The 7 Work From Home Mistakes We're All Making

We're almost a year into this working from home gig – and still doing it wrong.

“I’ve worked from home for most of my 20+ year career and never ever had so many calls and meetings,” writes journalist and podcast host Amy Westervelt.

“I’ve kept it to myself for a full year but I cannot anymore: y’all are doing this wrong.”

And so began a Twitter thread of the work from home mistakes many of us have been guilty of this past year – from overdoing it on Zoom calls (and not getting any work done), to having meetings for issues that could’ve been sorted out on email. We’ve all been there.

Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned from the pros.

illustration via Getty Images

1. You don’t need to have a meeting about everything.

In fact, lots of things – including ‘quick chats’ – can be done via email or Slack. Or *gasps* on a phone call.

2. You don’t need to switch your camera on for every meeting.

Audio works just as well. Give your eyes a rest. Plus, leaving your camera off can reduce the carbon footprint of your Zoom, Teams or Google Hangout session by as much as 96%, according to new research.

3. You don’t have to be free *all* the time.

There is such a thing as meeting-free days – and these might just be about to become your new best friend. If the meetings are getting too much, block out your calendar for a day or two each week so you can actually get stuff done.

If it’s feasible, let your colleagues know you’re not attending meetings on those days – and stand firm if they try to encroach on that sacred time.

4. You don’t have to accept every meeting.

If a meeting appears in your calendar and you don’t need to be in it – you don’t need to be in it. Hit that decline button and feel sweet relief.

5. You don’t have to be contactable 24/7.

Ok, so some jobs do need to have 24/7 contact, but most office jobs do not – so don’t be afraid to let your colleagues know when you’re clocking off. And, if there’s one person who thinks it’s ok to message after hours, stick your phone on flight mode.

6. You can set an agenda and time limit for meetings.

Otherwise, it’ll will overrun, people will inevitably switch off (or start doing something else on their laptop), and productivity will go through the floor. Short and succinct saves everyone’s brains!

7. You can take a break – or three!

We’re working from home in a health crisis: you need to take regular breaks for the sake of your own health and wellbeing. Your eyes – and hunched shoulders – will thank you for it. Steer clear of eating lunch by your laptop. Go for that walk. Avoid ending up like Susan.