The Dos and Don’ts of Working From Home

There are countless pros and cons of working from home, but it really all comes down to personal preference. Hey, not all of us were meant to work in an office, and there’s nothing wrong with that! If you’re anything like me, then a little isolation is necessary to get down to business. Why are you working from home? Is your home your office? Or did you just not want to take an official sick day and decided working remotely for a few hours was better than lying in bed all day? Whatever the reason, these dos and don’ts are essential for any PR expert to successfully tackle those task lists.

Do prep your desk and work area the night before

I’m not lucky enough to have a designated work room, but I carved out a little area in my home where I get all of my work done. I currently work remotely full-time, but even when I was worked from home part-time it was crucial to have an area strictly for business and keeping it neat. There’s nothing less motivating than a desk scattered with scribbled notes and files. Sure, some people can work like this, but we PR mavens need some kind of sanity in our lives! Jotting down a quick to-do list for the next morning, and tidying up your desk the night before will save you time in the morning, as well as help you quickly get into work-mode.

Don’t think of working from home as a day off

When I first started working out of my home, I made the mistake of telling my friends of my new ‘flexible schedule’. It can be hard for people to understand what it takes to work remotely, so sometimes they see you working from home as a break from work—which couldn’t be further from the truth! I constantly got calls from my friends wanting to gossip, lunch invitations, FaceTimes from my mother—things that interrupted my work and really distracted me. Turn off your notifications and sign off of social media, or at least go invisible online. If you don’t use a project management platform to communicate with your co-workers, then create a Google Hangouts account JUST for work. Sharing your personal account with work will be confusing to keep track of, and trap you into those time sucking conversations with your girlfriends—save that for after 5pm.

Do carve out a lunch break for yourself

Meal prep the night before so you can pop something in the microwave, or just quickly combine ingredients for a nice lunch. DON’T start on cooking some three-course lunch meal just because you’re craving it. This is another time sucking situation. Unless it’s something you can quickly warm up, don’t bother. The point of a lunch break is just that…a break. Leave your desk for twenty minutes, enjoy your lunch and catch up on your Instagram feed. I get a lot of mid-day inspiration from my feed from inspiring motivational quotes to ideas for client campaigns, so lunch is the perfect time to refresh your mind.

Don’t let your office presence disappear

If you only work from home part-time or every now and then, be sure to maintain your office presence. How can you do this? Check in with your boss in the morning, or send them a summary of what you worked on and where you left off at the end of the day. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your coworkers for files and docs you may need for a client account. Be sure to let the team know you can also take on conference calls and virtual meetings from home as well. It’s like you’re actually in the office…just not at your cubicle.

Do get out of bed

No judgement if you’re still working in your PJs or if you haven’t put a brush through your hair all morning, but getting out of bed is important. Get up, stretch, drink some coffee. Treat working from home as close to a standard 9 to 5 office job as possible. Getting on your feet will help rid you of the urge to roll over and ignore your alarm. Sleeping-in can be such a temptation, but save it for the weekend.

This is an original post that I wrote for PR Couture. Image via Genuine People.