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How to Stay Professional Working from Home

Trying to remain professional whilst working from home is not as easy as it sounds. One of the main factors that comes into play, it the very one we all fantasize about when we're sitting on the bus or metro going into the office on our daily grind...
2020.11.27.

Trying to remain professional whilst working from home is not as easy as it sounds. One of the main factors that comes into play, it the very one we all fantasize about when we're sitting on the bus or metro going into the office on our daily grind. We look out the window and, for the briefest moment, imagine we're able to do our job from home. The problem with this is that this normally would translate into us simply remaining in the nice warm bed and making sure the phone is turned off! 

Remaining Productive

And now, thanks to Covid-19 many of us are forced to make our homes into our work spaces. And now comes the realization that it's not quite the lovely fantasy we were all praying for. The biggest problem is that work revolves around productivity. And conversely, our home lives revolve around the opposite. It's home, where we chill and do as we please. Now work has really started to encroach into our personal lives. And it's not a good mix. Having an office or workplace we have to go to, means we can also leave everything there when we return to our homes. Having your home as an extension of the work place feels like an unwelcome intrusion. Which it is!

As many of our choices are now extremely limited, we'll have to formulate a means of getting through this and maintaining our collective sanity. To that end, we've compiled a short list of things that can make your home-office work experience better and as productive as your previous office environment.    

Working From Home Tips

A great part of your new home-office experience will simply be a reflection of your former office-self. So, if you were an early bird who liked to start before everyone else, then that habit will probably persists. Likewise, if you kept personal and work issues separate, then you'll continue to do so, even from the comfort of your own home. In other words, you'll continue in the personal habits you've always operated under. They worked best for you in your previous life and so will continue to do so in your new one. Like wise, if your idea of a working day was trying to drag out a project and do as little as possible, then working from home will be an absolute boon. Apart from the obligation to look busy, you're more or less free to live your best home life, all the while pretending to be busy. Of course this also depends on just how your employer goes about measuring the productivity of remote workers.

Take Control Of your Hours

On a personal level, I'm a huge believer in taking a power nap after lunch. Unfortunately, that's not really something one can do in a normal office environment. But with remote working, then this patently sensible practice is possible. It's also an example of how the work day could be more productive. And that the fixed idea that all your working hours should be spent "working", is actually a foolish one. After taking a mid-day nap, you can achieve a lot more as you're now refreshed and sharper. Like wise being able to take ample breaks from the tasks at hand can also increase overall productivity, but would be difficult to do in the regular office environment. 

If we are lucky enough to be able to maintain our jobs from home, then we should consider how to stay focused and professional. There are certain expectations that we'll just have to get on and deal with. Employers still want their pound of flesh, and, as you're an employee, you still will have to give it. With that in mind, let's have a look at methods and means to stay professional whilst working from home.

Designate A Work Space 

This is more about the formation of a good habit. If you have your own "work space", be it a desk or a chubby-hole, then ensure that it's only purpose is for your work. This way you can maintain it's tidiness and let's everyone in the household know that this is your work station....so don't touch! Another benefit of having a particular spot clearly marked for working is a mental one. You'll know that this is the time for working whenever you seat yourself down at that table or desk. We suggest that you check that the background to your Zoom calls is neat and tidy as well.  

Pretend You Are Going To The Office

It's important to maintain good habits. "Good" as in productive. If you can keep to the same routine you used to follow before lock-down, then that'll make the transition to home office a clinch. So, set your alarm for the same hour, and go through the same routine as before. We would even go as far as to suggest that you change out of your jim-jams into something more fitting.  

Set Your Work Hours 

Once again we're talking about forming good habits. To that end you should set a time by which you'll be at your desk. Like wise for lunch breaks and what time you'll be finishing. To maintain a healthy life/work balance, be sure to finish according to your plan. Having a home office means that it's very easy to "over-work". Always respect your personal time.

Maintain Your Calendar

Keep to your scheduled meeting times. make sure that you also allocate enough time for your projects. Plan your days and weeks ahead.  

Personal Calls

Because you're working from home, you're surrounded with all sorts of distractions. These can be in the form of household chores. But it's important to be disciplined and remain professional. Don't take personal calls and likewise, don't spend all day surfing the internet. Treat your work space as the de facto work environment and so behave accordingly whenever you're seated there.

Family Rules

Many people complain that it's super difficult to be working from home, simply because the family is always interfering and needing something or other. This is no excuse. Working from home means that you need to lay down clear boundaries. This means that there's going to be "work time" and pleasure time. When you're in the former, then no one should be allowed to bother you. But you need to be strong about enforcing these basic steps. Without them, then you'll not be productive along with being frustrated at all the interruptions. We suggest getting a hand gun as the mere sight of it should get your message across better.  

For many people, particularly those who were previously office-bound, working from home has proved nothing short of a miracle. In fact, it leads one to wonder why on earth do employers bother paying out such huge rents for office space when everyone and their dog is happier working from home. It's great not having to commute (and the savings that will bring) and being able to have lunch with your family. One thing to keep in mind, and that's mental health. If you have a worker who's living alone, make sure to touch base with them on a regular basis, as there's a great possibility that this is going to become the new normal.
 

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