Choosing to work from home versus being abruptly transitioned to a work from home setting with no other option understandably invokes two very different feelings. Yet, as we settle into our new reality, we must grapple with and learn to thrive in a setting with more flexibility and freedom, an increase in isolation, and the potential for constant distractions. Our team here at Beech Valley has years of experience working from home so we asked them for their advice. Here are their most vital tips to stay productive, establish boundaries, and maintain motivation throughout the workday.
Caroline Weimar – Director of Talent Operations
Having worked from home for the last 5 years, I’ve developed a few strategies to help me be the most efficient. I’ve found that generally, there are fewer distractions at home if you establish boundaries (i.e., avoiding working in front of a TV). A few things that have worked for me include:
- Having a designated workspace that allows me to be away from distractions
- Setting a to-do list of the things I need to accomplish each day just as I would in the office
- Taking small breaks throughout the day (lunch, go on a walk during a call, etc.) to prevent sitting at my desk all day.
Kids at home during the COVID-19 situation adds a whole new layer, so I’ve had to adjust my schedule and take advantage of nap time/evening hours, for example, to maximize my efficiency during that time period.
Monica Huff – Director of Talent Acquisition
Working from home (WFH) can be a blessing and a curse! I echo my counterparts when I say the number one rule is to have a dedicated, organized workspace that limits distractions and embarrassing background noise (pets, kids, neighbors, tv, etc.). Just as key is “training” your household in what WFH means and your expectations. Set boundaries for when they can or cannot engage you during your workday. And, since pets don’t know boundaries, closing them out of your workspace may be necessary.
My last two thoughts on WFH sanity are: (1) knowing when to walk away and (2) intentionally staying connected with your team. Since you don’t commute, it’s very easy to spend too much time locked away in your home office — get up, move, eat lunch and end your day at a reasonable time. Be sure to establish regular contact with your team members. You will likely miss the in-office comradery and conversations that you’re accustomed to, so make it point to stay connected!
Megan Lewczyk, CPA – Marketing Consultant
I’ve worked remotely with my clients for over 7 years, and my number one piece of advice is to set boundaries to establish a crystal clear distinction between personal and work time. And, it’s not just a matter of blocking out work time on your calendar, although that’s an excellent place to start. You must also set clear boundaries by dedicating a physical space for only work during the workday. Consistency with these boundaries helps keep the quality of your work consistent, while not feeling like you are working 24/7.
While it can be a delicate balance, high performance requires you to fend off distractions and also take ample breaks. I’ve found that work can be a place where you feel in control in a world of uncertainty, and that drives you to strive for more. But don’t let it go too far. It’s essential not to work at all hours of the day to the point of burnout. The “hustle harder” culture promotes sleepless nights and sacrifices and disregards best practices related to wellness. It’s important to prioritize your physical and emotional health, both in light of current events and, quite frankly, staying happy and healthy no matter the circumstances.
Brian McDaniel – Chief Technology Officer
One of my favorite things about working from home is having total control over my environment. My number one tip would be to set up a dedicated workspace and to invest in making it a comfortable and productive place to be. A supportive chair and a spacious desk are essential, but my favorite home office upgrade has been my mechanical keyboard. If you spend all day typing, you might as well do it comfortably!
Angie Williams, CPA – Director of Business Development
Based on my experience with working from home over the past 7 years, there are a few key tips that have been important in maintaining my productivity. First and foremost, as my colleagues have also mentioned, I have a separate workspace at home with all my office needs within reach to minimize distractions. However, with my kids and pets afoot, I also have a dedicated closet when I need the utmost privacy! (Editor’s note: this is especially true when taking a nationally televised interview from the home office!)
Secondly, organization and setting boundaries are essential. I make a weekly and daily list of tasks to keep on track and productivity strong. I also have a typical stop to my workday, as I would at the office, to maintain a balance between personal and professional life. Finally, stay connected with your co-workers! It’s important to call, message, video conference and/or combination of all to talk personally and professionally throughout the week.
Together, even though many of the physical offices are closed around the country including ours, Beech Valley is adapting to the new challenges that each day brings. All of our team members have vast experience in meeting deadline-driven objectives, both as leaders and doers. Learn more about the team here.