So you’re working from home. It’s everything you dreamed, right? Probably not entirely. While us Yalos have been in the virtual office space for quite some time, the transition does take adjusting. If you’re like most of America—and the world—right now it is baptism by fire.
A friend who set up shop at her kitchen table amongst three small children just posted “it’s like drinking from a fire hose.” With this notion in mind, we thought it would be helpful to share what keeps us afloat in our remote offices. Keeping in mind, there are some new obstacles to overcome right now.
This flexible approach to workspace can have its pros and cons. Below are tips that help our crew thrive in less structured environments.
Setting the Space
If given the opportunity to work remotely, create a work space that gives off good vibes. Ideally, pick a space that provides ample natural light. One study suggests that access to natural light and outdoor views is the #1 most desirable office perk. Not only does natural light boost worker performance but it can also improve your sleep. So be sure to set up shop near a window if possible. When nature permits, bring your laptop outside!
What about the kids? For those working from home with children right now, consider taking conference calls from your car. Those locked doors provide privacy and you have the added bonus of sunlight. Some of us admit we’ve taken calls from our walk-in closets on more than one occasion.
Create a Schedule
One of the biggest benefits of working remotely is the ability to make your own schedule. But make no mistake, even if it changes daily, you need parameters to be optimally efficient—and sane—each day. Try setting a clear start and end time. Get up, put on real pants and enter your remote office around the same time each morning. Schedule lunch and try your absolute hardest not to eat in front of your computer. Your mind and your eyes deserve a break during the day.
Set an end time. It’s easy to get sucked into the get-it-done vortex when you don’t have a physical barrier like an office to leave. But companies that choose to let their employees work virtually do it to provide flexibility. Flexibility does not mean working at all hours of the night when it’s not necessary.
What about the kids? A schedule works well for kids too. Most respond well to structure. Keep it hourly with themes like “creative play” or “quiet time.” Give ownership at meal time by encouraging them to set the table. Find ways for them to get out of the house virtually, through an online tour.
Mix It Up
While studies show that remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts, there are common pitfalls to avoid. For example, remote workers are just that…remote. Not having everyday interactions can be off-putting. So mix it up every once in a while. While social distancing will prevent you from a lunch date or trip to the local coffee shop right now, there are still ways to get much-needed interaction. Video conferencing, positive social posts, webinars or (gasp) picking up the phone to call instead of sending a text.
What about the kids? Exercise. Whether you are in or outside, fitness hubs are offering virtual workouts for all ages. Yoga, running, Crossfit kids and even mediation exercises are streaming and—in most cases—free.
Have some virtual office tips that work for you? Send them our way!