Can a person learn how to work from home and love it? I believe that you can and after you read this post you will believe it as well!
With the craziness of COVID-19 or random natural disasters, it is becoming easier to see more and more people working from home. For some, this is a temporary option. For others, it may become a permanent way of life. In both cases it’ll take some adjustment.
I am here to help you sort through some things you may want to consider, to make the transition easier. Let’s get to it.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life. You want a quality long life.
This post may contain affiliate links, so if you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please see my full disclosure here.
Related Post: 15 Positive Thinking Tips To Help You Succeed
Set Up Your Work From Home Office
You need a place to work that is dedicated to work, just like you need a place to prepare food or to sleep. You will get more done using the “right tools for the job”, so to speak.
The question is, how can you set up an effective home office environment? First, answer this question:
How long will you be working from home?
The first thing you need to think about is how long you’ll be working from home.
If it’s only a very short period of time, it would be pointless investing in an entire home office set up. In this situation, it would be better to invest in just the essentials.
However, if you have the budget it could be worth setting up a permanent home office. That way, you’ll always have somewhere set up to work at home if needed.
Making sure you have the right equipment
You’re going to need a laptop or desktop computer and a desk or surface to work from.
If you aren’t setting up a permanent home office, you can use a kitchen table or set up a makeshift office in your bedroom.
Some people are even getting creative and using the top of a chest freezer as a stand-up desk option.
Let other family members or roommates know that this your work area during the hours that you’ve set for work. This will help bring some normalcy to your situation.
Ensure the space has plenty of natural sunlight
When you work indoors, you won’t be getting as much natural sunlight as you usually might. This can have an impact on how productive and motivated you are.
Numerous studies have revealed the damaging impact limited natural daylight can have on worker’s in an office setting and the same applies at home.
If there isn’t a space available, you might want to consider investing in a daylight bulb. These are designed to replicate natural daylight.
Or take a five minute break every hour outside (weather permitting) to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
Focus on comfort
Your home office should also be a comfortable place for your work, but that doesn’t just mean working in p.j’s or sweatpants. Be sure to provide yourself plenty of support for your back if you’re working at a makeshift desk for example.
If you aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to get much work completed. You’ll also find it beneficial to surround yourself with things that make you happiest, such as photos of the family and plants or flowers.
Play some relaxing and work inducing music if you have it. I like spa music myself, but you may find invigorating exercise-type music helps you get your work done.
Easy Work From Home Time Management Hacks
Those of us sheltering in place may not be used to the level of freedom that you get from working from home. This can be problematic for accomplishing work tasks, but doesn’t have to be.
How can you get everything you need to get done completed when there are increased distractions to contend with? Plan ahead for them!
Multi tasking is ideal for computers, but not so much for working. It takes more time to complete two tasks if you work on them at the same time. A great explanation of why this is is available from Directive.com.
It’s common to try to multitask when you’re working at home.
Whether it’s trying to work on two different projects at the same time or trying to work and take care of the kids, multi-tasking can prove detrimental to your productivity.
Instead, you’ll need to focus on just one task at a time. When you focus on just one thing, it makes you far more productive. Similarly, grouping similar tasks together can help you to complete them much quicker.
Set deadlines that are realistic
A good time management tip when you’re working from home, is to set realistic deadlines. Get a decent planner and block out chunks of time for each task.
My favorite planner comes from this website.
Use my link to get $5 off of anything in the shop. This planner makes time blocking super easy.
You’ll want to compile a list of the most important tasks you need to complete that day. Then, work on them in order.
Be sure to note when you’ve completed tasks. This gives you a mental boost, because some days it may not seem like you are getting much done.
Set yourself a specific amount of time for each task.
You’ll find this really helps to keep you focused on the job at hand.
Try Google calendar for time blocking. You can set alarms when it is time to switch tasks and you’ll get an audible notification on your desktop to keep you on track..
When you work to deadlines, it helps you to get more work done in a shorter timescale. Quit your task when the time is up and move on to the next task.
You will be much less likely to check things such as social media if you know you only have a set amount of time to complete what you’re working on.
Take advantage of productivity tools
If you take a look online, you’ll find a lot of productivity tools available. Many of these are free to use and they help to boost productivity when working remotely.
Trello – I use this free tool daily to keep track of pins that I’ve scheduled to Pinterest, for keeping track of goals, and for project planning.
Asana – Another work management tool, much like Trello.
Basecamp – Another collaboration tool.
Task management tools are especially great for productivity.
They enable you to keep in touch with the team, organize tasks and see exactly what needs to be completed. You can create a group work space so that everyone has access to the same project.
These tools enable you to better utilize your time, ensuring you get the most important tasks done first.
One of the biggest challenges you’re going to face in terms of time management, is distractions from others in your home.
Whether it’s your kids phone ringing, social media notifications are pinging, or the television is just a bit loud, it’s easy to procrastinate with so many distractions around you.
This is why it’s really important to work in a quiet space away from distractions. You could also purchase noise cancelling headphones to ensure you don’t get distracted by surrounding noise while you’re trying to work.
How To Be Productive Working at Home
As convenient and beneficial as working from home can be, it can also prove to be damaging to productivity.
The trouble is, up until now, you’ve associated your home as a space for relaxing. So, it can be difficult switching to a more productive mindset when you’re in the comfort of your home.
The good news is, there are ways to boost your productivity when remote working. Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to stay productive when working at home.
De-clutter your work space
You’re going to find it hard to stay productive if your workspace is cluttered. So, before you start, take time to clean up the area you’re planning on working in.
Get rid of any clutter and organize the space. Put all your sticky notes together or stick them in your new planner.
Get rid of dry or broken pens and sharpies. Dust your monitor or screen and shake the crumbs from your keyboard.
The cleaner and tidier the space is, the easier you’ll find it to focus on your work.
Take breaks outside, weather permitting
Suddenly being cooped up in the house all day can be detrimental to productivity. It can cause issues with low mood and leave you feeling less motivated to get through your workload.
By taking regular breaks and making time to walk around outside, you can really boost your productivity levels. Spend just 10-15 reading a book outdoors to help refresh productivity levels.
Always prepare for the day ahead
When you go out to work, you know there’s things you need to do to get ready for the day. You have a routine which prepares you for work.
However, when you start working from home you don’t really have that.
Create a morning routine that is similar to your normal work routine. Get up at your normal time, have breakfast and coffee, get dressed even if it’s in your sweats.
And remember to take breaks away from your “office” area.
Utilize the power of nature
Did you know that plants and flowers can help you to feel more motivated? Adding them into your workspace can help to brighten up the working environment.
Numerous studies have shown how effective greenery can be within an office environment. So, if you want an easy way to stay productive, add a few houseplants and flowers to your home office. Here is a useful PDF from elca.info that illustrates these benefits.
You can also utilize the power of scent too, in the form of essential oils.
In some countries, workplaces spray citrus scents to boost employee productivity. We can use a diffuser with a nice citrus blend. I use essential oil blends from Saje, and my favorite is Liquid Sunshine.
Try experimenting with different scents to see which ones make you work more efficiently.
Taking regular breaks away from your computer are important, not just for productivity but for your health too.
Don’t forget self care at home
You may be frazzled in the early days, what with setting up a work space, maybe a school space, and trying to work around family.
Yes, you need to take breaks and create some normalcy for your day. But don’t forget to do things just for you.
Self care can include a relaxing bubble bath or getting someone to rub your shoulders.
Get some fresh flowers for your work space and eat your lunch using your good china (can’t do that at the office!).
Keep track of the items that you have completed and congratulate yourself for all that you are getting done!
Tech That Helps When You’re Working from Home
When you’re working from home, there are a lot of challenges you need to contend with. Reduced productivity, time management and motivation can all be problematic when you’re trying to get work done. However, the good news is there are things available out there which can help.
If you are sheltering at home with your entire family, you may need to upgrade your internet so that everyone has a decent connection.
Nothing is worse than losing connection in the middle of your Zoom meeting.
A decent router
As you’ll be relying upon the internet to work from home, it’s important to make sure you have a good router. If you’ve had your existing router for a while now, you might want to consider upgrading.
The more reliable and modern your router is, the less likely it’s going to cause issues when you’re working from home.
So, if your router is pretty old, consider asking your provider to send a newer one. Or, you can invest in one yourself if need be.
Another thing you’re going to need is network security. This is especially true if you work within a data sensitive industry.
At the very least, you’ll want to get a VPN set up so you can work privately away from the prying eyes of hackers.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it can change or ‘mask’ your IP address so that hackers can’t get your work info.
What you are doing is connecting to a server in another location and then browsing from that connection.
Hackers will think you are in that country, so if they are targeting USA IP addresses, they will pass you by.
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got good virus protection in place. The latest internet security will help to keep you safer while working from home.
You don’t need a huge budget, although it’s best not to opt for the cheapest security software.
Noise cancelling headphones
Noise can be a real problem when you’re trying to work at home. So, to block it out you might want to consider investing in a pair of noise cancelling headphones.
This will help you to better focus on your workload and drown out any distractions such as the TV.
Obviously, it’s going to be hard to use noise cancelling headphones if you have kids to look after. However, you could always use them while the kids are busy watching a film or having a nap.
Did you know there’s some great online tools you can use when you’re working from home? Task management software is especially useful, and you can use a lot of it absolutely free.
You have a number of options when it comes to task management software such as Asana, Basecamp and Trello. Make sure you compare the different tools available before choosing the best one for your needs.
Know where to spend and where you can cut back, such as with free online tools.
Work At Home With Kids and Other Distractions
One thing you’re going to have to master when you work from home, is minimizing distractions. However, if you are homeschooling at the same time, you may become frazzled trying to do everything.
This is a good time to minimize other distractions, like t.v. and social media.
Below, you’ll discover some great tips to help you deal with distractions when working from home.
I have more tips in my post Transitioning To Work From Home.
Create a home school area in a different room, if possible
It depends on who is doing the teaching, but you may want your children working on their projects away from where you may need to take a video meeting.
Join your family at break times, to catch up and enjoy meals together.
Consider working in various parts of the home
It’s common to set aside just one place to work from. However, did you know you may find it more productive to work in various areas of the home?
It’s all about adding variety into your new working environment. Some days, the spare room may be the best place to get work done.
Other times, you may find it more beneficial to work on the dining room table or in the back yard, especially if you are home schooling and you want your kids to get outside more as well.
Don’t limit yourself to where you can work, mix it up and watch your productivity levels increase.
Add a little background music
This tip might not be useful to everyone, but many professionals claim working with background music on can limit their distractions.
You’ll want to focus on calming music, rather that something that makes you want to sing along.
Alternatively, listening to podcasts and audio books in the background can also work well. So, if you struggle with productivity, try adding a little background noise and see if that helps.
Use the distractions as a reward
Distractions don’t have to be a bad thing. They can be used to reward yourself after completing work tasks.
For example, if you love catching up with your favorite shows, allow yourself the opportunity to watch something after completing a project.
Same with your social media; once you’ve completed a task off your to-do list, reward yourself with a short period of time scrolling your feed.
Using distractions as a reward can help to keep you focused and boost your motivation to get your work done.
Check email less often than you want to
Checking emails is important when you work from home. However, it can also take up a lot of time. So, you’ll want to limit how many times you check them during the day.
Ideally, you’ll want to check them first thing in a morning, then after you’ve completed each task you’re working on.
Turn off notifications
Finally, a great tip is to turn off those notifications. Social media, news and app notifications can all prove really distracting when you’re working from home. So, turn them off until after work to boost productivity.
It’s not always easy limiting distractions when you work from home. However, the above are some of most effective tips you can follow to deal with the distractions that may crop up.
What to Do When You Don’t Have Supportive Employers or Managers
During difficult times, it is crucial employers are transparent and supportive with their employees. So, what can you do if yours isn’t?
Here, you’ll discover some of the key steps you can take if you feel you aren’t being fully supported.
Let them know how you feel
The first step you should take if you feel your employer or manager isn’t being supportive, is to talk to them. This can be intimidating, but your employer may not even realize how you feel.
It’s a good idea to write down what you want to say.
Try and think of ways you feel they could be more supportive too. If they ask you what you’d like them to do or how they could help, having a list of options will be useful.
Team up with other coworkers
If you don’t get anywhere after talking to your employer, it’s worth teaming up with your coworkers. Chances are, they are being treated in the same manner.
There is a lot of power in numbers. So, if your coworkers are also experiencing the same issues, you’ll stand a better chance of changing how you are being treated if you stand together.
Again, try and talk to your employer together, or if that fails try and speak to someone higher up in the company.
Talk to HR if you need to
While your manager is usually the person you talk to when you experience problems, you can also speak to HR. If you are experiencing an issue with your employer, they are the people you should turn to first.
There will be policies which need to be followed and it’s the HR teams’ job to make sure they are implemented.
So, any issues need to be reported to them as quickly as possible.
Search for a new job
If all else fails and your employer still isn’t being supportive, it could be worth seeking new employment. In the current economic situation that may sound impossible.
However, if you’re at home it’s never been a better time to search for alternative employment. Consider taking online courses if you need to top up your skills. This will make you more employable once you’re ready to make the switch.
The pandemic or emergency situation won’t last forever. We are all learning how to live and work a new way, so give yourself some grace in this situation.
Take time to figure out how to make things work for everyone in your home so that the situation is tolerable for all. This will make working at home more successful.
To quote Stephen Covey: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!