In light of this whole Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions, many companies are sending their employees to work from home, if possible. Lots of these individuals are not used to this and therefore may need some guidance on how to stay productive when working from home.
Thankfully, my job is very flexible with me and allows me to work remote from time to time. I work an 8-5 at an enterprise in which my typical work duties include:
- responding to emails
- attending meetings via Skype or in-person
- conducting analysis on Excel
- creating presentations
- and more, but you get the picture right?
I’ve been doing this for several years now so have learned some pros and cons and will share with you all my best working from home tips and the one resource to help you through it. These will help you stay productive and continue business as usual. In fact, you might not even want to return back to the office after this! ?
Pros & Cons to Working From Home
Liked mentioned, I have learned the pros and cons to working from home for my day-job. In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons and I LOVE working from home.
But let’s begin with the bad news, the cons. I’ll then finish this off on a good note before moving onto the working from home tips.
Working From Home Cons
Alright so as you go through these cons, do NOT get freaked out. There is always light at the end of the tunnel so keep reading! The pros are way better than these cons!
Increased utilities bills (electricity, water).
I would say this is probably the worst con on this list. Yes it’s true that working from home means that you cannot turn off your AC and some lights. It also means you are using your own water when in the kitchen and in the bathroom. The increased amount varies depending on other measures you take to help reduce the impact.
Possibly no office setup (no monitors).
If you were in at an office, you probably have a duo monitor setup at your desk. Therefore, if you are not used to working remote all the time, you may not have an office setup or even have additional monitors. But at least you’re not exposing yourself and putting your health at risk at the office right? ?
Have to drink your own coffee.
Ah yes, most of us office geeks are coffee drinkers. I know I am! ??♀️ And because office employees love coffee, most offices have one or several coffee machines in their break area. So working from home means we no longer get access to free work coffee ☕. But you know what? That’s okay because our coffee at home is probably better anyways!
Working From Home Pros
Now onto my favorite, the pros and the reasons why I love working from home so much!
Don’t have to spend time driving to work.
This one is by far, the best one in my opinion. My drive isn’t as bad as many of my colleagues who have to drive an hour one-way, but it’s definitely a time saver! The time you get back from not having to drive can be used in a different way. Do you want to sleep in a bit longer? Or perhaps, now is your chance to start that morning workout. Regardless, this is at least an hour given back to you. Plus, I HATE sitting in traffic so it’s a double win for me!
Get to work in your pajamas or comfy clothing.
So not going to lie, this is probably contradicting what some of the other posts are telling you. But this is my personal preference and have seen no difference in my productivity level by not getting dressed as if I were going to work. I love being able to lounge around and work in something comfortable versus my usual business casual attire. I even slum down a bit at the office on Casual Fridays. ? So this one is really up to you and if you’re new to working from home – you can test both ways out and see which you like best.
No toll fees or wasting gas for the drive to work.
Did I already say how great it is not having to drive for work? Well, here’s ANOTHER reason why it’s so awesome to work from home. One avoid paying toll fees for trying to reduce your traffic time (in addition to having zero traffic for staying home). And two, you don’t waste gas hence spending less money on gas that can be used towards those increasing electricity bills. And depending on how far you work, this could be a hefty amount of monthly cash!
Easy access to bathroom.
Depending on how big your office is, you may have a short or long walk to the bathroom. The number of stalls and number of people in your building also varies. For me, it’s a solid 2-min walk, which I know isn’t bad unless I really need to go and I have to take a call in 4 minutes. Sometimes we have back to back calls and meetings so we end up having to hold it in. Now, you’ll only have a under 30 seconds walk to your bathroom and guaranteed no line to wait in. Plus you get to use the restroom in peace (you know what I mean).
No in-person meetings.
Yup, another one of the great benefits (especially during Coronavirus) is that you won’t have any in-person meetings. This means less exposure and less health risk for yourself and the others. Plus, most meetings can be held over the phone. I agree that some specific meetings have better outcomes in person but during this time of crisis, we have to be able to adapt. I personally don’t mind them but also don’t miss them. ?
Break room aka kitchen to yourself.
Ahhh now you finally don’t have to worry about avoiding the mid-day rush hour in the break room. No more waiting in line to heat up your food and possibly not having a place to sit. Or how about having to move someone’s lunchbox over slightly to squeeze yours in? You know you’ve done it. You no longer have to worry about packing your lunch the night before because you can prepare it when you’re ready to eat. Now, you’ll now have the kitchen to yourself and your meal possibilities are endless!
Related Post: Productive Things To Do At Home While Working
Working From Home Tips
Now that you know the pros and cons to working from home, let’s talk about some useful tips. These tips on how to work from home will help you stay productive and effective.
Develop a new morning routine to start your day.
Not going to lie, there will be some adjusting to get used to and some things will change. So plan out and develop a new morning routine to start your day. Think about the extra time you are getting back from not having the drive to work and decide how you want to best use this time.
Do you want to sleep in? Do a quick 30-minute workout? Read a book? Lay in bed and relax? Or perhaps you can begin work early to be done earlier as well? Think about it and implement it.
Setup a home workstation.
You’re probably used to working at a desk so it may be difficult if you to work if you don’t have one at home. But take a look around and use what you have to create your temporary workstation. This could mean setting up on the counter or at the end of the dining table.
However, you areee at home so might as well try to be as comfortable as possible. Another option is to get this inexpensive laptop stand so you can work from anywhere in the house including your bed or couch! It comes with bottom cushion and a great surface for ventilation. It even has a phone slot and mouse pad for convenience. Seriously, this laptop stand will make it soo much easier to work comfortably on your couch!
Purchase a headpiece if you don’t have one.
Like I said, I spend a significant amount of time in meetings and on calls. We use Skype for Business and have no landline, everything is done through out laptops. So for me, it’s essential to have a solid headpiece. I use the Plantronics Voyager Legend and it works great!
This headpiece is wireless and connects straight to my laptop via Bluetooth (no cord or USB required). It also comes in a portable charging case and the battery life is amazing! I turn it off every time I’m not using it so the battery could last days, depending on how frequently it’s used. So I do recommend you purchase this headpiece and if possible, request a reimbursement from your company since it will be used for business.
Schedule some movement breaks.
I know it can be hard to get up and move around when you are in the zone. This is even hard at the office but it gets worse at home. So make sure to schedule some movement breaks while you’re working. Pretend you’re at the office and stay moving the same amount of time you would as if you were there.
Need another cup of coffee? Instead of walking a few feet to your coffee pot, walk around the kitchen and living room to stretch your legs. Same thing when you go to the bathroom. Or better yet – you’re in the comfort or your own home where no one can see you so get up and do some stretches or quick 10-min yoga sessions to keep your blood flowing. It’ll also help you stay awake and keep the productivity up. ??
Throw your clothes in the laundry.
While you’re at home, might as well get some laundry going. There is no need to wait until the end of the work day when you know you’re not going to put it away right away anyways. ? This is of course, if you don’t have electric washer and dryers with a “savings at night” type of plan. But here at my house we have gas electronics so letting our clothes wash and dry during the day while I work is perfect. It also gives me a reason to get up and move away from my at-home workstation.
Eliminate distractions as much as possible.
Even though you are in the comfort of your own home, you need to remember that you are working. Right now is not the time to turn on Netflix and watch TV with your laptop open. It will be a distraction that takes away your focus from your work. This isn’t true for music though as music actually helps many people perform better and help eliminate other outside distractions.
So any other distractions that could cause you to lose focus from your work should be eliminated as much as possible. Especially in times of crisis, there may be more pressure now at your job to get things finalized so you reallyyyy don’t want to lose focus!
Open the blinds and keep lights off.
In efforts to keep electricity costs down as much as possible, keep all possible lights off when not in use. This includes the lights for the room next to you and if possible, the room you’re in! If you have blinds, open them. Perhaps the amount of sunlight coming through is enough to brighten up the room and keep the lights off. If not, brainstorm other ways to help keep your additional utility costs to a minimum.
Set ground rules with members in the household.
I know, this one is probably the hardest one on the list (especially if those little members are your kids). However, it’s important to help them understand the situation and that just because you are home, doesn’t mean you are not working. Depending on the age group of the family members, you may want to host a quick gathering to explain to them what to do and what not to do while you work.
Don’t rush this one. Take some time to think how your household members can help you maintain a productive work schedule while working from home. Each family and household is different and therefore, you will know how to best break it to them. And if they’re little ones, perhaps a reward them at the end of a certain time period for letting you work!
You Got This!
So there you have it. All the pros and cons along with tips to staying productive while working from home! Now you don’t have to worry about feeling ineffective or worrying about getting sent home to work. Plus you’ll know how to impress your boss by adapting to this unexpected change so well! It’s a win-win!
Have you worked from home before? What do you like or not like about it? Are there any additional pros, cons or tips I should add? Please drop a comment below as I would love to hear from you!