PSM Marketing has been a “virtual” marketing company since its inception in 1997. At the time, working from home was rare (if not unheard of) for professional services providers. On March 11th, 2020, the CDC announced that COVID-19 was a true global pandemic. Schools, restaurants, gyms, libraries, museums, and myriad other establishments closed their doors to encourage social distancing. For many professionals, that meant bringing your laptop home and working remotely. With almost 25 years of remote working under our belt, PSM has some helpful insights to offer folks working from home.
Maintain a Routine While Working from Home
You’re used to waking up for work, showering, getting your coffee, commuting, and settling in at the office. Well, working from home should follow a similar pattern. We recommend establishing a new routine that will help you switch gears and compartmentalize. Here are the top tips we have for setting yourself up for success while working from home:
- Wake Up Early(ish)- Getting the green light to work remotely does not mean reverting to your 17-year-old sleeping habits. Don’t sleep your day away. That being said, enjoy some extra sleep…you earned it, champ!
- Make Your Bed- Hear us out on this one! Making your bed in the morning is a great way to mentally trigger a change in environment.
- Shower- Don’t let your personal hygiene slip while you’re working remotely.
- Get Dressed- We know it’s tempting, but don’t work in your jammies. Wake up, put on real person clothes, and “go” to work. Yay for casual Friday every day!
- “Commute” – When working from home, many people find it helpful to go for a short walk outside. Take your pup for a quick walk, get some fresh air, then prepare for the workday ahead.
- Have a Designated Workspace- DO NOT work from bed. Seriously. Compartmentalization is key when working from home. Find a space that you can designate as your own little home office. At the end of your workday, make sure you “leave” for the day (even if it’s just mentally).
- Take Breaks- When working from home, nobody judges you for taking breaks. It’s great. Get up, walk around, give your pet chinchilla some love, do a little yoga, whatever!
- Stay Connected- Use video conferencing software to stay connected with your favorite co-workers. Physical isolation doesn’t need to be social isolation. At PSM, we use a video conferencing service called Whereby for our online meetings (they offer a free plan than can host up to 4 people/call)
- Don’t Forget to Eat- Take the time to make yourself food. Hanger doesn’t help anyone.
- Play that Funky Music- No cubicle mates to complain = jamming to your favorite tunes with no shame. Rock on, my friend (unless you find music distracting…then consider using a white noise generator).
- Use Your Time Wisely- Working from home means you’ll be saving XX minutes/hours of commute time, right? How can you work that time into your day to enhance your productivity, creativity, and happiness? For some of you, that might mean a 20-minute nap. For others- stopping work to play video games or read a book! Your work should take priority, but don’t deny yourself the small joys that come with a flexible schedule.
- Move Your Body- Include physical movement in your day, even if it’s minimal. Stretch, work from the kitchen counter, do some short exercises, or take a quick walk. Pay special attention to your posture if you’re working from a sofa.
- Take time to Meditate – During times of mental and physical stress, meditation can play a positive role in your overall health and wellbeing. We like the app Calm, which provides daily guided meditation. It even includes bedtime stories to help you fall asleep to soothing voices – like Matthew McConaughey. Alright, alright, alright!
- Put the Social in Social Media – We’re not saying to waste your days away reading your great aunt’s hyperbolic take on COVID-19. Most businesses don’t allow employees to use social media during work hours, but now that you are working from home, enjoy some social media time. Set a timer if you’re concerned about time management.
Boundaries Are Essential When Remote Working
Many of these points touch on boundary setting. Working from home is a great opportunity to establish healthy habits that will carry through beyond this current public health crisis. Remote working will give you a phenomenal taste of work-life balance, but only if you let it. It’s still very possible to allow yourself to be overworked and stressed, but working from home gives you the ability to truly structure your own day – your own way. If you’re done working at 5:00 PM, be DONE. Don’t answer any more emails or take any more work calls. Working from home is a wonderful chance to find and expand your personal work style. Your most productive time could be early morning or late evening after the kids are in bed. It’s your call!
We all know that social distancing is the smartest thing we can do right now. Hopefully the tips above will help you build a daily routine that will become your new normal for a while. Our guess? You will really love your new-found freedom and flexibility. If you have questions about working from home, please contact PSM. We’re always happy to talk and share our stories of making virtual work into a reality!