As the need to work from home increases amidst the growing Coronavirus pandemic, everyone is trying to cope with the abrupt changes. For many working from home is a brand-new concept. The sudden change in work environment could leave you feeling a little confused, lost, or unsure of how to get back into the groove of working. Here are some tips to help you successfully work from home!
Stick to Your Routine
Working from home might seem like a nice change of pace from the everyday humdrum or feel like a mini vacation. However, there’s no reason for you to go rogue and ditch your routine. Now that you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic or trying to get the kids off to school, you might feel like there’s no reason to rush around. Nevertheless, you should continue to follow your routine. Wake up, shower, grab a cup of coffee, and be prepared to work at your normal start time!
The idea of rolling out of bed and working in pajamas might sound wonderful but you should make it a point to change into other clothes. Wearing clothes, rather than pajamas, can help you instantly feel more productive and ready to take on the day. Changing clothes will also save you time in case there’s an unscheduled video conference call with anyone from the office!
Have A Designated Work Area
Unfortunately, not everyone has a home office they can use while they’re working remotely. While working from home allows you to work where you’re most comfortable, try to avoid those really comfortable looking places. Very few people can sit in their beds or their favorite spot on the couch and be productive. Those places are associated with relaxing, and if you sit there, your chances of getting work done are decreased. Unless your goal for the day is to take a nap, those aren’t the best places to work.
Instead, try to set up a work space at your kitchen or dining room table. This gives you the necessary space needed to work, creates the feeling of sitting at a desk, and helps you maintain good posture. This will also help you to establish boundaries and stick to your daily routine, as you’ll have to be sure to stop working if you want to sit down and eat dinner!
Create a To Do List and Schedule
As the push for everyone to stay home increases, remember that everyone’s schedule has been scrambled. Even something small such as a to-do list or a basic schedule will help to restore order. It’s best to try to have a structured and organized to-do list each day you’re working from home. For starters, establish (or remind yourself) of office hours. If you work 9-5, be ready to start your day at 9 and end it at 5. It’s very important that you don’t go over your end time, or you’ll have trouble separating your work and home life.
Sometimes, it can be hard to stay focused and productive when you don’t have an external influence structuring your day. Try to create an attainable and realistic to-do list for yourself. Physically writing your list down and crossing things off as you finish will make you feel accomplished and ready to continue working!
Remember, there shouldn’t be a drastic difference between the amount of work you produce in the office and your home.
As you shift from working at home to being in the office, you’ll realize that there are an entirely different set of distractions. You could be sidetracked by your children and spouse, the TV, your phone, pets, or even your laundry list of house chores.
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent some of these distractions and that’s fine! Working from home is a learning process and everyone needs to try and adapt to the changes.
- Try explaining to family members that you need time, space, and some quiet to get your work done. Take small breaks throughout the day to check in with your family and make sure everyone is happy.
- If you’re afraid you’ll be distracted by your phone, keep it out of arm’s length from your workspace. You can also silence your phone volume, and if needed, turn off your phone or set it to “Do Not Disturb” mode.
- If you won’t be able to work knowing there’s a sink full of dishes or a big mess somewhere in the house, be sure to clean before you begin working.
- In theory, having peace and quiet is nice, but if it’s too quiet you’ll have trouble focusing. If you typically listen to the radio at work, try putting on the radio as background noise. It might not seem important, but subconsciously you’ll feel like you’re in the office.
Enjoy A Few Water Cooler Breaks
Even though you’re working from home, you’re still entitled to a few breaks. There’s no reason for you to dive in and work the entire shift without taking a break. During a normal day in the office, you undoubtedly stop to grab a cup of coffee or drop by someone’s office to chat for a few minutes. To increase productivity and efficiency, you need to take a few for short breaks every so often. You need to step away from your computer for a few minutes and unwind during the day to avoid burning out.
The same can be said about your lunch break. If you get a half hour for lunch every day, be sure to take it! Even if you eat while you’re working, walk away from the computer for a half hour. Whether you go for a short walk outside, play with the pets, throw a load of laundry in, or just scroll through your phone, get up and give your brain a break! Just be sure to keep yourself in check and not to take advantage or lose track of time while you’re taking breaks.
Transforming your home into an office can be tricky. It can be hard to separate work and life when they’re happening in the same space. These tips can help you refocus, readjust, and regain some sense of normalcy. As you begin to create boundaries, you’ll realize that working from home can be great—you might even feel like you’re getting more work done than before!