A Few Tips for Working from Home

03
16

With everything happening with the Coronavirus and Covid-19, many companies are encouraging their employees to work from home as an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.

While working from home isn’t an option for everyone in every career field, it does affect a great deal of us so I wanted to share a few tips I have from working from home for the past 10 years.

Let’s jump right into it.

One. Get ready for your workday in the same way you would if you were leaving the house. Working from your pajamas may sound fun, but I assure you it will impact your mood and productivity level. Getting ready, packing up a bag for your daily essentials (maybe not lunch, but perhaps your water bottle and a snack) will limit the time you need to leave your workspace to get something.

Two. Maintain normal work hours as best you can. This is going to be a challenge for people who have children at home during this time as well, but if you are able to find childcare for your children, try to stick to a solid start and end time. It gives your day a little structure and also gives the other people in your family an idea of what they can expect from your availability.

Three. Do not mix housework with your work tasks. As tempting as it is to throw a load of laundry in the washing machine in the middle of the day, try to separate your housework tasks from your work tasks. The stronger you keep that line, the easier it will be to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Four. If you are used to having meetings scheduled that break up your day, schedule a few work-related activities to do at certain times in order to give your day some variety. So for me and my work on this website and social media, I start the day with a deep dive into my e-mail, and then I would schedule a second time to check in on e-mail at around 10:00am. Between the first check and my 10:00am check, I’d work on content, video editing, workflow layouts for upcoming projects, product research, etc. But at 10:00am, an alarm would go off giving me a chance to hit pause on what I was working on in order to check my e-mail.

Five. Don’t eat lunch at your desk. I do this a lot and I really dislike that it has become a habit. Step away from your desk or work area during lunch.

Six. If the quiet and the loneliness from working by yourself is too challenging, search on Spotify for Instrumental versions of your favorite soundtracks. My personal favorite is the Instrumental version of the Hamilton soundtrack. If I listen to music with words I become very distracted, but instrumentals are nice background filler music for me.

Seven. Give yourself the grace to find your rhythm. Since I’ve been working from home for so long, I’ve had a lot of time to figure out what works best for me. When it comes to my kids, I do all of my kid-related tasks before I start my workday. That means packing their lunch, prepping their lunch bag, and making sure they have what they need for school so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to run downstairs and scramble to help them. Kids aside, I tend to write better in the morning so I spend my earliest time at my desk working on a content calendar and drafting posts. If I need a break, I’ll shift to my bedroom to shoot content.

Eight. Take a break and get outside. If you find yourself struggling, give yourself a break and head outside for a quick walk. Even something as small as 5 minutes outside can reset your mind.

Nine. Keep a list of your goals or tasks for the day, and check off what you’ve accomplished. Working from home takes a great deal of self-diligence, and if you don’t see tangible examples of what you have accomplished, it can feel like you’ve wasted your time.

Ten. At the end of the day, take a quick scan of your calendar or to-do list for the next day so you know what you have to work on next. Doing this is a new habit for me but it helps my mindset so much. If I know that I need to shoot an IGTV video or work on a style graphic, that affects how I look, what I wear, and if I can do that task while my children are at home making noise (Spoiler: filming a video with 3 kids in the house is a challenge!).

A quick note to those of you with kids who do not have childcare options: It’s going to be really hard to get work done with little kids running around. Justin and I both work from home (though a lot of his work is out in the field shooting with his drone) and we switch off between watching the kids and working. It’s rare that either of us is working WHILE watching the kids.

Kids generally like to feel important and included, so if there is a way to give them a task (even if it’s completely made up) to make them feel like they’re working too, that could buy you a few minutes of work time. There are also so many educational apps, tv shows, and other ways to entertain them if you need a solid chunk of time to get work done!

I hope these tips help you and I would love to hear any suggestions from other people who work from home regularly! This is a strange and unsettling time, and we’re all in this together, so the support and help from peers are vital.

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Comments (38)

  1. Posted March 16, 2020

    Thanks for the tips! I know people say they aren’t as productive when they work from home, but for me, it’s been the complete opposite! Less distractions and I get to wear comfy clothes haha! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Kelly Small says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Great advice! This is new a new adventure as many office workers are sent home for at least two weeks. I will share this with my co-workers here at State of Maryland.

  3. Jen says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    This is so helpful! As someone who is given the opportunity to work from home one or two days a week, I know the struggle of finding that self-diligence. I’m going to take your recommendation and try to follow my same routine this morning as if I were going into the office – workout, get ready, pack up, and make it to my desk. I can already tell it’s going to make a difference by not being in my pajamas!

  4. Amanda says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Nos 3 & 6 are really pertinent in my work from home situation. I’d never thought of soundtracks to fill the silence, but that’s a wonderful idea. Thanks for the encouragement to get the most from my working day.

    • Kate says
      Posted March 16, 2020

      Glad to help!

  5. Steph says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Thanks for this list! These are great ideas.

  6. Dasha says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Thank you for this! As someone who has never worked from home but has officially taken the precaution for my unborn baby (24 weeks on Wednesday!), this is extremely helpful! I plan to use all 10 of these over the next few weeks!

  7. Sherilynne says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    All great tips, thank you

  8. Carrie Reese says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Repectfully disagree with a few of these. 🙂
    I traditionally WFH 2 days a week, and in a corporate setting 3 days. The best parts of WFH is not having to get dressed up and in hair and makeup, and staying caught up on laundry. I wouldn’t survive these life-timesavers!

    Of course, this season for WFH has nothing to do with time.

    These are great tips for first-timers, and I hope with everyone’s help and support we can make it through.

    Good luck out there!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 16, 2020

      As with anything, you need to make different work scenarios work for *you*! Glad to hear you have figured out the best system for yourself!

  9. Janet says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Hey Kate! I’ve been working from home for almost a year, but I’ve been the only one from my agency to do so until this week. Now EVERYONE has to get used to it! I completely agree that getting up and getting ready is a big one, and setting a routine is huge! I intentionally interact with my kids, even briefly about every thirty minutes so they don’t feel to disconnected when they are home while I’m working. They also understand that when I’m in a meeting or on a call, interruptions are unnacceptable! I always make sure to set them up with a movie, activity, and/or snack before I get into a meeting so they’re amused and less likely to interrupt. I’d also add, since us WFH folks might take it for granted, that there needs to be a designated “space” for work. I have the luxury of a whole office to myself, but a little corner of the house with a permanent setup of some sort will do wonders for that feeling that you are at work when you are in a certain spot. Good luck out there, everyone!

  10. Chantal says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Alternatively, I think we can all do whatever feels right when it comes to working from home. There’s no one way to do it. It’s a thing that we can and should each customize. Stay safe + wash your hands!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 16, 2020

      Of course. My tips offered in this post are simply that: tips.

  11. Heather says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    To fill the silence, you can also search for coffee shop background noise to listen to – indistinct conversations and bits of noise so that it’s not just silent.

  12. Rebecca says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Yesssss to number six! I just found the Hamilton Instrumental soundtrack and put it on. Like you, I am distracted by the radio/talking and even music with lyrics. I am very tired of my go-tos like Bach/Glenn Gould and Mozart. I never thought of soundtracks but what a great idea.

    • Heather says
      Posted March 17, 2020

      Movie scores are also great for that – John Williams, Hans Zimmer, etc.

  13. Posted March 16, 2020

    This was such a nice post and am definitely taking some of these!!! i follow the dressing up cause it does exactly that!!! its sooo different being in my pijamas or my normal clothes hahha do you think they have caffeine in them? haha

    stay safe!!
    https://dorky-and-weird.blogspot.com/
    Beijinhos Jessy

  14. Jessica says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Thanks for the tips! As a teacher, I never thought I would use the words work from home! It’s been two days of digital learning and I’ve barely brushed my teeth or gotten dressed. Really needed this post!

  15. Anonymous says
    Posted March 16, 2020

    Great suggestions – especially the one about not working in your pajamas! Keep the structure you are used to as much as possible. And whatever you do, make sure you EXERCISE every day and stay off the sofa and away from the tv. It’s very easy to work on the sofa with your computer, but this leads to turning on the tv, listening to the news or watching your favorite shows… and eating!!! A guaranteed way to gain weight and get nothing done!

  16. Leah says
    Posted March 17, 2020

    Thank you for sharing! I’m preparing to work from home and I know it’ll be a struggle. This information has calmed my nerves.

  17. Lea says
    Posted March 17, 2020

    One thing I found helpful in the early days of WFH was to schedule a meeting for 9am. That way I was sure to be at my desk and ready by 9am. Otherwise I’d find it was suddenly 9:15,9:30 etc etc and I was still faffing about and not getting to work. It’s been years now and I don’t need this but it sure can help.

    Totally agree with your tips and would second the comment about setting up a dedicated space!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 17, 2020

      That is a great idea!

  18. Julia says
    Posted March 17, 2020

    This is really good advice! Working from home without a set routine and rules is not easy, however with those tips things should run more smoothly. I definitely try to keep house and work chores separate, though I do go between the two as I have a lot of free time during the day (I’m a teacher currently working from home). Thank you for sharing!

    Julia x
    Last Post: How I Use My Bullet Journal + Inspo Ideas | https://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.com/2020/03/how-i-use-my-bullet-journal-inspirations.html

  19. Sasha says
    Posted March 17, 2020

    Day 2 of working from home – and I love this post. Thanks for sharing! I need to maintain some sort of regular routine even if working at home – hopefully that will allow for some sort of feeling ‘normal’.

  20. Kate Gimmeson says
    Posted March 17, 2020

    It’s comical to see someone who has admitted to working less than 18 hours a week offer advice to working moms. Your *job* is more like a hobby. One that seems to pay ridiculously well for doing as little work as possible. Talking to strangers on IG stories is hardly work.

    • Kate says
      Posted March 18, 2020

      Hi Kate! You have created your own reality of my work situation. I have 18 hours of childcare a week during which time I work. I also work most evenings and afternoons during my childrens’ quiet time. I made it a priority to focus on being present and available for my kids while they are little, meaning I have to cram a great deal of work into a small amount of time.
      My work/life balance is working very well for my family and myself, therefore it shouldn’t affect you.
      It’s also clear that you aren’t up to speed on what some of the components of being an Influencer (I don’t blame you…if you don’t do it you don’t know…) and I assure you that my work, while very much something I enjoy doing every day, is much more than a hobby.
      I can see your e-mail address, and from it I know where you spend your time online, and I’d encourage you to do something more productive.

      • Anonymous says
        Posted March 18, 2020

        Hi Kate! Try to ignore the naysayers. They make it their goal to be obnoxious. Thanks for your posts. I really enjoy them! And I’ve been WFH for 6 years! People who don’t blog have no understanding of what goes into it. I think you’ve carved out a nice niche for yourself… and frankly, I’m jealous!!! ; ) Sounds like the previous writer is, too. Touche! LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE & LOVE IT!! AND KEEP THE TIPS COMING! WE LOVE THEM! (And you!!) God bless!

        • Kate says
          Posted March 18, 2020

          Thank you! You are so right!

  21. Posted March 18, 2020

    Great tips for this moment in time!

  22. Jamie says
    Posted March 18, 2020

    We are “shelter in place” here in Northern CA, so I’d love a base adjust tutorial since it’s going to be drugstore DIY hair dye for the foreseeable future. Help, please???

  23. Marie says
    Posted March 18, 2020

    Thanks for these suggestions!

    Also, I’m wondering if you’d be willing to post any tips on trimming kids’ hair. I totally understand why you haven’t done this before, but due to our current situation I may need to start doing this myself. I’ve been trying to watch some videos, but I can’t find super helpful ones. If you’re willing, any advice would be very helpful!

  24. Sara says
    Posted March 18, 2020

    Thank you for putting this together. I am working from home for the first time and these tips make alot of sense. I can’t wait to start implementing them tomorrow.

  25. Andrea says
    Posted March 19, 2020

    Sometimes I also struggle with working from home. You have a lot of things to do and also pay attention for your ‘must-do’s. For me what is working if I do a proper schedule for everything and take breaks! 😀

    x, Andrea
    http://www.andreaferencz.wixsite.com/home

  26. Laura Rising says
    Posted March 20, 2020

    As I begin to try and make my workspace may I ask where your desk is from?

    • Kate says
      Posted March 20, 2020

      IKEA 🙂

  27. Jenn says
    Posted March 20, 2020

    These are great tips. Are those flowers real or fake? I have been looking for quality fake peonies to brighten up my desk so I am hoping you can share a link?

  28. Lisa R says
    Posted March 29, 2020

    Kate, thanks for the tips! I’ve searched and cannot find the link to the light and phone holder you recommended. I’m finding that doing more video meetings means I need better light 💡 Thx!

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