A lot of us are transitioning to working from home and dealing with the difficulties presented by our new work environments. It can be easy to experience frustration as you learn to navigate the challenges of creating a workspace at home, but it can be done. Use these tips to stay productive and avoid burn out:
Get your tech in order. The greatest challenge for many of us is the use of modern communication technology like webcams and online meetings. Take the time to learn to use your technology and iron out any issues that it may present before your first day “at work”.
Designate a space that is ONLY for work. Create an area in your apartment that is specifically for work. Whether it’s a corner of your bedroom or the living room, devote an area that is intended just for work to help you stay organized and focused.
Set and maintain a routine. Schedule your day so that you work during the time of day when you are most productive and have the least distractions. Sticking to a schedule will not only help you to perform better, but it will also give those you live with a clear idea of when you should not be disturbed. Making sure you start and stop work at a clearly defined time every day also prevents burn out.
Prepare for your workday as if you are going to the office. Many people who work from home complain that they feel like they are always at work. One way to combat this feeling is to act like you’re working at the office even when you work at home. Get up and dress for work as you normally would, make your lunch as if you were going to work away from home, and plan what you’ll be doing in the office just as you would normally.
Schedule and take advantage of breaks. Rather than ignoring or allowing yourself to be distracted by the dog, the laundry, or the kids, plan breaks in your workday and take the full break time allotted. Plan a ten minute break at the end of each hour to play with the dog and fold laundry, and take a complete hour for lunch AWAY from your desk or computer.
Create the right atmosphere. Most of us don’t work in a quiet place without other people around. Working in your quiet apartment with no coworkers can actually make it hard to focus and stay productive. Put on the TV or some music to create some background noise while you work.
Set rules for others in your home. Communicate clearly to those you live with about your expectations and needs for work. It can be helpful for kids and roommates to set up a write board on your office door or on the refrigerator that states your work hours and what you expect during those hours.
Make your workspace “off-limits” when you aren’t working. Try not to eat meals at your desk or check emails just before bed. After your work is done for the day, cover or put a sheet over your desk or close the door to your office to help you separate “work” from “home” and allow you to rest.
Working from home can save you time and increase your productivity if you know how to successfully set and maintain boundaries. Allow yourself the time to figure out what works for you. You may be surprised by how much you can actually enjoy working where you live!