Struggling with Working from Home? Try These Tips!
The team at healthfinch has been fortunate enough to be able to work from home long before the COVID-19 stay at home orders went into place. Our workforce spans from California to Massachusetts and Florida to Minnesota, though we also maintain a physical office in Madison, WI where a few employees reside. Even in Madison, employees are encouraged to work where they are most comfortable and productive - whether that’s at the office, their home, or a coffee shop.
Since we’ve been a remote-first company since our inception in 2011, we’ve learned a thing or two about working outside a typical office setting. Here are our tips for anyone new to working from home.
Set up a dedicated space
This was a must-do from every one of our contributors. It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need to have a separate room, however, to work from home. Just look at these workspace tips from our team!
Make sure that others in your household know where your workspace is so they don’t interrupt you.
Find a spot in your home that you can look out the window and work at the same time, if that inspires you. If being near a window would be a distraction, find an interior space in your house.
Don’t sit on your bed or couch with your laptop. It won’t get you into work mode and will make it hard to shift from work mode to relaxing/sleep mode later on.
My husband and I live in a small one-bedroom apartment, so we had to get creative with our space. I created a cozy workspace on my porch so I can take meetings when he’s also in meetings.
If space allows, separate your workspace from your home space so that you don’t always feel like you’re at the office or thinking about work every time you walk past your computer.
Stick to a schedule
Go through your normal pre-work routine. Change out of pajamas, shower, have a cup of coffee - whatever you would normally do before going into the office. It helps shift yourself into work mode. Be sure to also take a lunch break away from your computer, as you would if you were in the office.
Start the day by listing out the three most important things to accomplish that day. Book time on your calendar and commit to getting it done during your calendar block(s).
Coordinate your schedule with others
Talk with your partner, roommate or children about your schedules. Let them know when you’ll be on calls or otherwise unavailable. If possible, have a physical way to signal so you’re not interrupting each other.
Discuss with your team/co-workers which meetings are required vs optional so that you have a shared understanding about when it might be okay to skip a meeting if you aren’t able to give full attention.
Ensure you comply with your organization’s security requirements
Being in healthcare, ensure you and your team know what applications and tools are okay for PHI when working from home.
Remember to keep your laptop secure and be sure to lock your screen when not in use. While you can hopefully trust those you live with, you never know when a pet or young child might accidentally push some keys they shouldn’t have!
Some additional tips
Build a playlist of songs to listen to while working. Try different genres for different moods and projects you may be working on.
Put away the candy and try to keep yourself from accessing “bad snacks.” Make yourself a good breakfast and food prep some healthy items for different parts of your day so you’re not reaching for the chocolate by the afternoon!
Find some excuse to get out of the house, even if just for a walk around the block.
Get some good noise-canceling headphones. This will help drown out any other sounds and help you stay focused.
Crack open a nearby window for some fresh air, take a couple of deep breaths and allow the sounds of nature to help you tackle your next project!
Schedule virtual happy hours so you can reconnect and recharge with peers during off-work hours. Or set up a fun event like a steps challenge with your co-workers, which helps encourage people to take breaks from their screen and creates some friendly competition.
Are you managing a remote staff? Check out this blog article for additional tips and considerations.
A big thanks to our contributors!