Nourish the body
Do not forget to feed your body as well as your mind. Allocate a specific block of time for your lunch. Have snacks available throughout the day. Today, many offices have breakrooms filled with beverages and snacks. Populate your home with some of the same items. Only raid those supplies during your work hours.
- Establish a routine
The human mind likes nothing better than a routine. Establish patterns for your workday. Let’s start with what you wear. Dress like you are going into an office. Try to take your breaks around the same time in the day. The more you do similar things at similar times, the more comfortable your mind and body become with the routine. This will make you more relaxed and at ease in your home environment.
Enjoy and Don’t Look Back
WFH can be a great experience when done right. You have the freedom of managing your own space and time without the constant distractions of the walk-by interruptions of your colleagues. But this must be balanced with the isolation and potential lack of work-life boundaries. If you are lucky, you may find that you have struck the right balance and may never want to go back to an office again!