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I have now been working from home for more than four months. And overall, I like it a lot! For me, there are many advantages to working from home when compared to going to the office.
But, it takes some time and organization to get used to working from home. So, I wanted to share my experience with you in the hope that it will help some people with working from home.
This year was my first experience working from home. So, I am no expert! But I wanted to share my tips and experience!
My Working From Home situation
First of all, I realize that I am in a good situation for working from home. I do not have kids, and we have an apartment with an office room that only me and my wife share.
So, of course, my experience cannot be compared with people that had to work at home with young children running around. And it cannot be compared with people sharing a tiny apartment with other people.
I have now been working from home for more than three months since March 2020. And before that, I had to work two weeks at home when I came back from China. So all my Work From Home experience comes from COVID.
So far, I am enjoying the Work From Home experience. I feel happier working from home than having to go to the office.
Tips for working from home
Here are a few things I learned about working from home these last few months.
Set a working place
I think it is essential to have a good place to work at home.
I mean that you should have a desk with enough room for your work things. Ideally, you want a good chair too. If you are going to sit all day, you do not want to work on your sofa or your kitchen chair.
I always had a desk at home for my computer. So for me, this is not a big deal. I put my laptop on my desk and connect it to one of my monitors. And from there, I can do good work. Since I have a standing desk at home, I try to do half my day standing.
Of course, not everybody will be so lucky. If you do not have a desk, a standard table will be the next best thing. But you
One important thing is to avoid distractions. For this, I do two things. First, I let my phone in another room at all times. And I do not start my personal computer. With this, I can focus solely on my work. And as soon as the work is done, I close my work laptop and start my personal computer. That way, I have a clear distinction between work and personal stuff. And this is essential for a good balance.
Start at the same time every day
One essential thing for me is to start and stop at the same time every day.
Many people work more hours when they are working from home. But if you are not being paid more, there are no reasons to work more than before! And also, many people work too little when they are working from home. Working too little is not great either because this will not look good from your company’s point of view.
What I did is keep my old working hours once working from home. I start working at 7:30 am, and I stop working around 5 pm. These are the same hours I was doing before. I am thinking of reducing them further since overtime is not being paid for me. But for now, I am comfortable with these hours.
That way, I enter work mode at 7:30 am, and I switch out of work mode around 5 pm. Of course, I take a long pause for lunch with my wife.
Take regular pauses
Many people take fewer pauses at home than they do at the office.
The reason is that when you are in the office, you go to pause with your colleagues and you can discuss things with them. When you are at home, you do not have this incentive.
But pauses are essential when you are working from home too.
I usually do two pauses each day. I do a pause in the morning around 9 am with my morning coffee. This pause can be about 15 minutes, during which I usually read. And I do a second 15 minutes in the afternoon when I am between task with my afternoon coffee.
You do not have to be as routine-driven as I am able. Some people take many smaller pauses instead.
Replace your daily commute with a walk
One great thing I started doing is replacing my daily commute with a walk.
I have a reasonable commute of about 25 minutes each way. I save this time every morning. It is not a good idea to work extra time to replace the commute. Not having a commute gives you some extra time. And you should take advantage of this time.
At the beginning of the remote work period, I simply took a pause in the morning instead of my commute time. After a while, I decided to replace this by a short walk. So instead of commuting to work, I do a short 20-25 minutes walk. We live close to a river, so I walk to the river, a little along to it, and come back.
It is not a long walk. But it is great to get some fresh air. And it is also great to get some exercise done in the morning.
Advantages of working from home
For me, there are many advantages to working from home. Here are the main benefits of working from home for me, in no particular order.
First, I save time on my commute. I never enjoyed my daily commute. When working from home, I save around 50 minutes each day. I replaced the morning commute with a walk, so that is another advantage.
And having pauses, I also have more time for myself. I am reading a lot of books these last few months. I am also reading some professional books as part of one of my yearly goals. Reading is something I would very rarely do in the office.
I also save some money by working at home. In our case, this is very little money, but the savings are good! We are saving about 100 CHF per month on gas. Since I was already bringing my food to work, it does not make a huge difference.
Another advantage is that I take much more fresh air! When I am at work, I never go out of the office. When I work from home, I take as many pauses as possible in our backyard. I think this much healthier!
I am probably the exception here, but I have a better desk at home than at work. I have an adjustable standing desk. And I have better monitors than the one I have at work. So, it is a better experience to work from home than it is to work from the office.
And our apartment is significantly cooler than the office. So, this is also great for people like me that do not like high temperatures.
Also, my productivity is higher when I work from home. The reason is that I do not get as many distractions as I did in the office. And since I am a strong believer in deep work, this is a good thing!
When working from home, I get to spend more time with my wife. We have lunch together every day. And I can help with cooking dinner. When I was at the office, she would eat lunch alone and cook alone most days.
As you can see, for me, there are tons of advantages to working from home. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages. But of course, this is only my point of view. I know some people who are missing the contact with their colleagues.
Things I have not figured out
There are still some things I have not figured out with working from home.
One bad thing about working from home is that I am not going to the gym anymore. I never liked going to the gym. But I always went for health reasons. Now that the gym is not on my commute, I do not have the motivation to go there on purpose.
I am actively thinking about starting to do a little gym a home. But we have no room even to put a small bench. So, I will have to wait until we have a new house or apartment for this. In the meantime, I have no idea. I have done a little gym in the living room. But we have to move too many things around for this to be comfortable.
A much smaller thing is that I will need to get a bigger desk. Having my work laptop on my desk all the time takes about a third of the space. I would prefer having it towed away when I do not use it.
So, except for the gym, I do not have significant issues with working from home. I just need to improve my desk organization if I have to work from home longer.
Hopefully, some people will learn some things to improve their work from home experience. I have learned a lot about working from home in the last months. I never considered this before. But I like it!
I do not know how long I will be able to work from home. We still have no definite date for going back to the office. I am expecting this to last at least until the beginning of fall. And then, I am expecting expanded possibilities for work from home. But I will see that later!
One thing is sure. I will miss working from home once this is over.
For me, efficiency is increased by routine, as you have seen in this post. I also have a monthly routine for my personal finances.
If you are working at home or in a lockdown, you could take this opportunity to improve your finances while in lockdown.
What about you? Do you like working from home? Do you have tips for better efficiency at home?