Tips on working at home from a small business owner

I have been working as a web and graphic designer for my own small business since 1994. That is quite a long time, and I have learned how to spend my day productively.

I have also been teaching elementary students part-time for five years, and that’s given me the avenue to work among others, namely, teachers and students. But now with the command for social distancing and the schools where I teach being closed, I find I must readjust my daily routine again. So, I am back in the design studio five days a week. Here is some advice for others who are working from home for the first time.

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10 Tips on working from home

Start your day just as if you were going to work. Be sure to have breakfast and get dressed, so your workday begins. Just because you are home now doesn’t mean you can spend the day in your pajamas. Try to keep the day moving like it would naturally. Don’t work extended hours. Just because you are home don’t give in to temptation and work longer than you would at the office. Break for coffee/tea, lunch, and so on.

Be sure to create a schedule each morning and stick to it. It can be as simple as a few post-it notes on your desk to instructions on a white board. Write out which tasks are the harder ones and do those first. Write out plans for later in the week if you want to plan ahead.

If you are part of a family and all are home, set time perimeters for how much time each of you can use computers or other devices. Then everybody can be productive. (I’m going to assume that a worker who needed a computer at their office was provided with one to use at home.)

Your health is very important at this time, so you must get moving a few times a day. Once a day try to do some type of exercise. Walk, run, or bike, even in the home through tv or video lessons. Plus, be sure you stand up, stretch and walk around every hour or so.

Make sure that your workspace and chair are comfortable and set up the right way. For instance, don’t work at a table that is too high or you will start to have other problems. I have a separate office in my apartment, so I always know when I am at work. Create a healthy work environment. It will work to your advantage.

There are all kinds of things you can do now that you have more time. Update your website and the content within. Update all your social profiles or join more. Think of ways to attract more business and clients if everyone is at home. What are some new services and/or products you can offer? If your business is not really affected, you still need to create, advertise, and plan, and you still need to think down the road for when offerings start to pop up.

Remember: even if you’re not having in-person meetings, you can still be social. Check in with colleagues, clients, family and friends. Use the various platforms to talk, see each other, or share your screen for lessons.

But do limit your time on social media or you may loose your work productivity. If you must, set a timer.

If you want to check in on the news of the day, set aside certain times, so you aren’t trying to work and watch the news at the same time. Don’t watch the news while eating. Don’t eat while working.

After you have completed your work for the day, find some recreational activities to do to expand your mind while at home, such as creating art, playing music, or playing an intellectual game like Scrabble.

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