Get out of those PJs! 5 Tips for Working from Home

It’s no longer business as usual for most of us as we enter what will now be our new normal for weeks and possibly months ahead. I’ll be putting together tips and resources to help keep you moving forward with your jobs and businesses, pulling from my experiences and sharing what has worked for me, as now is not the time to pause. My Crazy4MeTips goal is to arm you with what you need so you can thrive and not just survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About me: I’ve been working in corporate America as a women in tech for most of my career and my specialty is leadership and leading globally distributed teams to serve customers in many time zones. I’ve lived through and navigated though economic depressions where companies were shutting down and colleagues were lined up receiving pink slips so I know first hand how scary it can be, what can work and how to pivot in times of crisis and uncertainty and know it is absolutely 100% possible to thrive during a crisis and not just survive.

Disclaimer: I am not here giving business advise but sharing what I have learned from my personal experiences and if it can help or benefit you then I am very glad.

In this post I will cover 5 tips to get you working from home:

  • Equipment
  • Workspace setup
  • Getting ready for your day
  • Check-ins
  • Benefits from working at home

1. Your Work from Home Setup

Many of you may have never worked from home full-time and were recently told your place of business is now closed and everyone should work from home as a response to the Corona virus and practicing social distancing. But, are you setup to work from home?

  • Equipment: Do you have the equipment you need to work from home?
  • Laptops/desktops/monitors
  • Access to online collaboration tools and apps
  • Internet bandwidth (is yours adequate for your job function)
  • Headsets or In-ear speakers
  • Telephone

Depending on your job function you will need some of the above or nearly all of the above.  If you are fortunate enough to have a fully stocked IT department then talk to the manager of the help desk and see which of these resources are available to you (an extra monitor or headset can go a log way to make you more efficient as a remote worker).

Does your company use Office 365 or Google G Suite? These are two of the most popular web-based platforms that work on almost any browser and can be accessed by anyone from anywhere (all you need is internet access and a login). Some of the tools and apps these offer are Email, Calendars, Video Conferencing, Slides, Documents and Spreadsheets and many can be collaborated on by multiple people within your team or organization. You can also have instant messaging and VoIP calls (voice over IP).  Please be advised that there may be fees associated with these depending on the level of the account you choose but there are also some free versions.

2. Dedicated workspace: Having a dedicated work from home space is crucial to your success as a remote worker.

Maybe you’ve already been working from the comfort of your couch or bed but those are not long-term solutions, even your cats or dogs keep wanting to cuddle up on you and that is actually not helping your productivity and many times you are sitting twisted or have your legs twisted and that will only lead to you getting injured which will interfere with getting your work done.

A sturdy table or desk with room for your computer and a comfortable chair (if you can get a chair one with good back support, it will go a long way with keeping you comfortable and productive). Also, put your mobile phone away unless you need it for work. You do not need distractions.  Also, put some effort into tidying up around you as you don’t want for example your 2 weeks of piled up laundry to be the standout in your video call with your boss or colleagues.

3. Getting ready for your day: Shower, get out of your sweats and PJs

It is so important to approach your day just like you would if you were commuting to the physical office. Get dressed everyday. Shave, do you hair and makeup like you normally would and put on your business casual outfit. Yes, you can wear slippers or socks. The actions of getting dressed and ready go such a long way with shifting your mindset to work and professionalism when you work from home. Also, this is the time when impromptu virtual meetings might be happening more frequently as many businesses are pivoting their strategies and you may need to appear on webcam more often than before so be ready. 

4. Check-ins: Have daily check-ins with your boss or team

Do you know what you are supposed to be working on? If you are unsure then check in with your boss right away. Depending on the workload or strategy your team/company are executing on, you may need to have daily check-ins for a while as things can change quickly from day-to-day when there is a crisis and then move those to weekly check-ins as urgency shifts. You also want to make sure that you are not left feeling out of touch and forgotten about so the daily check-in is very important. You can have a 15min daily stand up (Prioritizing work can and ensuring everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what is expected of them will go along way in getting the job done.

Make a list and work the list. Now that you know what you need to be working on, you can start by tackling the harder items first. Yep, start with what is hardest first. Getting the harder tasks completed first will ease your mind of the pending ‘to dos’ and actually ease some stress.

5. Benefits from working at home

You can actually be so much more productive when you work from home because for one, you don’t have all the interruptions of being in the office like colleagues who constantly pop by or unnecessary meetings that only chew up time. You can also start your day earlier.

Also, you can have healthier lunches and snacks instead of being in a time crunch and having fast food as your only option. You do want to be mindful and set time aside to actually take a lunch break and move away from your dedicated setup to eat. Eat in your backyard or on your patio (fresh air and daylight are so important) or eat in your kitchen but it is important to not eat at your desk and take an actual lunch break.

Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. If you can get up and take a walk during your day then do so. You need to maintain a healthy mindset and outlook to be a productive teammate and getting outside is great.

Once you log off work for the day, stay logged off. Unless your job function requires you to check in regularly, logoff when you are done as having your home office can be so tempting to go back and put another 1-2 hours in to get ahead of workloads. But separating working and home life is important.

If these tips were helpful please let me know. I’d love to hear form you and also want to hear if you are having specific challenges so I can help you though it.