2020 has thrown us all some curve balls, and now with so many of us working from home, in the beginning it might have  felt like we were living the dream! Some people find that working from home has allowed them to feel more productive and they have thrived, but for some of us, and after so long, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and productivity has slumped in the corner a little bit. How do you stay motivated when you haven’t been out of the house for days on end? How do you put your best face forward when you’re still in pajamas at 3 pm? 

There are a few tips we can share with you, as we all try to work on feeling more normal and sane as best we can. A few of these tips will help you look more professional on your next zoom meeting, and some of these tips will just make you feel just a little bit better whilst working from home. 

If you’re not used to working from home and have been thrown into it unexpectedly, (like most of the world in these new COVID-19 times) these tips will hopefully help. If you choose to adopt them, you will look more professional during a video conference call, learn to relax a little, and allow yourself to take a mental health break. When working from home, we can easily become mentally exhausted from the lack of routine and structure causing us to work too much. The opposite can also be said, if you lose all motivation, you may feel drained and unhappy. It’s crucial to find some middle ground when you work from home. 

The Best Tips for Working from Home

Everyone has their own method of madness, and the same can be said for working. No matter where you are or what you do, chances are, you have a routine and stick with it. However, if you worked in the office from 9-5 and now, your office is the kitchen table… Things can get a little tricky. Here are some of the best tips for working from home. 

•    Create an Office– Sure, the kitchen table is big enough. However, it is not your own space where you can leave things out. You have to clean up every day to eat dinner with your family. Creating a desk or workspace where you can keep organized entirely without needing to move stuff every night is one of the best ways to feel on top of things. By creating an office, you create a quiet sanctuary where you can work unbothered and keep it set up however you need to. This is also really important for creating a ‘workplace’ within your home. If you work at the kitchen table, you will always feel like you’re ‘at work’, whereas by creating a seperate space, you can arrive at work in the morning after your breakfast, go on a lunch break, and knock off at the end of your day by closing the door behind you. Creating these clear segments and areas for your work/life balance is really important and will  help you feel successful. 

•    Backdrop– Maybe you don’t want to throw down money on a background wallpaper. That’s okay, but when you take a video conferencing call, you need to be aware that the viewers can see your background. If it is messy or chaotic, they will be able to see, and you may feel a little self-conscious. Having a backdrop behind your desk, vanity, or wherever you take the video conference call may help you feel more professional and keep your home life private from your colleagues or clients. Simply hanging a bed sheet up on the wall behind you, or re-orienting your desk so that a blank wall is behind you rather than the busy room can make a big difference.  

•    LED Ring Light- Along with a good background, you will want to show your face clearly on a video conference call. It will help you appear more awake by reducing the dark shadows that can cover our face in bad lighting, give a more detailed image for the other viewers, and make you look significantly more professional than everyone else. Having good lighting can help others feel connected to you by seeing your face and expressions more clearly. A ring light is perfect for any room or set up, not just one that is obviously low lit, as you can adjust the brightness and colour of the light to give you optimum glow without looking washed out or like you’re obviously trying! 

•    Walks- If you find yourself trapped inside all day long, creating content, writing emails, and taking video conference calls, no doubt your eyes will be hurting from the increased screen time and you feel like you’re going insane from the overflow of incoming emails, go take a break! Getting outside for at least 30 minutes each day can seriously help your mental health. It is an excellent way to take a moment and self-reflect, almost like a way to meditate midday. You can take this time to let go of any stress and get back to work feeling refreshed. 

•    Routine- Even though you’re working from home, you should create a routine that allows you to feel productive. If you have no habits, you will feel less motivated and less productive than your typical workday. If you usually work out before work, maintain that routine even when you work from home. Another thing to try that will help you create a routine is time blocking. To-do lists can feel depressing to look at and make you feel like you’re not getting a lot done. Time blocking means instead of going task to task, you block out your day into sections. One time block for reading emails, one-time block for working out, and another for your main project etc. We find a 90 minute time block is a good amount of time to sink our teeth into a project, then we take a 30 minute break before the next block. This will help you be more productive and feel like you have accomplished a lot.

How to Take the Best Video Conference Call?

The best way to take a video conference call is in a quiet and clean room. Choose the most secluded room with good lighting. If you can’t find a well-lit room or it’s late in the day during your video conference call, be sure to invest in an LED ring light. A  6-inch LED ring is the perfect size for desktops and will give a nice soft light without looking too harsh or overwhelming. It sits at the right height to shine perfectly across your face and shoulders. It will add dimension to your look and let you be seen clearly across the screen. 

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hard but rewarding. Once you understand your routine and what helps you feel productive, you will never want to go back into the office. With these tips, you will feel as professional as you look even while working from home. You can be productive if you find what works for you.