Many of us are spending a lot more time at home than usual right now. For some, that includes the workdays too! When we would regularly be heading into work, we’re now finding ourselves at home without the built-in discipline of the office.
The expectations are the same, but the environment is not, and it’s not an easy thing to transition to if you don’t typically work from home.
The key to success when working from home; create an environment that allows you to focus on the tasks at hand. Whether you are working from home for the first time temporarily due to current events or transitioning into a permanent position at home, here are some tips on creating a functional and productive workspace.
Get Ready For The Day
A common misconception about working from home is that people hang out in their pajamas all day. While this might work for a few days, you may tend to see that if you just roll out of bed without getting ready for your day, it can be hard to distinguish when your morning ended, and your workday started. Prepare for your day the same way you would if you were going into the office! Create a morning ritual if getting dressed, making a cup of coffee, and whatever else you feel you may need to do to get into the right mindset for a productive day.
Create A Work Space That Works for You
Sure, some people can productively work in bed or on the sofa, but unless you’re used to it, 9 out of 10 times your body is going to associate being in bed or on the couch with relaxation. If you don’t have a desk at home to work at, do your best to create that feeling at your kitchen or dining room table. You’ll find that you benefit more from having a place to spread everything out so you can see it exactly how you need to.
Set Your Schedule
Whether you work from home temporarily or every day, it helps to plan out your daily schedule. Try to start your day between 8 and 9 AM and be consistent with it. From there, plan out when you’ll take breaks, have your lunch, and when you’ll stop working for the day. Doing so will help you keep track of your workload as well as keep you organized.
It’s generally a good idea to get up and walk around, especially in the afternoon. Take advantage of your opportunity to work from home by eating your lunch outside or taking a quick walk Giving yourself a moment to look away from the screen and time it, that way, you don’t get distracted. Whatever you do, stray away from taking a break by turning the TV on, or starting a chore. Doing something that may cause you to completely lose the motivation to stay on track with your workday.
If You Share A Space, Set Ground Rules
Be sure to discuss and set ground rules with the other people in your home or whoever shares the same workspace. Separate yourselves into different rooms, and put “DO NOT DISTURB” signs on the door when you can’t be distracted. If you have kids who come home from school while you’re still working, set clear rules about what they can and can not do during that time. Also, being home does not mean that you are capable of completing at-home tasks or chores all day. You may find that your productivity will suffer if you see working from home as a time to also complete household chores.
Work Hard, And Then Turn It Off
It can be hard to “leave it at the office” when your computer and work is right there in your own home. While there’s no 5 o’clock rush hour traffic, you also lose that transition from work to home. It’s easy to tell yourself you’re going to write just one more email, or finish one more task off your list.
Learn to shut it off completely. If you started at a regular time, be sure to end at a regular time. It’s perfectly fine if you need to keep working, but once you turn it off, try to make sure that’s it for the day. Write down things that you know you’ll need to complete the next day and then walk away from it.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Successful remote employees have a reputation for being quite disciplined with themselves. After all, it does take some serious focus to do any job from a place that you usually associate with not working. That said, everyone gets distracted sometimes. If you find yourself hard at work one moment and in black hole of internet browsing the next, don’t stress it too hard. Rather than getting upset, just take a deep breath and go back to working hard.