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  • Writer's picturecarolineswiftholden

Five Essentials of How to Work From Home

Hello nearly every human in the world, and welcome to remote working! As an entrepreneur and freelancer, I’ve been working remotely for the last several months, and I’m so excited to have SO many new friends working with me!

All jokes aside, getting used to working from home can be a challenge, especially when you have a full house! Below, I’ve written my five essentials of how to work from home, while also keeping sane.

Try to Maintain Your Normal Routine

Wake up when you normally wake up OR (if you used to have an hour plus commute) let yourself sleep in for no longer than 45 minutes and establish a new morning routine! Take things that you normally do at work, and translate them to the home office.

Always eat lunch at 1:00? You can do that at home!

Always drink coffee after the first hour of work? Do that at home!

Spend a few minutes gossiping after lunch before going back to work? Send a few text/slack messages to your favorite teammates, but set a timer on your phone so that you don’t end up chatting all afternoon long!

Keeping your routine will help make everything feel a little more normal, and should also help you feel more productive. Don’t forget to take a couple breaks and stand up during the day!!

Create New Wellness Opportunities

Okay, the biggest changes you’re going to be experiencing working from home are going to be:

  • Lack of social interaction

  • Not moving for hours at a time

In a normal work environment, you typically have to walk at some point for commuting or attending various meetings. At home, you’re going to quickly discover the Covid-19+ lbs if you don’t act fast!

Find opportunities to exercise, and if you can, try to move around a few times during the workday. Taking a walk around the park, doing some Zumba or Yoga in your bedroom, or biking on your fancy Peloton bike is a great way to help keep your mind active and focused while also keeping off those pounds.

One of the key differences to normal working from home (and self isolation) is that our stress levels are up and we don’t have the opportunity to see many friends and family members. Make time for activities that will make you feel better, and relax your brain a bit that aren’t necessarily screen related.

If you love listening to podcasts or music on your morning commute, find time to listen and let your mind wander! Develop a meditation practice to help calm your anxiety or call/facetime your friends. Create small goals to accomplish everyday that are designed to make you and the people you love happy!

Recently, I’ve made a goal to call three friends a day, and I’ve been amazed and how much that has cheered me up.

Create a Designated Workspace

One of the biggest things you want to do to lower stress while working in your home is having some sort of a “separate” work space.

Now, if you’re a New Yorker like me, this is pretty hard due to lack of space. So, what do you do? Create an assigned spot for work, an assigned spot for fun and an assigned spot for relaxation.

In my home, the dining table is our very cool “co-working space,” our couch/favorite chairs are our “fun” places to hang, and our bed is our relaxation area. They may all be within the same 500 square feet, but separating the spaces will definitely help!

If you’re lucky enough to have lots of space in your home: First of all, I’m VERY jealous, and secondly: use this to your advantage! Curate a space just for you: make it comfortable, but not too relaxed. You want to feel professional, but don’t be afraid to personalize it! You’re going to spend a lot of time in there, make it a place you WANT to go to, not a place to dread!

Need ideas? Pinterest “Home Offices.” You may find those spaces are far more manicured than necessary but you’ll definitely get ideas of what’s possible in your new office!

Create a “Film Set” for your Video Calls

If you’re making a LOT of video calls, you want your space to look professional. Create a designated space where you plan to film regularly and make sure that there is nothing potentially embarrassing behind where you’ll be seated. If you’re creative and want to play with it, feel free to show off and make your backgrounds look really cool!

Another thing that many people don’t usually think about is lighting.

Lighting will make or break any video call. Make sure your home is well lit so that your face is easy to see! It doesn’t need to be perfect, you just don’t want to have your face completely in shadow! Feel free to move around your lamps to funny positions in your office and try to make sure there are no windows directly behind you!

Video calling all day long and really want to show off? Google lights that Youtubers use. They range from very cheap to very pricey but all of them will definitely make you and your office look great!

Before Video Chats: Triple Check on Your Co Workers

Before getting on a video chat or phone call, quickly check in on any pets, children, or husbands that you have nearby. Trust me, when you’re living and working in tight quarters doing some last minute checks to make sure that you’re in a safe and quiet space can be a life saver.

In the last week alone, I may or may not have now had two phone interviews interrupted: first, by my husband who received an unexpected work call, and second, by my cats who were clearly eager to recreate the final fight scene between Scar and Simba in the Lion King. Luckily, my interviewers did not notice the distractions, but they definitely threw me off just a little bit!

Final Thoughts

Those are my five essentials on how to work from home! If they seem overwhelming, try not to fret too much about it. Some of these things are easy to execute, and some of these (like lighting for video calls or decorating your office) are not high priority items and can be implemented later. There’s no rush and ALL of us are adjusting to this wild new world we live in!

My hope for you is that by implementing at least some of these ideas you can have a smooth transition from working in a traditional office setting to working from home. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write in the comments below or reach out to me directly! I’m always very happy to chat!

I wish you all the best of luck in rocking this switch to remote work. Remember to be safe, and keep your chin up! We will all get through this together: even if we’re a little bit at a distance!

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