Being professional while working from home or any remote location is multifaceted and requires awareness on many levels. It’s not just about remaining professional while in conference with others. How easy is it when you get frustrated on a call, to hang up the phone (or disconnect from Zoom), walk away from your home office, and crack a beer to help de-stress? You couldn’t do it at the office, but you sure can do it from home! Is it a good idea? Probably not, and not everyone would do this, but our old work habits can deteriorate faster than we think!
What were you like when you went to work? As a professional, you held yourself to certain standards. You showed up on time or early. You were always well-dressed and groomed. You never let personal business interfere with your job. You handled stress and setbacks with a calm demeanor. To your coworkers, you broadcasted a confident aura. You’d never do your job any other way.
Now that you are working from home you may have quickly adopted a routine of slipping on your dress shirt while still wearing your pj pants. Many funny videos are circulating YouTube since working from home has become so prevalent during Covid19.
So how do you stay professional while working from home? Here are some steps you can take that will help you maintain the same work environment remotely as you maintained in the office.
- Designate a work space. If you don’t have a separate den or study in your home you can use your kitchen table or even your kitchen island. You can set up a card table in your living room or guest room. Whatever space you decide to use, make sure you keep it neat and tidy at all times, as you would in your office.
- Pretend like you are going to the office. Set your alarm, get up and get your coffee, take your shower, dress up, etc. Whatever your routine was when you went to the office, keep it the same, even though you’re working from home. (Here are some tips on morning routines if you don’t have one!)
- Set your work hours. Set a time that you have to be at your desk each day. The same thing goes for taking your lunch break and ending your day. Many people find themselves working more hours when they work from home because their office is in the next room. It’s helpful to leave your home office at a predetermined time so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Maintain your calendar. It is important to continue to schedule meetings, block your time for projects, and plan ahead so your time is well spent.
- Personal calls. Keep your personal calls to a minimum. If you wouldn’t answer the phone to a buddy at the office, don’t do it at home.
- Family. You may have family members at home with you. It’s important to set boundaries so they know that when you are “at work” they shouldn’t bother you. We all know this is easier said than done, however, if you set boundaries from the start, it will be easier to maintain them.
Finally, don’t forget to look at the bright side and enjoy your time working from home! There are always silver linings to be found, like not having to commute every day or being able to eat lunch with your family. Here’s another funny video to end this post on lighter note:
These are just a few simple rules to follow that will help you maintain your productivity and professionalism while working from home. If you are not already doing them I challenge you to give them a try and see how they will make a difference in your day. Enjoy working from home, it could become the new normal!
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