COVID-19 changed the way we view work culture. After being forced to work from home as early as last March, many people want to continue that trend and work from home permanently.
The benefits of remote work are well documented—no commute means more time in your day, and with Zoom and other technologies, you can be just as productive as you were in the office.
If your company allows permanent remote or hybrid work, you’ll need some pointers to make the long-term shift. I polled my network of long-time remote workers and compiled the latest research for the best tips for working from home.
Prioritize Your Office Space
When shifting to a permanent WFH situation, your home office is essential. But how do you turn a temporary position into a long-term solution? The experts at Forbes give their best tips below:
Separate ‘work you’ from ‘home you.’
Any way you slice it, you’ve got to be able to get away from your office. If possible, try to only work in a specific room that you can close at the end of the day. If your home layout doesn’t allow that, consider flexible furniture that you can break down at the end of the workday. You could even install a curtain if you’re working in a studio apartment that will help separate work and living space (and keep you from working until midnight).
Make sure your desk and chair are comfortable.
In an office environment, human resources (HR) is responsible for making sure that your desk and chair won’t hurt your back. At home, you’ve got to prioritize those things yourself. Consider upgrading your seating to ensure proper ergonomics (i.e., stop working from the couch or kitchen stool!)
Brighten things up.
Your workspace should be inviting. Add some art, a houseplant, or other light colors to the space to make coming to work less of a chore. If you can, place your desk near a window or natural light source.
Hone in on Communication
- Invest in good software: Whether you choose Slack, Teams, Monday or Asana—there are plenty of project management software programs available to use. Pick one and stick to it to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
- Check-in regularly: Check in with your team members a few times per week (if not daily). Regular communication is the secret to success when it comes to productivity and efficiency.
- Turn your video on: It’s easy to forget that there’s a person on the other side of the screen. While it can be tempting to go “video off” for your meetings, seeing each other’s faces helps pick up cues and understand tone. It also feels more like a regular meeting. (To refine your video chat appearance, check out our Zoom meeting tips).
Create a Routine
Routines are vital when making the switch to working from home permanently. Experts from The Next Web shared their best tips for creating your permanent routine, entirely commute free:
- Wake up at the same time every day.
- Choose (and stick to) your working hours.
- Exercise (whether it’s a walk, weights session, or a run outside).
- Shower and get dressed.
- Create a daily to-do list.
- Schedule in your breaks.
Make Social Interaction a Priority
Strong social connections make us happier—and according to research from the University of Oxford, being happy can make you 13 percent better at your job. If you’re working from home, the chances are that you’re not getting the social interaction that you used to get at the office. (No more water cooler or coffee breaks).
Make a point to reach out to your fave coworkers throughout your day, even if it’s just to share a joke, send a meme, etc. Isolation can set in quickly and you may not even realize it. Those small interactions go a long way!
Maximize Your Hours
Remember all that time that you used to spend commuting, getting to and from the office? You’ve just gained all that time back. It’s easy to replace that time with more work or household chores. But instead, think of the things that you’ve always wanted to do—read more, spend time with your family, pursue a hobby, etc. Use those commuting hours to pursue those passions. Working from home is an incredible opportunity, so make sure that you don’t miss out.
Work From Home Permanently and Become Your Best Self
The WFH shift will truly change your life. But it does take time to adjust. Don’t just let your days slide by or get buried in work. Be mindful of your time; set up a workspace and schedule that allows you to work when you’re “at work” and unplug and enjoy free time afterward.
If you’re feeling worn-out, you’re not alone! This shift can be tough and take time, try our WFH tips to avoid burnout.