No one could have predicted the changing professional landscape that has defined COVID-19. Most company work structures have been upended, and life as we know it has come to a standstill. Since most companies have transitioned to remote work, the question of how to successfully work from home arises.
Changing up your work environment can be stressful, especially if remote work is new to you. It can be hard to find the same focus and drive as you would in an office setting. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you’re feeling productive from your home office!
Have a Morning Routine
Maintaining a morning routine can provide you with a healthy start to your day. It can be easy to roll out of bed 5 minutes before your morning meeting. But this can make you feel tired and unmotivated for the rest of the day. Keeping a morning routine will shift your mindset from laying around the house to crossing off your to-do list for the day. You want your morning routine to guide you into your workspace and motivate you to jump in headfirst.
Ask yourself which step in your routine signifies work is about to begin. Maybe it’s making a cup of coffee or going for a jog. Maybe it’s getting dressed for the day or tidying up your workspace. Regardless of your favorite morning task, creating a structured morning routine will prepare you to successfully work from home.
Establish a Workspace
Not everyone has the luxury of having a home office, but it’s important to establish an area of your home for work. Ideally, this space should be away from your bed, kitchen, and TV. Find a desk or a flat surface that you can use as your office space. Remove any distractions that could snag your attention. Make sure that you have all non-work-related tabs closed on your computer, and place your planner, notebook, or calendar within reach. It’s important to maintain office habits, so verify your workspace will support essential tasks. For example, make sure you have a headset installed if you use one at the office.
Set Boundaries for Others in Your Space
Many of us are sharing our space with family during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Whether your home doubles as a school or shared workspace, challenges can arise. In order to successfully work from home, you must set boundaries for others in your space. If you’re working with kids in the home, ensure they are occupied during your work day. Being at home doesn’t sign you up to receive packages, let service personnel into the house, or take care of the pets. Simply being at home doesn’t mean you have the free time to handle everything. Doing this could leave you feeling unproductive and taken advantage of. Have a conversation with everyone sharing your space, and split up tasks accordingly.
Schedule Your Day
Planning your day can be useful when trying to successfully work from home. Instead of wandering aimlessly through tabs to figure out your next move, have a schedule. You can determine your most important task by jotting them down the day before. That way you know what needs to be done as soon as your workday starts.
Your productivity may spike in the morning and fall after lunch. Schedule your most difficult tasks for the time when you feel the most productive. Learn more about scheduling around your energy levels here!
Some people find it helpful to work in 25-30 minute intervals and then take a short break. Others prefer to work straight through and block off sections or time for different tasks. Either way, make sure that you have a plan in place to get the most out of your day.
Being home can feel like a luxury in itself. This can make it hard to take breaks in their entirety. Taking breaks is proven to help with productivity and maintaining work-life balance.
If you find yourself wandering back to your workspace with time left on the clock, take a quick walk around the block, make a cup of tea, or catch up on your reading. Making time for breaks will prevent burnout and ensure you’re able to successfully work from home.
Stay Connected to Coworkers
Working from home can be lonely. You’re away from coworkers and out of touch with a collaborative environment. Keeping in touch with colleagues can boost your spirits and productivity. Try to link up with your coworkers through video chat or a phone call daily. Having that time to connect, collaborate, and share experience could be the highlight of your day. The old saying “two heads are better than one” is true when trying to successfully work from home. Staying in touch is a great way to keep a sense of connection within your company.
Like working in the office, you may find that you’re feeling a bit claustrophobic when working from home. Stepping out into the backyard is a great way to clear your head. When leaving the house, make sure you are following all social distancing guidelines, but remember that you don’t have to visit a crowded spot to benefit from the outdoors. Getting outside will provide you with fresh air and reset your productivity. Take some time to water your plants, listen to the birds, and enjoy nature.
Maintain Regular Work Hours
Working from home provides the flexibility needed to get work done under the strangest of circumstances. This flexibility can lead to the blurring of professional and personal time. To successfully work from home, you have to keep your work-life balance in check by sticking to regular work hours. The traditional 9-5 hours aren’t for everyone, but make sure you aren’t exceeding your typical weekly hours.
You may find yourself compelled to work past the end of the day and into the night. Doing this could contribute to burnout, and create an issue where you feel a lack of motivation in the future. Keeping set work hours will help your motivation!
Personalize your Experience
Above all else, do what works for you. Everyone is different when learning how to successfully work from home. What feels right for you may not work for everyone else. There is no right or wrong way to work from home as long as you are productive.
If you’re struggling to figure out what works for you, ask other remote workers through online channels like Twitter and Facebook. Regardless of how you choose to work from home, find a routine that makes you feel empowered and balanced.