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If you find yourself working from home for the first time, here are some working from home tips from Brown Henderson Melbye Legal Assistant Patricia. You will likely speak with Patricia when you arrange your first family law appointment. Patricia has been with us since 1996, including the last five years from Nelson, BC. Here’s what she had to share with our team as we are now mostly working from home.

Good Morning, I just wanted to share a few work from home tips I’ve learned over these past (almost 5!) years to help those of you who are, or will be, working from home for the first time, succeed:

1. Create a Home Office

Create your home office in a quiet space that has strong wifi, is ergonomic for your body and preferably has a door.  Here are some home office tips from HGTV.

2. Keep Your Usual Morning Routine

Set your alarm and get up with time to do your usual morning before work routine, shower, dress (never pjs!) and get your coffee or tea going.

3. Focus on Work: Housework can Wait

Dishes, laundry and housework do not exist during work hours! Do not multi task and get distracted. Chores will all still be there after work as usual.  Read some more on staying focused at home.

4. Set the Kids Up for Success 

Unless they are really little, set your children up so you have as few interruptions as possible. our daughter and I have had a rule since she was 4, if the door is closed knock softly and WAIT. She knows I’m not to be bothered unless there is a blood level emergency and that I will open the door when my call or meeting is done and come see what she needs.  More tips from Fast Company.

5. Set Up Your Voicemail on the Right Phone 

People will end up calling you back on whatever phone you use to call them so switch your voicemail to your office one. Friends and family will understand.

6. Keep Your Time

Log in at the same time as you’d start at the office and keep track of your time. I keep Word open to keep track of my time. I find doing this is hugely helpful for me to show what I’ve been working on.

7. Notify Others When Taking a Break

Communicate with your superior/co-worker by email whenever you log off for lunch or at the end of the day.

8. Save Some Trees

Draft documents as usual but instead of printing, email them to your superior/co-worker to review and sign digitally, as required.

9. Keep a Running To-Do List

Keep a list as to what documents you are waiting on so you can nag, I mean remind, later. Connect with your superior/co-worker often to go over the “to-dos”.

10. Tag Instruction Emails as Unread Until Completed

Keep emails with instructions marked as unread so you can find them easily until you have done that task.

11. Adobe Organize and Combine Features are Golden

Adobe is my best friend. Use the Organize and Combine features a tonne.  Learn more from Adobe.

12. Keep It Together: Staple Your Printing Jobs

If you are printing to someone at the office and your photocopier has the staple feature, use it. It keeps your documents together until they can be picked up on the other end.

13. Just Shred It

If you take notes on paper during a call, be sure to shred them afterwards. I have a shredder beside my desk so that no client information is in my home office.

14. Hydrate, Move and Enjoy some Fresh Air

Lastly, drink lots of water and remember to move around. Go outdoors during your lunch break if you can. At home, you won’t have the same office interruptions to get up and move such as going to the copier, or delivering a document, which I found hardest at the beginning. Set an alarm or use your fitbit as a nag (this one I’ve yet to master although it is easier if my daughter is home for me to check in on). Your body will thank you.

Good luck on working from home.  You can do it!