When I first found out that both my summer job and internship would involve working from home, I was thrilled. It seemed like the perfect way to enjoy my last summer as a student, while still earning a paycheck and gaining resume-boosting experience. I pictured days spent laying out on my deck with my laptop, iced coffee in hand. However, PR is a team sport and thrives on collaboration. In order to be a valuable part of the team, I had to learn a thing or two about being productive and involved from home.
Here’s what I learned during my summer as a work-at-home PR practitioner:
1. Set your hours
One of the perks of working from home is having flexibility in your schedule. However, it’s still important to have established work days. Set an alarm so you can wake up at a decent time and get a head start on the day, but also remember to stop working on time too. Setting specific working hours helps create a balance between work-life and home-life.
2. Get dressed
Instead of rolling out of bed and grabbing your computer, take the time to shower and get ready for the day. Yes, this means putting on real clothes too. Working in your pajamas from bed is tempting, but you’ll be more focused when you make an attempt to look like a working adult.
3. Establish a routine
Get yourself into a working mindset by creating a routine to start the day. Mine involved making coffee, checking emails and creating a to-do list to work off of that day.
4. Stay connected
You may not be in the office with them on a daily basis, but staying connected to your coworkers and managers is crucial to being productive. Set up weekly or daily check-ins and make yourself available to telecommute to meetings. I made sure that the majority of my work hours happened while they were working too so we could easily go back and forth on projects.
5. Take breaks
Whether you benefit more from taking one long lunch break or several small breaks throughout the day, take the time to step away from work and clear your mind. Get lunch with a friend or take your dog for a walk. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work.
6. Set boundaries
Whether you’re living with family or roommates, it’s important to communicate when you’re working and shouldn’t be distracted. I found it helpful to work in a main living space, leaving myself open to a few moments of casual conversation throughout the day. Then, when I had an important phone call or needed to focus, I could go to a separate room and shut the door.
7. Turn on music
TV can be a little too distracting when working from home, but I found that turning on new-to-me music provided the perfect background noise. I didn’t know the words so I couldn’t sing along, but I also wasn’t sitting in silence all day.
8. Vary your location
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery or to be around other individuals in order to feel like you’re being productive. Try camping out in a coffee shop or library for an afternoon to spark additional momentum.
Do you thrive or struggle when working from home? What tricks do you use to stay on task?