How to Work from Home

Kaitlyn A. Luck
Find a place to work to separate work and home, and set strict boundaries so that work ends when you turn off your laptop and phone.

Find a place to work to separate work and home, and set strict boundaries so that work ends when you turn off your laptop and phone.

Pojcheewin Yaprasert Photography/Moment via GettyImages

Working from home sounds great in theory but can be challenging if you are not used to maintaining an in-home work schedule. Work and home life can easily collide when you are not separating the two. What has your work from home experience looked like? Does this fit you just right? Have you found yourself searching the internet for tips and advice on working from home? Is there such a thing as work-life balance? Every young lawyer’s circumstances working from home look different, but we are all tasked to figure out these questions as we unexpectedly began to work from home.

TYL asked young lawyers across the country, working in a variety of fields, for their insights, perspectives, advice, and tips on working from home during these uncertain times. Based on their recommendations, here is a list of “do’s” to help you work from home.

Get Dressed

It makes us all more professional and ready to tackle our day.

Create a Routine

  • Treat the process as if you are working in the office.
  • Make an action plan for each day. Write a list of what you’d like to accomplish. Build in breaks and rewards for performing tasks.
  • Maintain a work schedule and stick to it.
  • Schedule a lunch break and away from your home office, so it feels like a break.
  • Keep regular work hours.
  • Maintain as much structure as you can.
  • Don’t work late (unless there’s an emergency or pressing deadline).
  • Set boundaries for yourself.

Make Time to Care for Yourself

  • Find balance.
  • Disconnect from technology at a specific time and give yourself a mental break from work in the evenings.
  • Exercise frequently and focus on your mental health.
  • Learn a new skill or find a hobby.
  • Use the time to get closer to family, friends, or your little ones.
  • Remember to take breaks, including your lunch break.

Make Technology Work for You

  • Practice using technology that you will use for depositions or hearings, such as Zoom before you use it.
  • Ensure you have a secure remote internet connection before sending confidential information via email.
  • Do not forget the mute button.
  • Use a variety of communication methods, like Zoom, Google classroom, Face-Time, WhatsApp, and texting, depending on what works for your clients.

Avoid Distractions

  • Avoid eating in your designated workplace to minimize mindless snacking.
  • Avoid watching TV or looking at your phone during the workday.

Stay Connected

  • Given the isolation, it is essential that you reach out to and interact with others.
  • Pick up the phone and call people rather than connecting electronically, be more personal, get to know your clients and their families.
  • Send your supervisor a summary of the tasks completed at the end of each day (beyond merely entering billable time) to ensure that your supervisor knows you are still around.
  • Schedule a regular, purely social video chat with a work friend.

Coordinate Your Schedule with Family or Roommates

  • Set boundaries with family members to avoid interruptions and distractions.
  • Inform your family or housemates of your schedule, so they know to respect your work time.
  • If possible, shift your schedule to best fit with your family’s routines. It’s essential to do what you can to create a schedule that takes into account everyone’s priorities.

Maintain a Separate Workspace at Home

  • Separate your workspace from where you relax. For your mental health, have a place where you work and a place where you can decompress from your work.
  • Find a place to work to separate work and home, and set strict boundaries so that work ends when you turn off your laptop and phone.
  • Put your laptop, keyboard, mouse, and monitor away at night, so the temptation to continue working is not there. There will always be more work. Set a hard stop each night, so work doesn’t consume every day.

How do you feel about this time working from your home? Has your daily routine changed or stayed the same since you’ve been working from home? We understand it may feel tough for many people who are now working from home. Now more than ever, it’s important to stay connected and remember that what you are doing makes a difference. If you have any tips to share with the ABA YLD community, we would love to hear from you. Tweet us @ABAYLD with the hashtags: #mywfh #abayldworkfromhome #abayld.

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Kaitlyn A. Luck

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Kaitlyn A. Luck is an associate with Holland & Hart LLP in Santa Fe, New Mexico.