SWEET HOME RVA'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING WORKING FROM HOME

Think about your life two months ago; how appealing was it to not make the long commute, to not deal with whatever coworker made the coffee too weak, or to not have your boss waste your time with meetings that could have been handled with an email? As those of us who regularly work from home know, it just simply isn’t all it is cracked up to be. People start to lose touch and can get depressed with a lack of personal contact.

During this trying time, our team thought it would be helpful to give people a few tips and tricks that help us, and our other clients who spend a lot of time working from home. Obviously all of these items may not work for you specifically, but we hope by writing this you might be able to stay a little more productive and positive during the spring of isolation.

Maintain a regular schedule.
  • This might sound weird, but when you work from home it becomes very easy to get out of your normal habits.

  • Go to bed at the same time every night the same way you would have if you had to drive to Innsbrook every day for work.

  • Get up at your normal time.  Just because you don’t have to drive into the office, doesn’t mean you don’t have to show up ready to work for the day.  Get up, stretch, do your morning workout and hit the shower. This one is really important. People tend to not shower and get dressed when they work from home.  We have found it actually slows you down mentally and makes the rest of your day feel somewhat unproductive even if it is very productive. Even if you shower and put on comfy house clothes, that still counts in my book.  You will be surprised how this keeps you more positive.

Find a space in your home that is your new office
  • Some of our clients have spacious home offices.  If that is the case, use it! If the room has a door, close it just like if you were at work, and you were working against a deadline.  For the rest of us that do not have an office, don’t fret. I am currently writing this article from my kitchen table. If you don’t have an office, set up space in your home that will become your new office.  If you have a spare bedroom and can set up a desk, even better. I hesitate to ever do work on my couch, as it causes bad posture and makes it easy to slip into a mindset of not being at work.

  • Clean a space out in your home and that is your new office. Try only to do work things in that space and keep the rest of your house as your after-work sanctuary.

  • Actually close up shop every day. Keep a box or tote nearby so that you can easily put work away by packing your work supplies at the end of your day. Even if your habit on regular workdays is to check emails after dinner, use your normal commuting time home to put work things physically away. You need a break. Go ahead and check things on your phone after dinner as usual, but don’t pull out the box and get your temporary office re-opened in the evening.

Stay connected with coworkers.
  • Make use of video conferencing capabilities — Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc. all help you stay engaged with coworkers. Make work as IRL as you can because human interaction can be much more motivating than emails and phone calls.

Take regular breaks
  • I think it is easy to take breaks in an office setting.  Plenty of people are walking around and it is inherently much easier to get distracted.  Sometimes I will get engrossed in a project, forget to eat, drink water, or coffee and all of a sudden I hit a brick wall.  Work for 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break. Leave your workspace and walk around. Get a snack, pet your dog who is so excited you are finally staying home to watch him sleep.

Avoid multitasking with house-keeping items
  • It’s so easy to fall into this trap.  “Oh I can start the laundry, or I can put something in the oven while I finish this part of my workday.”  This falls into the same category as setting up a space to work from at home. When you combine the act of working, and the act of living in your house the lines start to blur.  Once blurred, it is very difficult to feel like you are done working for the day. It can cause burnout very quickly. Set your rules and stick to them. Obviously we all flounder on this, but try to not make this a habit.

Plan for the inevitable distractions and take time to take care of the family and pets
  • There are certain tasks you have throughout the day that absolutely must get done. Block out these tasks in your calendar and tell family or roommates that unless it's an absolute emergency, don't knock on the door. However, make sure they know that you’re available for anything at other specific times as well. Time block two or three different 30-minute segments just to deal with distractions (your spouse or partner needs a break from the baby, pets need food, something needs to be fixed, etc

  • While I was writing this, my cat jumped on my lap twice, the dog needed to be let outside, and a package came at the front door.  Obviously distractions happen and even more so when there are kids around. Take full advantage of nap times for your kids, go on walks with your pets, and a little extra screen time for kids probably won’t cause too much damage to their development.  I think we will all get agitated at each other sometimes, which is fine and completely normal. Give yourself plenty of chances to adjust and it will get easier over time. Meanwhile, put on some good tunes and be kind to yourself and others as we all settle into this different way of working and living.

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One South Realty Group, LLC | 2314 W Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220

Scott Andrews, Karen Call, Jess Houser, and Karina Martinez are licensed in the Commonwealth of VA