Working from home is now the norm, whether you are a freelancer, entrepreneur, or employee. For most people, it is an entirely new experience and a break from their ingrained habits, so the change can be a bit jarring. Fortunately, these tried and tested work-from-home tips can help you stay productive.
- Get Dressed for the Day
Over the years, through school and traditional work, you woke up, got dressed, and started your day. In turn, your brain has built behaviors triggered by you getting dressed: once you put on your work clothes, your brain switches to work mode.
Getting dressed means going through the routine of showering, dressing, and even putting on makeup if that’s something you typically do. You don’t have to wear anything fancy, just something other than your pajamas.
On the days you have important meetings or presentations, going the extra mile to put together your appearance can help you get into the right mindset. Dressing up isn’t just a ritual; it’s also a confidence builder. The sharp suit, pinned up hair, or jewelry all add to how you feel about yourself, and it can reflect in your work.
- Create a Productive Office Space
If you work from home, it’s essential to separate and distinguish your home life and work. To do that, you can create a separate work area from the rest of your home. If you can’t make a complete office, then a simple desk and chair in a designated area will suffice.
If you’re used to working in a company office, your brain will have a hard time “turning on” to work. By recreating this environment in your home, you’re more apt to treat your workspace like an office where you focus solely on work.
Ideally, a home office should have an ergonomic chair and desk. Since you will need to communicate with workers and access work files, you will also need a laptop or computer with reliable video and audio capabilities. Unlike in the office, if something goes wrong with your IT, you’re on your own. To prevent any delays, should a technical issue arise, make sure you’ve identified a server setup and repair nearby that you can call as soon as you notice a problem.
- Create a Routine and Regular Hours
It’s vital to maintain a work-life balance by creating a total divide between your job and your personal life. In a traditional work environment, it is easier to discern when your responsibilities end for the day. With remote work, it is different, as you physically work where you live. In turn, keeping a strict work-home schedule is vital for your physical and mental health.
The best way to do this is to keep the schedule you had in your traditional workplace. Maintain the same hours to start and finish work and relax at home at the same time too. Your body and brain will recognize the rhythm and function better.
Also, try to sync your hours with your workmates’. The sense of working with a team, along with constant communication, can increase productivity.
- Take Breaks
It’s easy to get held up and skip breaks when you’re working from home. You may think it makes you more productive, but it doesn’t. You are not a machine; you need to rest. Even in a traditional work environment, you have a lunch hour, water cooler breaks, coffee runs, and other moments where you can take a break. These moments are essential for your productivity and mental health.
- Set Boundaries
Once you have a designated workplace and a routine in place, you have to ensure that the people around you respect those limits. If you live with family or roommates, you’ll have to set boundaries so you can get work done and in peace. To minimize distractions, set ground rules about when other people can enter your workspace and under what circumstances. Also, create clear expectations for appropriate noise levels when anyone in the house is working.
- Be Social with Coworkers
People are social creatures and need to connect with one another. The office isn’t just the place where you work; it’s where you socialize. Even when working from home, you need to keep associating with workmates.
Keep the conversations, interests, and debates you would have with workmates going into this new environment. There are great collaboration tools that allow you to call and text as individuals or groups, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Without interrupting your workday or disrupting others, keep social contact with your coworkers. That way, you’ll still feel like a team, and you’ll meet your daily social needs.
A Tale of Two Spaces
Even though you work from home, you need to keep your work life and your “home” life separate. If you—and your housemates—respect these boundaries, you’ll adjust to the work-from-home lifestyle in no time.