I started in inside sales where I went to an office every day. It was easy to stand up, tap a shoulder and ask, “Hey! Want to grab lunch?” or “Can you help with…?”. Then a year later I moved to Portland, OR only knowing one person in the entire city and started working from home. At that time I realized, I’ll be isolated. My self-discipline and habits will be more important than ever.
After recently on-boarding with Clari, I was speaking with two colleagues who went through new hire training with me. Both were curious about any tips I had since it was their first time working from home full-time. Under the rapidly increasing mandates of working from home, here are the most important tips I’ve learned.
Get up, shower, and get ready.
It’s easy to stay in your pajamas or throw on sweats. Habit is important. Start the day as if you were going to the office. This will get your momentum rolling to tackle your day. I suggest before you start replying to emails or getting on your first meeting/call write the main things you need to accomplish for the day and week. It will lay a foundation for you to stay focused on your most important tasks.
Learn who and where your resources are located.
It’s easy to be in an office and ask the people around you for answers. But if you’re a parent or pet parent, I promise your child or dog will not be able to answer your questions. The best tactics I have learned include knowing the people in different areas of your company (marketing, finance, sales, etc.). Understand who can help answer your questions, or may point you in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to ask. Navigating your internal resources can increase your productivity and minimize frustrations while at home.
Never turn on the TV.
Hands down one of my favorite stories. I asked one of my best friend’s dad, who was a Medical Device rep for 20+ years, “What are tips from working from home?” He replied, “Jay, I can’t stress this enough. Never turn on the TV. Before you know, you’re on the sofa watching the SF Giants game, 4 beers down, 3 hours have passed, and you have done squat. And no this isn’t from experience, I just have a buddy…” Distractions are easy but don’t tempt yourself.
Chores are not done during working hours.
“You work from home, honey. Can’t you do the dishes before I get home?” The simple answer is, No. Communicate with your loved ones, roommates, significant other, partner, etc what your work expectations are. Frame your day as if you were going into the office. During those working hours, you will be focused on work. Once 5 pm hits, feel free to take out the trash.
Cabin fever is real, take a walk.
There is no official diagnosis of cabin fever, but plenty of research shows irritability, restlessness, and a feeling of dissatisfaction are common symptoms. Don’t feel guilty to get out of the house and go for a walk in the neighborhood and/or backyard. Understanding our current concerns with COVID-19, please practice your social distancing and avoid crowds. But, I urge the concept of physically getting out of your designated working area at home.
Background noise is okay.
Countless times while on a conference call, I’ve heard dogs barking, delivery people, children crying, bathroom go-ers (yuck, I know), and windy backgrounds. All of them are okay, expect the second to last. Practice conferencing etiquette and use the mute button. Always have yourself on mute, and if there is a moment you think you’ll speak, turn off the mute button. Even if you don’t speak it will create a good habit.
Originally published on LinkedIn.com