So you finally got that job you wanted. Sure, it took some time and effort, but you managed to score a well paid position that matches all your needs. It has good career advancement plan, great benefits and to top it all off: Work from Home days. And you could not be more excited to start cashing them in.
Maybe you’re on a fully remote team, managing your own business or enjoying those flexible Fridays everyone was talking about. Whatever the reason may be, you get to spend a day at home in your PJ’s drinking soda with the TV as background music. Or maybe you even decide to go out and take your work to the park, or the local Starbucks.
Life is good and you start to fantasize about trips to the Caribbean, and taking pictures of your laptop with an orange drink.
Then all of a sudden phone calls start coming in, emails roll into your inbox, and messages saying “Where are you?” are dominating your slack. And that’s when you remember that Work From Home Days are not vacations; and you really should have sent those changes an hour ago.
But, what if I told you there are some things you could do to ride the Work From Home high a little longer? And that if you do them right, you can make your days at home feel like a real treat.
1.- Do most of your work early in the morning or late at night.
I wanted to put this point here first, because otherwise it looks like i’m telling you to take the day off.
The most important thing you, me and everyone working from home needs to remember is that it is still a job. And that means that your work has to get done. There is no going around that.
But here’s the good part:
The more efficient you are delivering quality work while working from home, the better it will be for everyone involved.
Your company will experience growth, your boss will be happier, and you’ll be able to enjoy these days more.
Working from home gives you the opportunity to decide how you’re going to be doing your job. This means you get to actually work when you’re at your most productive. And if you’re like most people: It’s not the middle of the day.
Being able to get a good, solid and uninterrupted 5 hours of work early in the morning should really help you get ahead of your game. Best case scenario, you’ll be done with everything you have to do that day, save for meetings and emergencies. Depending on how you work, you may even be able to apply this tip late at night.
Regardless of your choice, once you have everything ready, you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the day.
2.- Know your calendar.
So, you did all of your work, prepared your presentations, and answered all of your emails. You are now ready to jump into your car and go hiking with your SO, or maybe go see a movie. You get in the car, everyone’s excited, when all of a sudden you get an incoming phone call. There was a 1 hour meeting over lunch with the offshore team.
Things like these can happen to the best of us. Because, like I said, Work from Home days are not vacations. Your company is still operating today and that means meetings can happen. And it’s better that you’re ready for them ahead of time instead of keeping the kids waiting in the car for 40 minutes to an hour.
Make sure all your meetings are updated in your calendar, and that you setup your phone to remind you some time ahead. Knowing your calendar and planning around it can make a huge difference.
3.- Keep your laptop handy at all times.
Nothing is ever going to give you the security to leave your home like having a way to work on the go. For some people this means a cellphone, for other’s it’s a tablet. Me? I can’t leave home without my laptop.
Having the tools to do your remote work on the go is like having a toilet plunger. You won’t know you need them until you do. This takes some getting used to, but you’ll thank me when you can do that 5 minute fix at the restaurant instead of having to go all the way back home.
So, for those of you who do most of your work with a cellphone: I’m jealous. And for the rest of us, try to find a good means of keeping your laptop/tablet around. Maybe you like backpacks, maybe portfolios are more your thing, or perhaps you’re into purses or messenger bags.
Whatever the case may be, find something that works for you and don’t leave home without it.
4.- Always answer your phone.
I’ve never really understood why people send a text message for things that are urgent. Texts, slack messages and emails were not invented with the idea of having to be answered right away. And while I understand that everyone works differently, i’m pretty sure we can all agree on one thing:
If the situation demands a phone call, it’s usually pretty urgent or important.
By all means, speak to your team, coworkers or employees about this. Let them know that the quickest, most efficient way to reach you is by actually calling you. Be ready for some pushback and make sure to check slack every now and then, but also defend your posture.
I recommend also setting notifications on your phone for all mentions, direct messages and emails. Set alarms to fire off in the event an emergency occurs on the server (Bugsnag and FreshDesk are pretty sweet). And make sure to check these from time to time.
This will take some time to fine tune, so I don’t recommend just letting go right away. Test your setup over time and slowly come to know what (if anything) has a need for your constant attention. But be assured that you will eventually figure this out, and it will be amazing.
What you will achieve with this is peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about whether or not something needs you at work: Your phone will tell you.
And when that emergency does happen, it is very important you always answer your phone.
5.- Make sure you have WiFi at hand.
I believe this point should go without saying, but if you do most of your work on your laptop or tablet, you’re going to be needing WiFi at some point.
How easy this is for you will depend on how available WiFi is in your country. In some you struggle to get good reception at Starbucks, while others have internet coming out of trees.
For those of you living the Digital Nomad life I recommend going to Nomad List and sorting by Free Wifi. You can also search your hometown to see how well it’s doing in that regard.
Unlike the other tips, this one is not entirely in your control so don’t stress about it too much. If you follow everything else on this list, there should be very little you can’t resolve by making a quick trip to Starbucks. Having a good data plan on your cellphone doesn’t hurt though.
6.- (Extra) Remember to have a good time.
It’s important that you stay responsible and actually do all of your work on a day like this. It shows professionalism on your part and let’s your business know that this is how you function best.
But once you have mastered all of these steps, I highly encourage you to make the most out of your Work From Home Days.
Spend time with your family, catch up with a friend, or finally get to do some of that house cleaning you’ve been putting off. After all, there is a reason that Work From Home Days are considered a benefit (and one of the best ones, at that).
So whatever it is that you choose to do with these days, remember to have a good time.
Got any additional tip for working from home? Make sure to write it down in the comments. Want to help out a friend improve their Work From Home game? Show them this article. And if you want to see more from me on Remote Working, maybe I can interest you in some Remote Work Myth Busting.
As always, thank you for everything guys, and see you again (hopefully) before the year.