Working from home is a new reality for many, here are our tips on what to look out for when adjusting to remote work.
Working in your PJs
The idea that what you wear can impact how you feel and act is not a new one. In fact, there are numerous studies done on the topic and it even has a fancy name — “enclothed cognition”. Research suggests that dressing the part helps with cognitive processes like problem solving and abstract thinking, gives you a better chance in negotiations, and can improve focus. Also, there’s data that says dressing up not only helps you be more productive, but it could help others see you as more effective at your job. We’re not saying you have to suit up every day at home, but maybe try switching it up and changing out of those sweatpants you’ve been rocking for 3 days.
Finding the right at-home workspace
Not everyone has the extra room to have a home office and trying to find a place that you can devote to work can be tough. While it can be nice to bounce around different spots at home, having a dedicated “desk” space can help establish a new routine. It’s also nice to have a place where things are set up for all of those video calls. Speaking of which…
All those damn video calls
Whether it’s Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, or another video conferencing tool, video calls have a way of proving Murphy’s Law. Whether your Bluetooth headphones disconnect and you can’t hear anybody, or you got lost in a “Sorry go ahead” / “No you go” loop, or you thought you were muted when you definitely were not, or maybe –just as a totally random example– you have a bookshelf full of nerdy stuff behind you while you’re talking and now you’re just the Lord of Rings Guy in the office, something is probably going to go wrong. I’m sure everyone will just laugh it off and forget, right everyone? Right?Some general tips:
- Use headphones, preferably a set with a mic. Using headphones and not your computer’s built in speaker can help cut down on feedback and make the call a more pleasant auditory experience for everyone involved
- Learn the keyboard shortcuts for the tool you are using to mute/unmute yourself. Check to see if there is a push-to-talk feature to temporarily unmute yourself so you can always be sure that you’re heard when (and only when) you want to be
- If you or others on the call are lagging, try adjusting video settings to a lower resolution or turn your video off when muted to preserve bandwidth
Or YouTube, or Hulu, or Amazon, or social media, or blogs … wait. No. Blogs are good, especially articles that might help improve productivity (remember at the beginning when we talked about science and whatever), or give you tips on fitness and nutrition, or give you a nice dose of motivation.
The point is, having access to essentially the entirety of all entertainment media created in the world at your fingertips with limited supervision is a pretty tempting distraction. Instead, use those shows you need to catch up on as a way to unwind after a full, productive day.
Working with your own kitchen just steps away makes it all too easy to find yourself checking the fridge for an afternoon snack, or maybe even a second breakfast. Definitely take time during the day to fuel up, or use snack breaks as a reward for crossing items off your to-do list (studies show small, immediate rewards for completing tasks can improve productivity and enjoyment at work) but make sure you have some structure to avoid breaking up your work time too much.
You’re not as active working from home
Working from home can seriously limit the amount of physical activity you get in a day, especially when you can’t get to a gym. Luckily there are tons of easy-to-find workouts you can do with little to no equipment needed online. You can even try this bodyweight workout from us, or check out our daily live workouts on Instagram. If you’re looking for something more structured we have you covered: we partnered with OpenFit to create a streamable workout program, T-Minus 30.
It can be hard to find a balance
Adjusting to working from home can be hard. One of the hardest parts is knowing when and how to go from working at home to just being at home. One way to overcome this is to find different cues to define when work starts and when it ends. Those cues could be anything: getting dressed for work, taking a short walk, putting shoes on, sitting down at your dedicated workspace, whatever works for you. The important thing is that it is consistent. Equally important is leaving work alone when work time is over to the extent that you are able.
The lines between work and personal life are blurry when working from home. Think about what you need to keep yourself happy and healthy, communicate that to your coworkers, your boss, or your team and then stick to it.