The Northeast is covered in snow this week, with reports indicating that as much as 3 feet of snow hit states from New Jersey to Maine. With major snowstorms often come travel bans and snow days, prompting many workers to stay off the roads to the office and work from home.
For some, working at home is something they've always coveted — no annoying co-workers, nagging bosses or that guy who always talks your ear off at the water cooler when you're trying to finish your TPS reports.
For others, working from home is a struggle — working in an office has been a staple of their career, with some people completely unprepared to take on the day's tasks from the living room and not a cubicle.
Thankfully, I've had some limited experience working from home. Here are some tips that I've found helpful.
1. Wear pants. Yes, the chance to work from home often conjures fantasies of lounging around in your favorite pair of hot pink toe socks and nothing else. I'd be lying if I told you I've never interviewed a bank CEO over the phone wearing nothing but boxer briefs and my youth-sized Michael Jordan No. 23 jersey. But times have changed, and a work-from-home day likely means teleconferencing with co-workers over Skype or FaceTime. While it's tempting to spend the day without taking a shower, at least run a comb through your hair and dress somewhat work friendly.
2. Actually work. This one seems like a no-brainer, but I've had many friends brag about taking a "work from home day" only to pack up the car for an impromptu day trip or baseball game. You will probably never get caught, but the work you're missing out on isn't going anywhere. Working from home is a great opportunity to get away from the distractions and pressure of being at the office. Sometimes I get my best, most-focused work done when I'm able to work from the comfort of my couch.
3. Limit personal activity. Working from home, while nice, can often expose workers to screaming kids or other at-home responsibilities. While taking care of personal tasks while working at home is sometimes inevitable, try your best to limit the time spent doing chores around the house.
4. Maintain a routine. While waking up to the knowledge that you don't have to go into the office can be refreshing, don't get too comfortable. Try to maintain normal working hours and eat lunch when you normally would. Unless you are someone who works from home all the time, or the nature of your job is rather inconsistent day to day, it's worth keeping a sense of routine to help stay focused on work and not the distractions that come from working at home.
5. Get out of the house. If the weather isn't too bad, take your work-from-home day to a nearby coffee shop. This can often be the best of both worlds — you're away from the distractions at the office and at home.
6. Make the most of it. For some workers, working from home doesn't happen often, so make the most of it. Use your time wisely while also feeling good about the productivity being away from the office can bring.
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