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How to Work From Home, if You've Never Done It Before

Keep the Same Schedule

To give your day structure, keep the same routine as when you went into an office. Get up at the same time and make a to-do list. Check in with the same person every morning.

Your schedule will change over time as you adjust to your new working arrangement.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Work From Home, if You've Never Done It Before

How to Work From Home, if You've Never Done It Before

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/smarter-living/how-to-work-from-home-if-youve-never-done-it-before.html

nytimes.com

5

Key Ideas

Keep the Same Schedule

To give your day structure, keep the same routine as when you went into an office. Get up at the same time and make a to-do list. Check in with the same person every morning.

Your schedule will change over time as you adjust to your new working arrangement.

Set Boundaries

Pick a place for your office away from distraction.
Boundaries also apply to other people who may be sharing the same space. Children can work alongside you as if they were coming to the office.

Schedule Breaks

You won't have the same cues as you do from your workplace to remind you to get up or get lunch. When you lose the pace of your day, everything can start to blend together.

Treat your exercise, meals and stretch breaks as you would any other meeting. Put it on your calendar, at least to start.

Prepare for Isolation

Proactively stay in touch with others rather than waiting for someone to reach out. It could be emailing colleagues more often, using chat tools or just picking up the phone.

Getting a pet is another way to break isolation, or playing a familiar movie for a background hum to break the silence.

Put Work Away

The evening commute is often a way to end the workday and beginning home life.
It is important to continue to end your workday when you work from home, even if you only move to a different spot in your home or shut down your work applications.

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Clear communication

The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

Treat it like a real job
  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

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Separate Your Work and Home
Separate Your Work and Home

Simple activities make our workday at home effective:

  • Make a clear transition from home to work, by waking up, getting ready and having breakfast on time.
  • Do not check your...
Set An Agenda

Make a to-do list a day before and start without friction in the morning with complete clarity.

Having a structure of the day helps in your productivity, and gets you to finish your important tasks on time.

Disconnect From Work

Try to block some time off your workday to have a stroll outside, or to make coffee, or a midday lunch break. This brings the day under your control.

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Tips On Working From Home
  • Choose a place in your home or a corner that can be a make-shift office, preferably not around the living or lobby area where other people can potentially interrupt.
  • Take...
Adapting To Working From Home

A remote worker has a constant blind-spot and is not able to use their full senses to gauge and tweak their work. This also makes them anxious and feel disconnected from the office proceedings. If handling a team remotely, ensure that the reporting/tracking of their work is transparent.

It helps to come prepared in meetings and answer questions in writing while providing a trace of context in your email/chat. Having a preset plan covering a couple of days helps reduce the constant interactions. 

Transparency of communication ensures minimum ambiguity. 

Equipment At Home

Use video communication as it provides an emotional connection with the team, ensuring that the equipment is working properly and there is no echo on the microphone/headphone.

Have at least two modes of internet connections available, broadband/fiber along with wi-fi.

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Aches and pains
Aches and pains

With the 2020 pandemic, many people are required to stay home.

If you're one of these people, you may be noticing new aches and pains you did not experience at the office.

Ergonomic furniture

Many companies follow an ANSI-HFS standard in the design of their computer workstations, which incorporates ergonomic furniture and accessories.

Most homes don't have the space to accommodate ergonomic office furniture, nor do most people invest in it. If you're working from home using your computer on a regular table or you sit in a lounge chair or on your bed, chances are you aren't in a healthy posture. It could potentially lead to musculoskeletal injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, or even deep vein thrombosis.

Your computer screen

View your computer screen with a straight neck. Put your screen in front of you at a comfortable viewing height. Don't look down at your screen or angle your screen, so you must twist your neck.

You may have to put the screen on a pile of books or on a cardboard box to raise it to a comfortable viewing position.

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Psychological Effects of Working from Home
  • Loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms like random pain.
  • Anxiety and pressure. The bounda...
Symptoms of Depression
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even with unimportant matters.
  • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy for even the smallest activities.
  • Increased cravings for food.
  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Avoiding people.
Take Care of Your Mental Health

...while working from home:

  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your tasks (and breaks) will help you to mentally prepare for the day.
  • Have a dedicated comfortable workspace, with a door that closes, preferably.
  • Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping.
  • Foster social connections (on the phone or via the internet, if physical contact is not possible).
  • Learn to say no. Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload, and don’t extend yourself beyond them.
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The Other Side

Studies on long term work-from-home workers found that lack of interaction with colleagues and the lack of an office vibe can result in a disconnection from the outer world, leading to isolation.

Working at Home

Pitfalls of working from home: 

  • Mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Feeling isolated
  • Less self-discipline
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unable to keep the boundaries between work and life.

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Lower accountability
Lower accountability

Procrastinating is even easier when you have no one looking over your shoulder. Lower accountability can make procrastination more likely at home.

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High tolerance to frustration

People with high frustration tolerances are the ones that generally succeed at remote work. And you can take steps to raise your frustration tolerance and become more conscientious by working on your impulsivity.

A non-conscientious person will find another activity (a distraction most likely) the moment something challenging or uncomfortable comes up. They have to be more conscious to stay in the moment: count to five or take five deep breaths, for example.

A lack of boundaries

When work and personal activities are occurring in the same space, there are no cues for you to behave the way you do at work while you are outside your physical office.

Those who work well from home create boundaries in a work-life world without them. Then, once these parameters are established, people who commit fewer ‘boundary violations’ are better off.

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Working is From Anywhere

WFH (Work From Home) eventually means you are working from coffee shops, parking lots, from your car while driving, and almost anywhere you can log in to your laptop or communicate on your phone.

No one knows where you are and what you are doing, and that can be an advantage, but also can be misused. 

Start Early and Mimic Office Time

The schedule that makes you start early, and mimic the office hours works best, as you end up being free earlier too. However, night owls may find working at night to be more productive or comfortable for them.

Maintaining a schedule in a routine, while incorporating regular exercise with it, works best.

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Try visit the place you're interested in moving to if it's feasible. Because working in a country or city is not the same as vacationing there. 

While hitting the tourist hot spots is great, try to explore neighborhoods where the locals live, visit grocery stores, and sit in restaurants. Then you can do one better and speak to other expats who live there to get a sense of what day-to-day life is like.

Move for the Company, Not Just the Place

As tempting as it is to move to a beautiful place for the location and lifestyle, don’t do it at the cost of your career. There’s nothing worse than moving to a country for a job you end up hating, especially if your legal status depends on an employer-sponsored visa.

Be proactive about researching the reputation of any company you’re considering. 

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Don’t overdo it

If you start making mistakes and you feel dizzy after working a certain number of hours, don't overdo it.
This is a sensitive topic if you have a boss, but observe the number of hours you are functioning the best. If you have 7 hours of productive work in you per day, use them. But if your battery runs out after 5 hours, call it a day.

Productivity strategies

Experiment with them and find which one better suits you.
Create your own system for working from home. What works for other people might not work for you.