8 Tips from the Life in Law Team on Working from Home
As the Life in Law team has shifted into working from home in an effort to maintain social distancing, we thought it would be useful to share the best advice we’ve been given or learned along the way as we begin to settle into our new version of normal. With everything changing at such a rapid pace, the best we can do now is conduct business as usual, or our best version of it. This can be hard to do with kids, pets, significant others or even household duties distracting us from maintaining a regular workday. We get it. See our advice below, and please send us a message through any of our channels if you have a helpful strategy to add to the list.
1. Maintain a regular routine.
For most of us, being home has always meant “me-time”. To work from home productively, it’s important to maintain a barrier between personal and work time by keeping up with your routine.
Trick your mind into realizing it’s a regular workday by waking up at your normal time, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and engaging in other aspects of your morning routine (such as a at-home work out, reading the news, or doing yoga). This will contribute to your overall productivity throughout the day. Although we are all different, we will use this time to express the importance of wearing pants. Trust us, it contributes to our overall mental health.
2. Avoid work creep.
Work-life balance is always important, perhaps now more than ever! It’s important to maintain your typical working hours. If you typically work 9am-5pm, ensure you work within these hours. It becomes easier for work hours to creep late into the evenings when your home and office are one.
3. ..which brings us to point #3 – maintain a separate office area as best you can.
Section off a portion of the dinner table, or a corner in the spare room that is your designated work area. It will not only keep distractions out but allow you to “walk away” from the office at the end of the day. We’ll say it again: work-life balance is key!
We may not all be able to afford the luxury of a home-office, but avoiding working on your couch or in bed with a laptop can also help you maintain a proper posture and freedom from physical ailments that may prevent you from being as productive as you can be.
4. Structure your day as if you were in the office.
We all have good intentions, but the truth is that one of the first things to go when working from home is structure. Our team sets reminders to get up and walk around or stretch in place of a 15 minute break. Another thing that really helps us, is knowing exactly when lunch is. Although at the moment we are all sharing space with our families under the same roof (which comes with its own challenges) it’s nice to take an hour from our separate activities to check in with each other and eat a healthy meal.
5. When you can, leave the phone alone.
There are aspects of the job that require you to be on your phone such as communicating with clients, so as a result it will likely sit close by or right beside you on your desk. It’s important to stay off your phone unless necessary in an effort to keep distractions at bay. Sometimes we even set aside chunks of “phone-free” time to complete a specific project or item on our expanding to-do lists.
6. Communication is always key, but now we should strive for over-communication.
Now more than ever we have to make sure we are keeping in touch with our co-workers through frequent and responsive communication. Perhaps even consider a daily or weekly video call or check-in to make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s important to communicate where we are at with certain tasks and projects to maintain forward momentum.
When you can, consider a video chat over a regular phone call. It really helps us maintain a feeling of connection with our teams.
Another aspect of communication to consider is tone. With less face to face interaction, there is a greater chance of misinterpreting tone and intent. Try to be overly positive in your interactions. One smiley face can go a long way to convince someone of your tone, especially now 😊
7. Update your to-do list everyday.
When working from home, it can become easy to lose sight of priorities, tasks, and deadlines. We find it helpful to set daily goals and timelines for each goal. Once a task or goal is completed, we cross it off the list. Doing so sounds simple, but the act of crossing these completed tasks off the list (however small), really helps us feel like we had a productive workday. It also makes it easier to update coworkers on the status of a project when tasks are separated out this way.
8. Get some fresh air.
When you can, take a moment outside whether on a balcony, backyard or front step, to take a breath of fresh air and reset your mind a bit (while maintaining proper social distance of course).