During the weeks of the Safer at Home order, everyone has been grappling with changes they never before imagined.
And one of the big ones is how to work from home.
Specifically– how to work from home without going bonkers.
You all know the scene…
- Barking during Zoom meetings.
- No internet when your daughter logs into the computer.
- Snacking. In fact, snacking all day long (now our stand-up-from-the-computer time is all about going to the kitchen).
- Seriously considering whether wearing a hat equals having showered.
- Wondering what day, or even what time it is (It’s all the same now, isn’t it?)
Basically, everyone is going crazy.
There is no boundary between work life and personal life.
Amy Wall, the mastermind behind Specialized Office Support, has been working from home for over 30 years and during that time, she raised 4 kids. When it comes to working from home, she knows her stuff.
So today Amy shares her top tips about how to work from home without going bonkers.
Tip #1: Make a designated work space.
Specialized Office Support is a virtual business so not many of you have seen the headquarters where it all happens. But if you have visited SOS Central, you’ll discover that Amy has a designated office.
Her office is set up like any work office and when she works, she always goes to her office.
When she’s done working, she leaves the room and closes the door.
“It’s important to create boundaries. Even if you just have a desk, you should work in one place and live your life in another. You can’t let your work invade your entire home.”Amy Wall
Tip #2: Separate personal calls from work calls.
Amy’s second tip is about creating time boundaries — separate your personal and work communications.
When you finish working, don’t take business calls. Be present for your family. Do something fun.
Making sure that your business time is distinct from your life/family time is important for both you and your loved ones.
SOS has 2 ways to help you with this practice.
First of all, we can help you set up a business VoIP service so that you’ll always know which calls or texts are work-related. If it’s past business hours, you can set up an after-hours auto attendant in the VOIP system to put the calls into the voicemail mailbox for the next morning’s workload.
And that brings us to the second way we can help. We can set up virtual receptionist services during normal business hours so that even if you don’t answer your business line, your professional virtual receptionist will. This receptionist will be trained to answer your customer’s questions just like you would. Your customers won’t ever realize that you’re helping your kids with their volcano project or teaching them home disco steps for their virtual gym class.
Tip #3: Use grocery delivery services
Don’t go grocery shopping.
Long before Amazon, Whole Foods, or HyVee delivery, back in the time Before Covid (BC), Amy used Schwann’s grocery delivery.
She wanted healthy, tasty (and easy) meals ready for her family but grocery shopping was bottom of her list.
So Amy put a big freezer in her basement and used it for her meal planning.
Now more than ever you have options for grocery delivery. Use them.
When you work from home, be choosy about how you spend your time.
Tip #4: Train your dogs to live on a schedule.
Amy’s household has always been full of pets.
But as we all know, pets have a hard time respecting business boundaries.
Train. Your. Pets.
“My dogs know that when I’m at work, they leave me alone. But exactly at 5:00, Zoey comes into my office and drops a ball at my feet. Nora stares at me until I feed her. Both pups know that 5:00 is their time.”Amy Wall
Create a daily schedule. Train your pets when you’re working and when you’re available for dinner, walks, or attention. Get your kids involved in the pet responsibilities to care for the furry family members.
Of course, this is easier to type than to execute but be persistent. Don’t let your pets decide your work schedule.
If you teach them well, you’ll have the downtime you need to truly enjoy being with them.
Tip #5: Never leave the house without a machine running.
Amy offers this tip for the time when we can once again leave our homes.
Never leave the house without a machine running.
When Amy leaves her house, she makes sure her dishwasher is washing and her washing machine is churning. She now owns a TurfBot to cut the grass.
Make use of the time you’re out of the house to run your noisy, conference-call interrupting machines.
Tip #5 means you’ll come home to a quiet house, clean laundry and the lawn cut.
Tip #6: Use “wasted” time for business
Years ago, before there was WiFi, Amy created a traveling office. She piled all her important folders and essential office supplies into a box and took it with her everywhere.
When she had a moment waiting at a doctor’s office or watching football practice, she could pull out her office-box and get a few things done.
Of course, now you don’t need to put your office in a box. For many of us, our entire office is in our phones.
But her advice is still valid for working virtually.
Use every minute.
When you have time waiting, answer some business emails.
If your kids are finishing the Spanish class Zoom, plan your next social media post.
Take advantage of little gaps between activities.
What are your tips for how to work from home without going bonkers? What are your hacks that make it work for you?
Please share your tips with us at Facebook.