With GroundFloor Media and CenterTable offices under construction, our team has been temporarily relocated to a co-working space in downtown Denver called Thrive Workplace. I enjoy the atmosphere, having new food options just around the corner and the bout of nostalgia that carrying a backpack full of the day’s necessities brings. But with the added commute from the train and nomad-like environment of a shared workspace, I’ve often found it easier to hunker down at home to crank out my revolving door of to-do lists.
Thankfully, even before we were displaced, GFM and CenterTable’s culture has always been supportive of working remotely, a benefit for which I am truly grateful. This means I’m no stranger to this practice and have learned some tips and tricks over the years that have helped me make the most of working remotely.
Tips For Success When Working From Home
- Create a designated work space.
Tempting as it may be, I urge you not to plop down on that couch every morning. Decide what part of your home should be your “office.” Get a table, a comfortable, supportive chair (or standing desk if you prefer) and a decent computer stand, keyboard and mouse and set up a proper work station. Now, use them. Your body will thank you for it in the long run. And while we’re setting in to that work space, let’s turn off the TV. Tempting as it may be to watch Ellen all afternoon, she’s not going to get your work done for you (or pay your bills).
If you’re like me, it can be really easy to sit down just to check in on things at the office before you eat in the morning and then suddenly realize it’s somehow nearly lunchtime and you haven’t yet toasted that morning bagel. Make time to eat. And while we’re on the subject, don’t eat all day long either, just because the pantry full of snacks is only a few steps down the hall. Be intentional about fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to stay on track for the day.
Remember that comfortable, supportive chair we talked about? Get out of it! Your body needs movement throughout the day. Make it a priority to get up and do a quick lap – either around your home or around your block – at least every couple of hours. It will help you stay alert and keep you healthier in the long run. Need a little help enforcing this practice? Use a tool like Take A Break, Please to force you into the habit.
It takes planning and thoughtfulness to be successful, especially when it comes to communication. You can’t simply turn around and tap your colleague on the shoulder to ask her a question. So figure out what tools work for you and your team to keep lines of communication open – and actually use them. I’ve become a big fan of Zoom to maintain face time with the team, while Slack enables us to send quick questions and updates back and forth throughout the day.
- Create boundaries.
When you work from home, the lines between work and home are often blurred and it can be difficult to separate the two and maintain a healthy work-life balance. First, refer back to step one of creating a designated workspace, which will not only be better for you physically, but will also help you delineate between work time and play time. Then make it clear to family and friends that during working hours, you are actually working and will not able to socialize. And it’s only fair that the same applies for work, too. After your workday ends, barring any unforeseen crises, let your colleagues know that you’ll be happy to get back to their requests tomorrow morning during business hours.
These are my must-dos for successfully working from home, but I’d love to hear what other tips and tricks work for others, especially since there are likely new technologies and apps out there that could make my experience even better. So if you’ve found some other must-do work from home hacks, please do drop them in the comments below.