Team WMT has always worked from home. We work from four different states and on 3 different time zones. While marketing optimization is our specialty, many clients reach out asking for tips on how they can help their teams work from home effectively.
Working from home effectively isn’t as simple as staying at home and working. It requires planning and discipline. We have been advising the leaders we support who are shifting their teams to work from home to make sure to communicate expectations, set ground rules and document them.
Web Marketing Therapy has been a 100% virtual company since the beginning. I can tell you from firsthand experience, managing expectations and keeping communications strong is everything.
Here are some of our tips to help you work from home happily and productively.
Tips to Work From Home Effectively
1. Get Organized
Having good work habits from the moment working from home begins makes it easy to complete work away from the office. Tidy up, don’t work with mess surrounding you, get things ready and have them in a place so you work successfully!
2. Pick a Location
Identify an ideal location in the home as workspace. No need to devote an entire room in your home, but make sure you are working away from distractions and that your equipment, including your chair and desk, are ergonomically appropriate for you. Working on the couch in front of the TV seldom works! I have a few rooms in the house that I work from to mix it up and I love working on my porch when the weather is nice.
3. Set a Routine
Set a work schedule and stick to it! Working from home allows for great flexibility, but if you are able to set up a start and end time, you can be more productive during your workday. If you have kids, dropping them off to school then going to work helps create routine. Now that my daughter is home doing school online, we have had to re-routine to keep to a schedule.
4. Start a “Getting Ready for Work” Ritual
You no longer have the traditional rituals of working in an office that symbolizes the beginning of the workday. Some work-from-homers actually walk around the block as a start to their work day, or you could play specific music or begin work after a morning workout. Whatever works for you! For many of us at WMT, we need that cup of tea or coffee to initiate the workday.
5. Make a Daily “To Do” List
Develop a list of goals and assignments each day. At the end of the day, go over the list to see what you have accomplished! Wil, our lead designer has always used a traditional big yellow notepad and writes with a cool black pen (no other pen will do)!
6. Set up an “End of the Day” Ritual
It’s a good practice to have a ritual in place to mark the end of the work day! Be creative- turn off the computer and the lights, turn on music to make a shift, change clothes, shower, (since working in your pj’s can easily become the norm on busy days!) find what works for you. Personally, I have to put my laptop and cords away in my laptop bag to officially end my day to keep an organized system in place (see #1 tip!)
7. OVER COMMUNICATE!
Silence is death when you work from home. Communicate and re-communicate. Never assume your team knows what you are working on or the status of things. Follow up phone calls or Zoom meetings with emails. Keep a paper trail! Send a lot of updates so people know what you are working on. Do calls to touch base. It’s easy to become isolated! Work as a team! Email often and PICK UP THE PHONE even more often!
8. Train Friends and Family that Work Means Work
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you can stop at any given moment! The more you can draw boundaries around your work hours, the easier it will be! And hold your line, if you stop work to chat or fall victim to interruptions, you set the tone that you can be disrupted. My husband and I have very clear “don’t bother me” visual queues so we don’t interrupt each other.
9. Take Breaks
A small interruption may very well be the break you need! Walk the dog, grab a healthy snack, make a quick call to a friend! You can resume work with a more clear and relaxed mind!
10. Stay off Social Media During Work Hours!
Y’all, I love social media, but it can be a nasty distraction. Keep your priorities straight, work hard and smart!
Here’s to a happy, healthy and wealthy work-from-home experience!