Like so many other people, I suddenly find myself working from home! I know you guys do it all the time, have you got any advice for me?

Sincerely, Working from Home Newbie!

Dear Working from Home Newbie,

Great question! And yes, many people have found themselves suddenly working from their kitchen or guest room (and I think there’ve been a few who’ve even mastered it from bed!) I asked RCAC’s self-help team to chime in on their secrets to success and they gave some great advice!

  1. Make a to do list. Stuff always pops up to distract you: the dogs need out, FedEx comes to the door, the laundry needs to be moved to the dryer, etc. And, don’t feel guilty about any of that because when you’re in the actual office stuff pops up like office politics or that one person who drops by to tell you this and that and takes up 30 minutes of your time. You’re going to find that you are way more productive!
  2. Workout before work. Try YouTube videos or anything for at least 20 minutes, it’s better than nothing!
  3. Suit up and show up! Get cleaned up. It doesn’t have to be to the level you’d actually go into when working in the office, but come on, you’ll feel better!
  4. Set an alarm for noon. Your duties during this time are to walk the dogs and eat, in no particular order but both need to be done without exception.
  5. Know when to quit. Some days it will be 4:00 and some days it will be 6:00, know that it always works out and be aware of your boundaries.
  6. Have water at your desk.
  7. When you’re done, you’re done. Have a dedicated workspace so when you’re done, you’re done and you can leave and then it’s an off-limits room—just another room in the house, leave it.
  8. Chunk your day. Work on things one at a time, we aren’t always as good at multitasking as we think we are.
  9. When working on a project close your email and check it once every couple of hours. The distraction of emails coming in extends the time you actually need to finish your current task.
  10. Limit your social media to a few minutes during the day but watch the clock as this tends to be the “black hole” that is hard to come out of and can eat your day away.
  11. You may find yourself working from home and so does your house mate(s). Try to set some “water cooler” time and limit the interactions in between. Maybe plan to eat lunch together or have a snack but, if possible, work from different areas in the house.
  12. Conference calls require a quiet room. Set a room in the house as the “Phone Booth” and make a sign that says “Call in Progress” so you can have quiet time for calls.
  13. Keep in regular communication with your manager/co-workers. Weekly check in calls help with calendar management and deadlines and we all need someone to talk to sometimes!
  14. Start your day at the same time—just as if you were driving into work. This will keep you in the work mindset if you know you must be there at a certain time.
  15. Your commuting time just got shorter! You will find it is less stressful to not have to drive into the office every day. Use that time to do something that makes you feel better. Re-pot some of your plants or pull weeds in the yard, journal, go for a walk or clean out a closet!

And, remember, you’re not just working from home, you’re working from home during a pandemic. Be kind and patient with others and yourself.

Sincerely, Dear Sher


Dear Sher is a regular Self Help Builder News feature. If you have a question you would like answered or researched by Sher, please send it to and your question may be featured in a future publication.