How to Work From Home (A Visual Guide)

Apr 28, 2020

Working from home sounds fun, right? You can sleep in a bit later, work in your favorite SpongeBob PJs, attend virtual meetings on your couch, and crush your work while avoiding the distractions of a modern office environment.

What could go wrong?

Well, if you’re like our team at The Sketch Effect, transitioning to a full-time work-from-home lifestyle is harder than it seems. Now you’re dealing with a whole new set of distractions, snacks (and naps) are just steps away, and fatigue and lethargy can easily set in.

Working from home is a lot harder than any of us thought.

 

To help us (and all of you) out, we put together a simple visual guide on how to work from home…without going crazy. We boiled it down to five of our favorite tips – and then sketched them out (since sketching is our thing):

1. Act Like an Office

Although it’s tempting to work in your comfortable pajamas while lounging on the couch, it’s far more effective to treat your work-from-home day as…a workday. Emphasis on the work. Take a shower, put on your normal (or close to normal) work clothes, and set up a professional-feeling workstation.

Your work area should not be the same as your lounge area. Having a healthy separation between the two spaces will help your brain stay in “work” mode while working, and when it’s time to lounge, easily transition to “lounge” mode. If you blend the two, you will work less productively, and you will lounge less restfully.

You can balance work-from-home comfort with the professionalism that comes with working in an office. It just takes a little bit of intentionality.

2. Take Short but Regular Breaks

While it’s tempting to steal a nap or two during the work-from-home day, it’s also tempting to do the opposite and overwork. If you’re like us, sometimes it feels like you need a crowbar to dislodge your eyeballs from your computer screen. Although you might feel like you’re getting a lot done, overworking tends to produce worse results and lead to lower productivity.

The answer? Take short and regular breaks. Set alarms throughout the day to remind you to get up, step away, and refuel. Make sure you stay hydrated and eat well, too. Get your blood flowing. Move around, stretch, and breathe. Turn your gaze towards something that’s not a screen.

Here are a few of our team’s favorite ways to enjoy short breaks: a quick yoga session, a short jog around the neighborhood, a few sets of push-ups, an easy stroll while listening to some music, etc. Discover the thing that fills you with energy and then schedule it in!

3. Be Kind to Yourself and Others

Give grace to yourself and to other people. Everyone is handling this work-from-home transition differently. Some are having a harder time than others.

Be patient with yourself and those around you. Show forgiveness when technical difficulties create interruptions. Laugh together when your colleague’s unruly 3-year old screams in the background and hurls his toys across the screen. Be understanding when certain expectations are not met. The world needs a bit more kindness and grace, and we all have an opportunity to lead the charge.

4. Stay in Contact

It’s easy to feel isolated while working from home. That isolation can send one into a downward spiral of loneliness, malaise, and even depression or anxiety.

Human connection is so important, so stay connected to your team and clients. Send check-in emails, chats, or texts. Share regular updates on what you’re working on. Schedule virtual team calls even if you have no formal purpose or agenda for that call. Simply checking in and seeing your team’s faces is a great purpose in and of itself.

Laugh together, joke together, share hilarious quarantine stories together. If someone is struggling with something, then talk it through. It’s hard to gauge others’ emotions when there is a screen in the way, so take time to dig deeper and connect.

5. Accept Distractions

Distractions will happen. Know they will happen and accept them when they do. It’s a great idea to set up systems to mitigate these distractions, but even the best of efforts cannot prevent them all. Again, have a little patience and grace for yourself and others.

These are just a few of our favorite work-from-home tips and tricks, but comment below with any techniques or strategies you’ve found especially helpful.

We’re all in this together!

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