8 Tips to Help You Adjust to Working From Home

John Horner
April 2, 2020
6 min read
coffee on table

These past few weeks, I’ve been finding it quite strange to have my regular meetings with everyone working from home.

I keep wondering to myself: how is everyone coping with working from home?

For some of us, working from home is nothing new, but if you’re new to it, adjusting can be pretty difficult!

I’ve been working from home since 2014 when I moved back home to India.

In 2018, Miles opened up our Mumbai branch, and I had an office again. I could see my coworkers face to face! I still work a few hours from home every day, so I’m finally at a place where I’m comfortable with both.

At first, though, I know I struggled to adapt to this working from home thing. So, I thought I should write down a few of my experiences and the tips I’ve learned along the way.

Hopefully, someone will connect with my experiences and it will help them out a little bit.

It does get easier!

1. Dress up for the occasion: It’s easy to feel like a perk of working from home is staying in your pajamas all day. Don’t fall into this trap! Dress like you’re going to work. This is really important to get you in the right frame of mind. You’ll feel more professional, positive, and ready to start the day.

2. Keep your surroundings clutter-free: Your workspace, including your desk and the room you’re working in, should be clean and free of unnecessary stuff. If you have stuff lying all around you, there is a tendency to feel distracted. A clean space can really help your productivity and, like getting dressed, put you in the right frame of mind.

3. Hangout: When we work from home, our first instinct is often to send an email or IM. But sometimes, you need to have a face to face conversation.

I struggled immensely with this at first. When was an email the wrong choice? Finally, I decided that I just had to pick the same mode of communication I would use at the office.

Whenever I felt like I needed to meet with someone, I scheduled a hangouts meeting or asked if they had time for a quick video chat.

Good communication is important, and talking “in person” can save you time, confusion, and hassle.

4. Hangout more! Humans are social. We like having friends, and when we work together, we build relationships and form a team.

Another big challenge of working remotely is feeling like you can only communicate with someone if it’s work-related. I think that’s where you realize working from home sounds a lot better than it is.

So don’t give up on those relationships! Take the time to hang out with your friends and team from the office, just virtually. These mini interactions can have a huge positive impact on your day and your productivity.

5. Set clear expectations with your family: If you have infants or toddlers at home, this is tough, but it can still be manageable.

As for other family members, let them know that “working from home” is really “working from home”. This includes both the people you live with and anyone you keep in touch with regularly.

Let them know your schedule, and tell them to interrupt you or contact you during those hours only if there is a genuine need to do it.

6. Do not multitask: Don’t attempt to multitask. I know and I’ve been there: when you’re home, you think to yourself “well, I can just fold this basket of laundry really quick.” Don’t do it!

Mixing household chores with office work never goes well.

The thing is, if you’re putting half of your effort into two very different things, you won’t end up doing either task well. Put all of your effort into your work, and worry about the household chores after.

7. Don’t multitask with meetings: This might be an even worse habit. Don’t multitask with people. When you’re having a meeting with someone, they deserve your full attention.

Meeting virtually is just as important as meeting in person, so treat it the same way you would treat a meeting at the office.

Unless you’re taking notes, don’t use your computer or phone while someone is speaking. Give them your full focus. Be present. You’re having this meeting for a reason. Stay attentive so the objective of the meeting is achieved. 

8. Plan ahead: This is especially important if you have family members dependent on you at home.

Make sure all of your responsibilities are planned ahead of time. Whether it’s cooking or organizing, take care of these things before you start your workday. This way, they won’t present a major interruption while you’re working.

It’s an adjustment, but with a little thought and preparation, you’ll start to feel more comfortable working at home. It does get better with time!

Miles IT can help your company setup and secure your remote workforce. Learn about our Remote Workforce Solutions.

Meet John Horner


John Horner has over 20 years of experience in the software industry. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has served as an adjunct professor at Drexel University and Temple University. Today, he helps customers understand the root of their business challenges and provides consultation on how to accomplish goals and create new opportunities.

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