The office exodus has been taking place for well over a decade now and has dramatically accelerated since 2020.
The worldwide pandemic had people everywhere transition from working in the office to working at home literally overnight. What felt like a temporary situation in 2020 is now becoming a new normal in 2022.
With many organizations experiencing great success and employee satisfaction it appears that working from home is here to stay.
Whether you’re just getting started working from home or if you’ve been at it for nearly a decade like me, it’s critical for you to be aware of the 7 common mistakes people make and what you can do differently to improve your chances of success.
Not having a dedicated work space. The ideal set up for an at home worker is a dedicated private home office. Having a private office allows you to separate work life from home life in an instant.
Simply “commute” to work, close the door, and get to work. Although a private home office is ideal, not everyone has the luxury of this type of set up. If that is the case for you (like me), then below are a few ideas that may help.
- Turn a spare guest room into an office/bedroom combo.If you’re like most people you probably don’t have guests stay the night too often. This is a great place to hunker down and get your work done. When guests do plan to stay on occasion, you can use some of the other ideas below as a backup.
Set up an office space in your bedroom.
Although it can be a bit of an eye sore, the main bedroom is another place that should be quiet during the day and allow you to focus.
- Put your desk in a quietish common area. Because common areas can oftentimes be full of distracting noises it is important to use
a pair of Active Noise Cancelling headphones. Even in extremely distracting environments, ANC headphones allow you to block out surrounding noises so that you can focus on your work
Here's a blog post and a video that shows the best work from home headphones for business:
Not having a consistent morning routine. When working from home It is easy to fall into the habit of waking up 5 minutes before work, stumbling to the computer, and hoping the computer boots up on time to make it on time. I think it’s easy to understand that this is not a recipe for success.
Instead of waking up at the last minute try waking up at least 1 hour early (preferably 2 hours early). Waking up a bit early lets you take control of your day and establish some habits that will help you perform your best.
Some helpful habits to consider including in your morning routine are:
1. Exercise. If you’re a fitness enthusiast then this may be no problem for you. Get your running shoes and head out the door for a brisk 5 miler. But if you’re not up for an intense sweat don’t overlook the benefits of a walk, stretching routine, or some simple calisthenics. The additional alertness and mental clarity that come from exercise are noticeable.
2. Water. 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated! (6 dehydration facts that may surprise you). Dehydration causes fatigue, foggy memory, irritability and more. Clearly these symptoms would not allow you to be your best self at work. So start your day with a tall glass of water and make sure to get your recommended 3-4 liters of water per day (learn more here from Mayo Clinic)
3. Prayer, meditation, or journaling. Setting your intentions for the day, focusing on what is important, and being grateful are all great for getting your mind in the right place before the rush of the world begins. Gratitude has even been correlated with feelings of happiness and many other benefits (10 amazing gratitdue statistics)
4. Reading. For many people the thought of reading is like the thought of visiting the dentist for a root canal. Fortunately in the modern world there are endless possibilities for education. We have podcasts, audio books, YouTube, physical books and more.
Choose something inspirational, educational, or spiritual in the learning method of your choice and watch your life change for the better. The more you learn, the more you earn.
Mistake #3 - Staying in your sweatpants or... underwear...
I feel a bit hypocritical writing this as I am a repeat stay in your sweatpants offender, but I always feel better when I take a few extra minutes to put myself together before the day starts.
This doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a suit and tie (although you can if that’s your preference). Simply getting ready for the day in an outfit that makes you feel good is enough.
“If you look good, you feel good, if you feel good, you play good, if you play good, they pay good.” -Deion Sanders
Not investing in professional work equipment. This one hits particularly close to home because our business provides business grade headsets, webcams, and speakerphones.
People contact us everyday and share their cringeworthy setups which regularly include the use of duct tape and other adhesives.
If you’re a work from home professional, there is no excuse to not invest in adequate equipment to get your job done properly and well.
Here are some must have equipment for work at home professionals:
1. Comfortable office chair
You are going to be sitting in this chair for 40+ hours per week for 50 weeks a year. There is no good reason to skimp out on a good chair. A properly fitting and comfortable chair will reduce all sorts of physical problems and help you to focus for long periods of time.
2. Proper height desk
It’s important to select a desk that is a proper height for you when sitting in your office chair. You want to be able to comfortably sit with your feet touching flat on the floor and your arms should be at a 90 degree angle. Proper ergonomics is vital to reduce shoulder, neck, and back pain. An ergonomic evaluation will help.
3. A business grade headset
Specializing in headsets since 1994, we’re keenly aware that not all headsets are made equal. It’s easy to overlook the importance of a great headset for working from home and settle for a cheap off brand model that makes you sound like you’re speaking through a tin can underwater.
Not only do cheap headsets make you sound bad, they also do a poor job of blocking out distracting background noises like children, dogs, doorbells,
With the prevalence of video meetings and calls a business grade headset will make you sound great and block out the surrounding noises that are so common while working from home.
Here are a few of our favorite headsets for working from home with mic tests included.
4. A business grade webcam
Most computers these days have built in webcams. Although functional they are almost always low quality. Next time you’re on a video meeting take a look at your picture and the pictures of the people you are in a meeting with.
You will invariably see people pixelated to various degrees with poor lighting. An easy fix for this is to upgrade to an external business grade webcam. They are relatively inexpensive and can make a huge difference in the professional impression
Below are our favorites and a video showing the difference between a built in webcamand a business grade webcam (put video plus links to cams)
5. Secondary Monitor
Most work from home requires using many applications throughout the day. Common apps include a CRM, softphone, email, social media, excel files, word documents, to name a few. With only one screen this can create a lot of clutter and make it challenging to multi-task effectively. A secondary monitor allows you to keep apps on both screens so that you can work efficiently rather than needing to constantly minimize and maximize screens.
6. External Mouse and Keyboard
If you are using a laptop like many people then you know how much the trackpad slows you down and causes you to frequently misclick at inopportune times. An easy fix is to get an external mouse and keyboard set up. Once you add this to your set up you won’t know why you waited so long. (Popular keyboard and mouse affiliate)
Mistake #5 - Not separating work life from home life
Before the work from home exodus, there was a clear line between work life and home life.Arriving at the office in work attire meant time for work.
Arriving at home and changing out ofwork attire meant time for home. With work now being done at home it’s easy for the lines tobecome blurred and bleed into your personal life.
This can lead to poor health, fatigue, and lost time with friends and family. For a healthy work life balance it is critical to set boundaries and stick to them. When it’s time to work, work. When it’s time to be home, be home. Give each obligation the proper attention they deserve.
Here are a few ideas to help with separating work life from home life:
1. Use a home office or dedicated space for your work. Having a dedicated space for your work will allow you to have a physical boundary between the rest of the home and your work space. When you leave the work room, close the door. Don’t worry, the work won’t run away. There is always more to do and it will be there for you tomorrow.
2. Remove work email and messenger applications from your phone. There is almost nothing that is so important it can’t wait until the following day. Although people may be sending you Slack messages or emails in the evening, don’t worry about it. They will be waiting eagerly for you like a present on Christmas Eve.
3. Change your clothing Before working. From home you probably returned home from work, changed your clothing, and got on with your evening. The same actions can help prime you for mentally leaving behind the work day and transitioning into your evening routine.
Mistake #6 - Not getting enough fresh air and sunshine
Without the daily commute to the office it’s easy to find yourself cooped inside for days on end falling into the habit pattern of sleep, work, eat, TV, repeat. It’s obvious at a glance when taking a look at this routine that it isn’t good.
Making time to get outside each day is a great investment in your health and well-being. Getting outside during your workday will allow you to return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Whether you’re extremely busy or have a light day, here some ideas to consider:
1) Go for a walk on a break or at lunchtime
2) Pull open the blinds and open a window in a bright part of the house
3) Take your meeting poolside or on a patio
*Pro tip: Get a wireless headset with long range and a great noise cancelling mic
Mistake #7 - Dropping your exercise routine
Oftentimes people who pick up exercise as a habit either go to the gym on the way to the office or on the way home from the office. Not having an office to drive to can throw off this routine. Just because you’re not driving to work anymore don’t give up the exercise routine.
Here are a few ideas to keep your fitness up:
1. Continue going to the gym in the morning or evening like before.
2. Get home gym equipment
3. Daily walk/run/bike ride outside
5. Join a fitness group (the added benefit of socialization with diminished social interaction
from not being in the office where most adult relationships are formed)
With the dramatic and abrupt shift in how many people work today, it’s necessary to adopt new and helpful routines to adapt to new circumstances. Hopefully you were able to gain some ideas from the post that will help you while working from home.
Investing in yourself in professional and personal life will be beneficial to you, your family, your company, and community, immediately and exponentially, as time goes on. If you want more content you can browse our blog or view our video catalog on our Headset Advisor YouTube channel.