How to Manage Time and Space When WFH

March 30, 2020

How to Manage Time and Space When WFH

By Kira Pogge

The current global health crisis has resulted in a mass transition from traditional office environments to remote working situations. While this may seem like an easy change, it is quite transformative. We have to rethink how and where we work, what our day looks like, and how to balance time and space with our partners and children also now working or learning from home.

In a recent conversation on the State of the Channel podcast Melissa Hockenberry, Community Program Manager, and Sharon Malfesi, Director, Agile Project Management, discussed how to transition to a remote office successfully. Below are five key takeaways from their conversation.

1. Utilize your commute time: Now that you don’t have to travel to and from work, think about how you can maximize that “extra” time to make your day more efficient. You could use those minutes or hours to do several things including:

  • Set up your new office space
  • Plan your strategy for the day
  • Exercise more self-care or time with family
  • Get “to work” early, before the emails and meetings begin

2. Set up a workspace that serves you: When you personalize your desk at work, you ensure you have the right functional and decorative items in place that make you feel motivated and creative. Creating an effective workspace at home is just as essential. Set aside a dedicated area to work in that minimizes distractions and maximizes productivity. Make an effort to be consistent and work in this area every day to help build a new routine.

3. Set Expectations:

  • With your housemates: Let your partner, children, or roommates know what your schedule looks like, when you have meetings, and when you need focused time to work. Do the same for them. You're less likely to interrupt one another if you take time early on to communicate routines.
  • With your team: Reach out and get insights from your team. Try to understand everyone's schedule and challenges. Also, be clear about what is expected of them each week so they have a clear direction. What do they need to have and to do succeed?
  • With your boss: If your routine needs to change as a result of working from home, let your boss know right away. Talk through what is needed from a scheduling standpoint, childcare, communication, etc. This will ensure you and your boss are on the same page and ultimately you'll be more productive and happy in your work.

    4. Plan your distractions: Set up time on your calendar for breaks throughout the day. Often, people who work at home forget to take breaks that would just come naturally working in an office. Think about how often you go to the cafeteria to get coffee or water, take a walk with co-workers at lunch, or stop working to have conversations with your co-workers. Those breaks, as long as it's not too often, are an important part of your routine that you can still work into your day. Take the opportunity to eat lunch with your family, hear about your roommate's latest work project, and take a walk with your significant other.

    5. Time block and plan a clear start time and a clear end time: Identify times on your schedule each day where you can block out time to work on your priorities and ensure you have the time and space to truly focus. Also, ensure that your day has a clear start and end time. Without these, routine start and end times applied to our schedule, we often work much longer than usual and burn out quickly. The planned distractions mentioned above can also be included as time blocks on your calendar.

    Take a step back and go through this list to ensure you’ve set yourself up for success in your work from home experience. Check out this podcast episode, “Working from Home Series: Managing Your Time & Space”, to get more details directly from Melissa and Sharon.

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