Beware of the refrigerator and 14 other tips for working from home.

CoronaVirus stay-at-home mandates and social distancing are keeping a lot of people from jumping in the car and commuting to the workplace. Welcome to my world. As an early adopter of working from home, I thought now would be a good time to share a few tips, along with do’s and don’ts for you newbies.

For starters:

Get organized. Technology is your new best friend. Use it to organize your day, prioritize tasks, manage time, and increase collaboration with colleagues.

Get dressed. You will be tempted to remain in your PJs or underwear, not comb your hair or forget to brush your teeth. Ick. Put a mirror on your desk and keep yourself looking good enough to take a video call from the boss.

Get a door. Use it. A door will help minimize distractions and keep you focused on the job. Be sure to keep your family members on the other side of the door. If they knock, tell them to go away – preferably without opening the door.

Get up. Working from home may keep you hunkered over the PC for longer hours than usual. Stand periodically and clasp your hands behind your back, palms together, arms extended, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Or better yet, crank up your favorite tune and bust a move (also preferably without opening the door).

Get out. It’s okay to open the door once in a while throughout the day. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go outside for fresh air or spend time with your family or walk the dog. See starter tip number one about getting organized.

Do:

Smile. Did you know people can hear you smile on the phone? Smile in the mirror a few times a day. It will help you stay cheerful and beat the isolation of working alone. You’ll also look better if you’re wearing a smile when it’s time for that video call.

Visit the virtual water cooler. Take a few minutes each day to chat casually with co-workers to keep connected. Give someone else a reason to smile.

Drink all day. No, I don’t mean alcohol. Or coffee. Or soda. Fill your favorite Hydro Flask with water and drink up. It will help you stay alert without the caffeine or sugar crash.

Take a nap. Seriously, a 20-minute power nap or meditation break will do wonders for your energy level. Take advantage of not having to commute by using the time saved to recharge.

Call it a day. The hardest part about working from home and having flexible hours is “going home”. Set work hours, budget your time to complete daily tasks. Did I mention get organized? Then when it’s quittin’ time, go to the other side of the door.

Don’t:

Go it alone. Talk to your colleagues, vendor partners, customers and others in your professional network to share ideas about working from home. Check out Succeeding From Home: Here’s exactly how to thrive as a remote work... posted on our Thought Leadership page for more info and links on how to stay productive based on insights from CEOs, freelancers and experts who have done it.

Be lazy. If you find yourself slacking off or not feeling productive, it’s time to visit the virtual water cooler, take that power nap, or call a time out. Alternatively, change tasks to refocus, or use music to pick up the pace.

Fall into the black hole. The internet is a time suck at the office and even more so at home. Avoid surfing social channels. Turn off the news. Above all: No. Online. Shopping.

Do the laundry. You’ll be tempted to do housework. I know you don’t believe me.

Eat at your desk. Working from home will make it a lot easier to pack on unwanted pounds, especially if you’ve stocked up on your favorite comfort food to get through the CoronaVirus outbreak. It’s super easy to eat an entire family-sized bag of potato chips if you leave it laying on your desk all day. Beware of the refrigerator.

Most importantly, give yourself time to acclimate to the change of work environment and adjust to a new routine. Once you get organized (yes, I say this a lot in this article), your tasks and projects will begin to fall in place and make the transition easier. 

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