By Elena Allison
As we move into the fourth month of the U.S. Coronavirus shutdown, some of us have adapted to working from home and are even thriving. Many of us, however, are still struggling to maintain any type of work life balance since the two have become almost indiscernible. Whether you have perfected your home office and your remote routine, or you miss the daily commute and office grind, these tips for working from home can help improve your productivity and overall experience as we face uncertainty about reopenings.
1. Establish and Follow a Daily Routine (With Breaks!)
Many of us were disoriented when stay at home orders were first mandated because our routines are so ingrained in us! We are used to living by our schedules while at work, whereas our homes offer space for relaxation and entertainment! Therefore, it is understandable that many of us have found it difficult to resume our typical levels of productivity. One way to beat this is to shift your routine to accommodate your new work from home lifestyle. Think about what you want to achieve each day, set an agenda, and follow it as much as possible. Knowing what the day has in store can help to keep your brain focused on what is next so you avoid distractions and procrastination. Make sure you plan and take breaks to avoid burnout. We recommend getting up and walking around your home or neighborhood, eating healthy snacks, and having short conversations to help renew your energy and focus. In unprecedented times like these, it is more critical than ever to make time for self care during the workday.
2. Make Your Own Schedule
No one ever said working from home didn’t come with a few perks! In the office, you might feel chained to your desk and confined to certain work hours. However, working remotely allows you to work at your own pace on your own schedule. Instead of working during the day and taking care of your household and personal tasks at night, you have more control over your day!
3. Designate a Work Space
Clear off a space in your home and make it your designated work station. Make sure it is comfortable in terms of light and noise and then remove any distractions! It doesn’t have to be a desk or a home office, you can create a space to focus at any table or countertop. It is especially crucial to have a place where you can be both comfortable and productive, because it is easy to become preoccupied with other things when at home! If you live with other people, especially family, you may need to establish firm boundaries about when you are working. For example, make it clear to your children that a closed door means not to come in, but when you take breaks you will check on them and see what they are up to.
4. Dress for Success
If you’re like most us and have been living in your sweats the last few months, you know how tempting it is to lay down and have a quick snooze in the middle of the day. One way to avoid this is to dress for success! No need to put away your suit just yet! Some of us have found that a day working from the home office can be made more fulfilling when we look our best. Dressing professionally (or really, in anything but pajamas) gives a sense of having things to do and places to be! It may make us more alert, responsive, and motivated to get online and start the day.
5. Socialize and Communicate with Colleagues
Just because we are no longer in the office doesn’t mean the office culture has to go! If your office is in the habit of going for happy hour on Fridays, try a virtual one! Although this might seem awkward and different at first, it could actually be a great way to strengthen bonds and learn about one another (bring your pet to the virtual office day, anyone)? Additionally, be prepared to over communicate. Without face to face communication, it is difficult to know what other people are working on and how they are feeling! Reach out both to the team as a whole and individuals, and consider ending your messages and emails with notes of positivity, like a smiley face or exclamation points. This will eliminate miscommunications and keep spirits high.