Drumm Law and its team of 24 have been working remotely for 10 years. Here are some tips for the newly virtual.

  1. Get out of bed (literally and figuratively)
    Do not lay in bed with the laptop. That is fine for weekend/evening work but not for day to day. Get out of your pajamas. There is a psychological component (for me at least) about getting dressed and ready for work and working.

  2. Setup a work area
    Ideally, you need a separate place, whether it is a guest room, separate office or basement. If you have younger kids, a room with a door lock can help (my kids would randomly show up in the middle of a conference call before I had installed a lock on the door and two year olds rarely leave quietly). If you do not have access to a separate work area, use technology to create a “virtual work area.” Noise cancelling headphones are key! (I recommend either the Bose QC 35 or Bose QC 700)

    This commercial sums up why I love my noise cancelling headphones when I work from home:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqYK9W2A53s

  3. Set up a workstation
    Your laptop may have worked for weekend work but will it work for your daily workload? Do you need a bigger monitor? Are you a dual monitor addict? Set yourself up to be productive. Have everything you need in one place.

  4. Set a work schedule
    Avoid the “Am I always at home or am I always working” mentality by planning each day (this is also a productivity hack too). Set your work day and breaks. It’s okay if it changes.

  5. Communicate with your family
    Let them know your break schedules. Have them treat you like you are at work (text me as opposed to coming into my work area).

  6. Stay away from the fridge
    You are in a new “work” environment with new “work” food. Limit your snack visits to avoid the Virtual Freshman 15.

  7. People should only know you are working from home if you tell them
    Don’t have dogs barking in the background or the television on. This may also tie back to communication with the family. Let them know if you have an important call or if they need to be extra quiet.

  8. Be careful of scammers
    They are also working from home. Make sure you have anti-virus protection. Don’t open emails that look suspicious. Now might be a good time to update passwords.

  9. Get work done
    It’s easy to get distracted with news, social media and life. Try to be as productive as you can. Don’t put off work unless you have to. Try to do “business as usual” as much as you can.

  10. Take breaks
    Do you normally take a lunch break every day? If so, continue to do it. Use the time you would have spent commuting to the office each day to take a walk or exercise.