Many of us are transitioning to working from home and dealing with the challenges that our new work environments create. It can be easy to lose focus or experience frustration as you navigate the difficulties of creating a workspace at home, but it can be done. Learn from those who have been successfully working at home for years and use these tips to stay productive and avoid burnout:
Designate a space for work and work ONLY. Create a space in your apartment that is specifically for work. Even if it’s a corner of your bedroom or the living room, devote an area that is only for work to help you stay organized and focused.
Get your tech in order. The biggest challenge for many of us is the use of modern communication technology like webcams and online meetings. Before you start your first day of work, take the time to learn to use your technology and iron out any issues that it may present.
Set and maintain a routine. Decide when you are most productive and schedule your day so that you work during that time without distractions. Sticking to a schedule will not only help you to concentrate 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 burnout.
Schedule and take advantage of breaks. Rather than 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 kids and fold laundry, and take a complete hour for lunch AWAY from your desk or computer.
Prepare for your workday as if you won’t be home. Many people who work from home suffer from feeling like they are always at work. One way to combat this tendency is to act like you’re working at the office. Get up and dress for work as you normally would, make your lunch as if you can’t just walk into the kitchen and grab something from the fridge, and plan what you’ll be doing in the office just as you would normally.
Set rules for others in your home. Communicate clearly to those you live with about your expectations and needs. It can be helpful to set up a write board on your office door or even on the refrigerator that states your work hours and what the rules are during those hours.
Create the right background. Most of us don’t work in a quiet place without other people, so working in your quiet apartment with no coworkers can be a shock and make it hard to focus and stay productive. Put on the TV or some music to create some background noise while you work.
Make your workspace “off-limits” when you aren’t working. Try not to eat at your desk or visit the office just before bed. When work time is over for the day, 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 your mind.
Working from home can save you time and make you more productive as long as you know how to successfully set and maintain boundaries. Give yourself time to figure out what works for you, and do what you can to recreate your work environment and routine. You may be surprised by how much you can actually enjoy working where you live!