Categories

Subscribe to our mailing list

Get the news right in your inbox!

How to adapt to working from home if you have never WFH before

May 15, 2020

Since so many people will be (or have been) asked to work from home now, here are some quick tips on working from home (from someone who has worked from home for almost a decade and made many mistakes along the way).

These tips are more helpful for someone who hasn’t had experience working from home, and now needs to work on a laptop at home.

1. Don’t work in your bedroom.

Most people work in their bedroom when they first start working from home as it seems like the most obvious choice. However, it is not recommended as you’ll tend to be less productive in your place of comfort, and you’ll turn your place of comfort into a place of anxiety.

I know this is easier said than done. Some of us who share a house with a bigger family simply don’t have a spare room or study room to use as a home office space.

If you don’t have an extra room, you can use the dining table as a short term solution. If you foresee yourself having to work from home in the long run, aim to set up a small work desk in a corner of the living room.

working in bed

2. Don’t work on the bed or sofa.

Being able to work in bed is like a dream come true for some. You might think that working in bed with your fluffy pillows would be really comfortable. That’s not true.

It’s bad ergonomics to work in bed as you’ll be constantly looking down or laying down in all sorts of positions. In addition, you should not be placing your laptop on soft surfaces like your bed or prop it up with pillows as it’ll overheat the laptop.

3. Don’t work facing the window, or have your back facing the window.

If your house’s windows get a lot of sunlight, you’ll need to take note of where you should not be working at. Try not to work facing or have your back facing a window that has sunlight shining through.

Both of these positions cause a lot of reflection and glare for your eyes, which could result in eye strain. Use a curtain to block the sun’s glare. The best position is usually when the sunlight source comes from the side.

4. Prop your laptop up to around eye level.

Most of us probably brought home only our work laptop. Now that you’re working with just a laptop, you’ll get a neckache pretty fast if you are constantly looking down at your laptop screen.

Prop the laptop up to around eye level using whatever solid thing you can find, and connect an external keyboard and mouse.

5. Invest in an external keyword and mouse.

If you do a lot of typing, get an external keyword and mouse as laptop keyboards are typically too cramped, and using the trackpad is a fast track to wrist pain.

6. Improve your home office ergonomics.

If your shoulder is in a shrugged position, or if your chin is in a forward position when you work at home, tweak your workplace ergonomics.

Take a photo of yourself seated at where you are working and observe your posture. Your legs and arms should be in 90 degrees, and your wrists should be straight. Make adjustments until you come as close to this as possible.

7. Optimize your Internet connection.

Since more people will be working from home, and video calls need a more consistent connection, it’s time to optimize your Internet connection.

If lan cables are not possible, try positioning the Wi-Fi router such that there is a clear line of sight to your device, with no metal objects or walls in the way.

text messages on phone

8. Stay connected with your teammates and co-workers.

Despite working at home on your own, don’t forget that you and your co-workers are all going through this together. Take the opportunity to share work from home survival tips with each other.

In fact, chatting with your co-workers about how you feel and how you’re adjusting to working from home may make you realize that you’re not the only one having difficulty with the transition.

9. Communicate to your family when they should not disturb you.

Now that you’re working from home, your family members may not understand your work schedule as well as your co-workers in the office.

To help your family members know when you would like to be left alone, you can make a simple ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and display it when necessary. Communicate to your family that when the sign is up, they should not be disturbing you.

They can also do the same for themselves. A little respect for each other’s needs goes a long way, especially when you’re all working under the same roof now.

set a routine

10. Set a routine.

Without a manager around to scrutinize, many people start leading irregular hours once they begin working from home. This has a negative impact on your productivity and ability to focus on your work.

You should set fixed working hours for yourself even if your work allows for flexibility. Wake up, have breakfast, and start work at the same time every day. Once you set yourself into a routine, it will be easier to stay disciplined and focused while working from home.

have breakfast

11. Try to have everyone at home follow the same routine.

When you were working in an office, everyone would start and end work at around the same time. Likewise, it would be helpful if everyone in the household wakes up, has breakfast, starts work, has lunch and knocks off at around the same timing.

By synchronising everyone’s routine, you will be able to have the peace you need when you’re at work, since others will be at work too. You won’t have to put up with a noisy kitchen and lunch time chatter because you’re working when others are eating.

12. Try not to work too much overtime (OT) and on weekends.

Now that you’re working from home, you may find it hard to call it a day and stop work. Some people find it difficult to draw the line and knock off since they are already at home.

Prolonged overtime work and burning your weekends (even if you are at home) create mental and emotional fatigue, because you don’t get sufficient physical separation of work and rest. Avoid burnout!

13. Create a separate user profile on your laptop for work.

If for some reason you are using the same laptop for both work and play, create separate user profiles for each purporse. The work profile would have your work tools, browsers, chat tools, emails, etc. Your personal profile would have your Steam, Netflix, YouTube, etc.

Don’t mix the two of them as much as possible, so that you can maintain a clear line between work and rest. Aim for maximum productivity during work, and no work anxiety during rest.

exercise at home

14. Avoid getting ‘cabin fever’.

If you work in a room with the aircon on, curtains drawn, and doors closed, some people get ‘cabin fever’ or a gradual sense of isolation and feeling ‘cooped up’.

To avoid that, open up the windows and doors, look out into the open, take a walk outside your home to buy necessities, talk to friends, exercise regularly, etc.

15. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Anticipate that there will be days when we’re a little off, feel unmotivated, or simply not performing at 100% no matter where we work. Don’t beat yourself over it. We are only human.

You may or may not like the changes coming your way. Regardless, stay open-minded and just put in your utmost effort.

I wish everyone the best. Stay safe and healthy at home. Do care about your mental and emotional well-being too! They are often missed out. 💪

TL;DR? Here’s the list for a quick glance through.

1. Don’t work in your bedroom.
2. Don’t work on the bed or sofa.
3. Don’t work facing the window, or have your back facing the window.
4. Prop your laptop up to around eye level.
5. Invest in an external keyword and mouse.
6. Improve your home office ergonomics.
7. Stay connected with your teammates and co-workers.
8. Optimize your Internet connection.
9. Communicate to your family when they should not disturb you.
10. Set a routine.
11. Try to have everyone at home follow the same routine.
12. Try not to work too much overtime (OT) and on weekends.
13. Create a separate user profile on your laptop for work.
14. Avoid getting ‘cabin fever’.
15. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Sharing is caring – if you have any tips or personal experiences to share, please comment below! 🙂

Marc

Marc has worked from home for over 10 years, started as a freelancer, then a consultant, all the way up to being a marketing agency owner. He's an entrepreneur at heart, and is passionate about helping others find success in remote working.

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

I accept the Privacy Policy

About Us

About Us

Marc & Rin

We are a husband and wife team that are both working from home in Singapore. We share our experiences working from home and to impart our knowledge to others who are seeking to do the same. Learn more about us

Marc & Rin

Learn from our work from home experience

Get notified of any new tips we share about working from home

Find us on Social

Top Recommended Reads

×