Before COVID-19 changed everything, working from home was more of a nicety than a necessity. But today, many people are being asked to turn their living space into a work space. And while working from home conjures up images of sitting on your couch in PJs with a laptop and a hot latte, creating a productive work environment in your home takes a little effort. Here’s how:
1. Set some boundaries
Working from home can disrupt daily routines for you as well as those you are living with. To help keep you focused while limiting distractions, establish regular “office hours.” Then, stick to them as closely as possible – don’t do personal business during office hours and don’t conduct business during your personal or family time.
2. Carve out some space
If you don’t have a home office, try to establish a dedicated work area. A guest bedroom, basement or little-used formal dining room are ideal options. If space is tight, get creative – put a small desk in a closet, set up shop in a garage, or put up a folding table in an out-of-the-way corner.
3. Dress for success
Sure, it might be a little more comfortable wearing some old sweats and a pair of bunny slippers, but dressing for work can put you in a more business-like state of mind and lead to added productivity. It also sends a message to your housemates that you are “on the clock.”
4. Keep communication lines open
Just because you are isolating at home doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to your work associates. Collaborate on work projects using approved phone conferencing systems, email or direct messaging. Keeping in touch with your work friends will make it easier to maintain some sense of normalcy in unusual times.
5. Give yourself a break
While you are trying to maintain a consistent work schedule, it’s important keep a consistent break schedule as well. Make sure you take a daily lunch break. And, step away from the computer or phone from time-to-time – stand up, stretch or even step outside for a little fresh air.
6. Hunker down in comfort
Because you’ll be spending a lot of time there, you’ll want your home office to be comfortable. Make sure your cooling and heating system is up-to-date on filter replacement and maintenance. Consider a smart thermostat that allows you to control the temperature in your home from your smart phone or laptop.
It may take a little patience… a lot of communication between you and your housemates… and a little trial and error… but in the end, working from home can be just as productive, if not more, than working at an office.