As mayors and governors around the nation issue “Stay Home, Work Safe” orders calling for all nonessential workers to begin working remotely, many people are finding themselves making the unprecedented transition to working from home.
At one point or another, every member of the LightHouse team has found themselves making the move from an in-office job to a home office job. With that in mind, our team has put together a list of the tips we wish we knew when we began working from home!
Although it may seem fun to stay in your pajamas and work from bed, choices such as these can negatively impact your productivity. Kim, executive assistant to our CEO, likes to tell new members of our team that they’ll be most successful if they treat every day at home as though they still go to a brick and mortar office (but without the commute!). She advises them to get dressed as they would for any other job and go to a dedicated workspace in order to maintain a strong sense of professionalism.
Sara, a member of our content team, seconds this message. Having a dedicated workspace has made a world of difference in her workflow, she adds. In fact, right after Sara was hired, she converted a space in her home to create an office. “Having a separate space gets me in the right headspace for going to work–it helps me be as productive as possible!”
Manage Your Time
Carl, our company’s preeminent multitasker, is known for the way he redistributes outside activities to minimize distractions. He advises that people working from home prepare meals that are easy to grab and go throughout the day, in order to prevent running late from your lunch break. He also reminds us of the Golden Rule for working virtually–make sure that you charge all of your devices! “There is nothing worse than dropping a call halfway through a client meeting because you forgot to charge your phone,” he recounts.
On the other hand, Mike, a member of our development team, is known for his knack for answering any Slack message in mere moments. When we asked Mike how he is able to find time to pull this off, he pointed to two apps that help him manage his time. The first, Todoist, is an organizational app that allows you to “focus your energy on the right things.” Mike says that organizing his work into categories allows him to prioritize his time in order to ensure maximum efficiency. The second app he recommends is RescueTime, which analyzes how much time you spend in various places on the web, in order to give you an unbiased snapshot of what you are doing with your time. If that snapshot turns out less than flattering, RescueTime will even allow users to block certain sites to prevent distraction or overuse.
Jake, a member of our sales team, recommends the use of timers to set out blocks of time. Committing to a specified amount of time to respond to emails, to meet with clients, or to input information allows him to ensure that all tasks get done in the proper order and that client’s needs are met as efficiently as possible!
Our CEO, Josh, espouses a similar “get down to business” style tip–noise cancelling headphones. “Regardless of how strategically I set up my office, there will always be background noise to distract me! A pair of quality noise cancelling headphones allows me to drown out the world and zone in on the task at hand.”
Train Your Family
Working from home isn’t just a transition for you–this lifestyle is likely new to the people who live with you as well! Our team recommends certain steps, like warning your family in advance of important meetings that might require a silent house, or creating a schedule for which parent is in charge of childcare.
Katie, teacher by day and member of the content team by night, has reminded those of us who have suddenly become homeschool teachers to take it easy on ourselves. “Don’t pressure yourself to cram in everything that your child would have received in a school day. Focus on a few priorities and do them well.” Your child’s teacher would rather them come back to school excited that they got to read new books and spend time together as a family than hear that your whole family is stressed out over memorizing the hierarchy of polygons.
Prioritize Self Care
“Find ways to take breaks during the day,” says our Head of Design, Tory. “If you don’t take breaks, you end up getting burned out early because you haven’t eaten or taken a mental break all day. You’re able to work longer if you commit to taking ten minutes every so often to get up to clear your mind.” Some of our team admits to taking a few moments outside to stretch and get in some much needed sunshine, while others admit to throwing in a couple of crunches here and there to get their energy up before returning to the tasks at hand.
Head of Content, Cara, is particularly inspired by the outdoors. Although she does not take breaks to go outside during work, she says that just being able to feel the sun on her face brings joy to her workday. Cara and Tory both advocate for designated playlists to jam to during work. Not your favorites, though, they admonish–if it’s too good, you might find yourself singing along instead of preparing for that afternoon meeting!
Give Yourself Grace
This transition to working from home is brand new to many of us. For more of us still, this transition brings with it the addition of childcare responsibilities and other outside distractions. It will take you some time to fall into a groove, and that is okay! In the meantime, know that your LightHouse Graphics team is here to help. Reach out with any questions to [email protected]