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What are the best ways to work from home?

What are the best ways to work from home?

It's fairly common nowadays to see employees working remote. Some of us have been working from home for a long time and some have just started. I've had a few jobs where I've worked remote and over the years I figured out what works best for me. Whether you're a veteran or novice remote worker, here are a few tips that we should all consider while working from home.

 

1. Set your boundaries

If you have kids, a wife/husband, parents, or whatever, it's important to set boundaries around your workspace. I'm the type of person that can get easily distracted in a busy environment, so if I have people coming in and out of my room or calling my name, it's going to be tough to get any work done. The best way to limit these distractions is simple, just tell your family members to kindly leave you alone for however long you work. Ask them to respect your workspace and that you cannot be interrupted. The biggest distraction in my household are my dogs barking. If I have an important call coming up, I'll ask my roommate to put the dogs outside or in their crate until the call is finished. Nobody wants to hear dogs barking on a conference call!

2. Don't have control over your environment, no problem!

If you live in a city, you're more than familiar with the constant construction noises, honking, and all other city sounds that never cease to exist. Thanks to audio and visual technology, we no longer need to worry! One way we can work around these noises is wearing noise cancelling headphones. Noise cancelling technology reduces the sounds and noises heard in your environment. I like to listen to music or podcasts while working. I've also heard that listening to white noise is another way to stay focused in a distracting/noisy environment. So yes, it's very easy to escape the noise in a city while working from home, but what your colleagues listening in on a call. Obviously you can always mute your mic while not speaking, but they'll still hear the noises when you do speak. I recommend getting a cardioid microphone which is essentially a directional microphone. Directional mics will only pick up the sound right in front of the microphone. This means only the sound of our voice will be picked up. They're relatively cheap and you can usually find some decent ones for around $100 or less. I highly recommend investing in one of these if you find yourself in a similar environment.

3. Don't just wear anything

This might seem like a basic tip, but it's actually far more effective than you'd think. Wearing the clothes you'd wear to work is a good habit to get into while working remote. As soon as you change into your work clothes, you'll feel ready to get the day started. Also don't forget to adhere to your standard routine! Whatever you'd do in the morning before commuting to the office, also do while you work from home! It keeps you professional and it keeps you on a normal schedule. You wouldn't wear pajamas or work in your underwear at the office, so why do it at home? There's nothing wrong with working in your pajamas here and there, but make it a habit, and it'll soon begin to negatively affect you. What you wear while working from home has a significant impact on your productivity and work ethic.

4. Keep the camera on

If you're working from home, hopping onto Zoom, and not turning your camera on, you're certainly not alone. For a lot of us, being on camera makes us feel uncomfortable, but keeping your camera on is the best way to maintain human interaction while working from home. Seeing the people you're talking to makes a big difference for your mental and emotional health. Obviously it's not the same as being in person, but it's certainly better than talking to a blank screen.

5. Don't get burnt out

Due to the limited social interaction you'll have at home, you should make an effort to reach out to your colleagues or friends, whether that be via a quick text or call. It's very easy to become invested in your work and forget how many hours have passed. It's great to be productive, but not if it's impacting your personal life. Plan out breaks in the day where you can relax for a bit. We take breaks at work because it helps to refresh our brain, so why not do it at home too? At the end of the day, shut off your pc and leave your workspace until the next workday begins. You don't want to work and spend your free time in the same place. It's called work creep and it's serious. You need to separate yourself from your work so it doesn't eat up your personal life.

 

For a lot of us, working from home is not ideal and we'd prefer to be back in the office. We miss seeing our colleagues in person, we miss going out to lunch, we miss everything that we used to have. This doesn't mean that we have to be miserable why working remote. If we just follow a few of these tips, it'll make our experience a lot more bearable. Take it a day at a time and who knows, maybe you'll be back to working in person sooner than you thought. 

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