I’m sure just like the rest of the world, when we were told we would be working from home in March 2020, we didn’t think we’d still be here eight months (and counting) later. Over the course of WFH Life, every single member of the #TIAteam faced their own challenges from perfecting the perfect home office setup to juggling parenting duties while staying on top of that never-ending to-do list.
Needless to say, the team at TIA has had to band together to ensure we’re all managing the stresses of these unprecedented times in the best way possible, sharing tips and words of encouragement along the way. And we figured, why shouldn’t we share them with our community as well?
If you’re looking for some great work from home tips, this is the blog for you! Keep reading to find out the ways we’ve been taking care of ourselves, finding the motivation to stay productive, and more—straight from The Influence Agency team themselves.
When you finally achieve the ever-elusive flow state while working from home, it can be jarring to realize that you haven’t gotten up from your desk for hours or been outside in days. The human body wasn’t designed to sit in a chair for long stretches of time. Never underestimate the importance of getting your body movin’ and groovin’ to improve your productiveness and mental wellbeing—even more so if you can get outside!
“Go for a walk in the morning before you start work for the day, again at lunch, and when you have finished your day. Doing so adds some level of consistency to pre-WFH times when you’d be commuting to and from the office or going on your lunch break. Get your steps in and clear your head!”
“Exercise! Even if it’s just pushups, jumping jacks, or going for a run—break a sweat every day. With a lot of organized sports and gyms currently inaccessible, staying active in any way you can is a great way to keep a clear mind and be your best self!”
“Make sure you stand up after every meeting and stretch. Even better, try and go for a walk or maybe just open a window to get some fresh air.”
It can be easy to feel disconnected from your team and workload when you’re setting your own schedule. Finding your own motivation to sit down every day and get to work can be tough! Stay organized by making a to-do list. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction every time you check something off.
“I find it extremely comforting to make a to-do list for myself for the week. I make sure to include daily, weekly, as well as any tasks carried over from the previous week. There might be days where your morning is open and you don’t feel like working, but it is still important to follow a morning routine as you would in office—and seeing a to-do list ready for you can help! When you begin your day, spend 15 minutes reviewing what your tasks for the day and rest of the week are and make note of it in your calendar. Make sure you set those goals for yourself and work towards those deadlines. At the end of the week, you will feel like you have accomplished a lot!”
“Take time at the start of each week and day to plan out what you will be working on so you can stay on top of everything. This helps you feel prepared, productive, and organized to effectively take on your day.”
Picture this: Your alarm goes off in the morning, but you know you don’t have to be at your desk until 9 AM so you hit snooze. When you finally roll out of bed, you don’t change out of your PJs and instead immediately sit down at your desk to get your day started. Soon, the day has passed and you’re left feeling a little… blah.
We’re all guilty of doing this, of ignoring our valued morning routine and letting ourselves get lost in the monotony of day-to-day life. That’s why following a schedule can be so beneficial for our productivity while working from home.
“Go through your morning routine just like it is a normal day heading to the office. That gets you moving with a sense of purpose, and can provide some focus to start the day”
“Working in sprints has proven to be super effective for many fortune 500 companies and independent leaders in business. It can be daunting to look at a task in its entirety, not knowing where to start especially when we’re starting each task and ending it outside of our “typical” workspace, but tons of research suggests breaking down large tasks into smaller ones to improve focus and productivity in monumental ways. If you ever feel overwhelmed with work between the four walls that make up your home, I highly suggest carving out blocks of time and going full throttle within those blocks, while making time for blocks to break in between! Take a walk, make a snack, watch some entertainment—step away.”
“Keep up with your morning routine and schedule for the day! Having a plan will help you stay focused. Plus, make sure to schedule breaks—especially for lunch. Eat!”
I don’t know about you, but the majority of our team’s living spaces weren’t set up for working from home. That left a lot of us working from our beds, from our couches, and from our kitchen tables. Regardless of where you’re working, one of the most important work from home tips we’ve all realized this last year is to create a separation between where we do work and where we relax.
“Establish a designated working area. Although it can be tempting to work from bed, it can impact your level of productivity and motivation. Plus, it’s terrible for your posture!”
“When working at home it can be hard to create a separation from your work space and your personal space, but limiting yourself to an area designated for work will allow you to get up, get lunch, and disconnect similar to going into the office.”
“When you’re done work for the day, don’t leave your work computer open in plain sight. Put. It. Away! Otherwise, every time you pass it on your way to the kitchen, washroom, and the most coveted place of all, the couch, you will inevitably think about work.”
Expanding on our last work from home tip, many people underestimate the value of investing in your work setup at home.
“You’re going to be working from home for who knows how long. Make sure you have a good chair and enough monitors to make sure you’re working as efficiently as possible. You don’t want to let your own setup hinder your productivity in a day, so take a step back and evaluate what you can do to improve your setup—and don’t be afraid to ask your managers for help to achieve it.”
Whether you’ve found yourself putting in more hours while working from home or you’ve managed to be more productive during the workweek than in the office, it can be tough to maintain a work-life balance and work and life have completely collided. In a recent survey of 7,000 professionals, it was found that 73% of people working from home felt burnt out in comparison to 63% pre-pandemic. This work from home tip can be tough to achieve, but it’s as important as any other on this list for your mental wellbeing.
“With commute times gone, work and home spaces colliding, and WFH life seeming like it’s never going to end, it’s easy to be in work mode 24/7. While it’s important to stay on top of your to-do lists, don’t let yourself be consumed by them! Set start and cut off times for yourself so that you can achieve the perfect WFH work-life balance.”
“Setting boundaries and separating work from your personal time will go a long way. Try to keep work at work and make time for yourself beyond office hours when possible! Working more hours while at home may become a habit, but this could easily lead to burnout in the long run. Make daily schedules/to-do lists for yourself and learn to prioritize your tasks so it doesn’t disturb your work-life balance.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels guilty when I’m not sitting at my desk from 9 AM to 5 PM every day of the workweek. The reality of the nine-to-five workday is that it was set up by the Ford Motor Company in the 1920s when they were looking for a way to avoid employee exploitation. Over the years, this structure expanded to other industries and quickly became the norm we’re all familiar with now. Many employers were already rethinking this setup prior to the pandemic with flexible work hours; which was only further tested while working from home.
If you have a job that requires you to interact with numerous people throughout the day of course it’s important to be available to answer questions or move projects along. However, working from home may not last forever (at least we hope it doesn’t) so take advantage of its flexibility while it lasts.
“I really think one of the best benefits to working at home is the ability to accomplish some tasks on your own time. For some of us, taking a break in the middle of the day to do a non-work activity or to run some errands is really convenient and sometimes the only time possible to do them. Having the luxury to decide if you’re going to use your own flex time and make up that time later in the day or at night if you should choose to is really how employers should view staff productivity—get shit done and at a high quality, and whenever the time that you set aside to do that task shouldn’t matter.”
“If you’ve been working heavily on a task that’s very data intensive and you feel brain drain kicking in, step away from your desk and do something else—whether it’s stepping away from work to watch something on Netflix or making a sandwich. It’s been proven that switching tasks is a great way to let your mind process what you’ve been working on.”
As businesses all over the world are navigating the new WFH waters, they’re trying to figure out how to maintain workplace culture, relationships, and morale. Prioritize video calling your team members to replicate working and socializing in an office environment as much as possible—whether to talk about something related to work or otherwise!
“Connect with your team on things that aren’t strictly work related! Check in on them, see how they’re doing, rehash your favourite Netflix series, and even go on virtual coffee and lunch breaks with them if you can! Working from home, especially in a COVID-19 era, can be an isolating experience for some, particularly after stripping away all the in-person interactions you used to have in the office. The simple act of checking in and connecting with your team won’t just boost your own WFH morale but will likely boost your teammates’ as well.”
“Treat your work from home setup as if it was permanent, and don’t forget to write off a portion of your rent and mortgage come tax time since you had to devote significant portions of your home space into an office.”
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows you to deduct certain expenses as long as you meet the requirements in their guidelines, making this a significant work from home tip! To find out if you’re eligible, do your research and talk to your accountant!
If you’re struggling with working from home, know that you aren’t the only one. Our team has helped each other through a lot of the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic by sharing what we’ve learned with each other—and now you! Hopefully, you found these WFH tips helpful. If you did make sure you share them with your own colleagues. We’re in this together.
Let us know in the comments below what your go-to work from home tip is! We’d love to hear from you.11