Suddenly working from home? Now what?
If you’ve been asked to work from home, staying focused and productive is likely to be your top priority. Especially if you’re new to being on your own and away from the daily energy of office life with your teammates.
You’re already self-motivated, so you may find that home can be the most productive place to do great work for your clients. Lawyers who excel at working remotely know it takes discipline but the time savings and productivity gains are worth the effort. Here are some simple rules to help you master the job.
What you wear affects your mood and posture. At minimum, ask yourself if you would be comfortable running into a colleague on the street wearing what you wear in your home office. If the answer is no, it’s back to the closet.
Get a head start
You have a huge advantage when you don’t have to sit in traffic or on public transit. Use the extra time in the morning to get a few tasks out of the way before the emails and phones calls start. If you need an incentive to become an early bird, multiply your hourly rate by the average commute time in your city.
Trick out your office
Anyone who works on a computer should invest in the most ergonomic home office possible. If your firm has great chairs, find out if you can buy one from the dealer and get the firm’s discount. You should also investigate the tax consequences of furnishing your home office. You may be able to claim some or all of your expenses as tax write-offs.
Schedule meals and avoid snacks
Snacking is an unhealthy form of procrastination and if you’re taken to wear loose-fitting clothing around the new home office you may not notice the consequences right away. Stick to a regular schedule, drink lots of water, and limit the number of unhealthy snacks in the kitchen until you acclimatize to your new routine.
Working from home doesn’t stop you from being collaborative. Just be sure that everyone knows how to reach you and install whatever software you need to attend meetings and securely access files online. If you are unavailable, turn on your Auto Reply and book the time in your calendar so everyone knows you are busy doing something else.
Treat yourself to some free education
Pick a subject that’s always interested you and set some time aside to take advantage of your productivity. Go online and learn about digital photography, hosting a webinar, or how to do yoga. No one expects you to work without some kind of mental break.
Know when to stop
Without the cleaning staff to let you know the day is over, it can be tempting to work late and run the risk of burnout. Knowing when to shut down is just as important as knowing how to get started and stay focused.