Work from home used to be practised only by freelancers, but in the recent months, it has become the norm for office workers. If you have found yourself with the need to set up a home office space, it’s going to take some getting used to. So, here are a few things to consider when finding yourself working from home. Home isolation is going to be challenging, so get ready.

Table of Contents:

This article is for all of you who:

  • Are working home office for the first time;
  • Need some guidance on making working for home efficient.

1. Maintain regular work hours

In order to be able to work at home, you need a good schedule and you need to stick to it religiously. Wake up at the same time, start work and the same time and end work at the same time. This daily routine will train your body and mind to get into the groove and be productive despite the new environment.

2. Set ground rules with family and roommates

If you live with your family, or a roommate (that includes pets), they will be your number one distraction. So, if you want to get some work done, make sure to keep them at a distance during your work hours. Just because you’re home doesn’t mean your house mates should assume you’re at their disposal. Make sure they know that. And, keep the pet in another room, since you can’t talk to them.

3. Have breaks

An eight-hour long work day is exhausting, and a lot of offices have a standard policy of one 30 to 60 minute lunch break and two 15-minute breaks every day. There’s no reason not to employ this policy in your home office as well. Work is work, no matter where it’s done.

4. Have a dedicated office space

The best way to get into a routine is to dedicate a special work space and use only that space during work hours. This will train your brain to know that once you take a seat, it’s time for work and it will ultimately make you more productive.

Your dedicated work space should be comfortable, with enough natural light, and no distractions. And no, your bed is not a good choice. Your brain already knows that the bed is meant for sleeping. Not only will you find it hard to focus in bed, but you might even disturb your sleep schedule.

5. Keep your space clean and tidy

Since you’ll be spending eight hours of the day in your dedicated work space, you’ll need to keep it clean and well organised. The last thing you want is to waste time looking for a document you lost. And since the latest world situation requires it, you should also clean and disinfect your work space regularly, to keep a healthy environment.

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6. Ask for what you need

If this is your first time working from home, don’t be afraid to ask for support from your employer. If your work requires a special computer and peripheral equipment, send a request to your direct employer to take everything home. Same goes for software and VPN settings. Anything you might need to accomplish your daily tasks.

7. Separate working and non-working hours

A diligent work routine is important, but it’s just as important to make sure you don’t work outside business hours. Once your work day is over, mute all emails, text messages, and any other work-related notifications. Not only do you need the rest, but you also need to make sure your mind doesn’t dwell on work tasks before going to sleep or even during the night. Otherwise it will take away from the quality of your sleep.

8. Keep a good relationship with your family and roommates

Because of the social isolation, there will be a lot of behavioral problems, and that’s okay. Humans are social animals, and the current situation of the world is challenging for everyone. Those who live alone will face loneliness and disconnect, so they need to keep in touch with their loved ones digitally. And those who have family or roommates, might find it irritating seeing them all the time. So, try to stay on good terms with the members of your household. A tense or depressing home environment will have a reflection on your work productivity.

9. Stay connected with colleagues

Keep in touch with your colleagues, not just for work, but also to socialize. In today’s situation every lighthearted joke and interest in one another is welcome. You will bring a smile to a colleague’s face and they will do the same for you. Chats, audio calls, video calls, conference calls for work and for some small talk will make the social isolation bearable.

10. Take sick days

You might be thinking that there’s no point in taking sick days if you’re home anyway. Well, that’s not true. If you’re not feeling well, it will show in your work, and your health condition will worsen. So, take sick days if you need them.

11. Look for training opportunities

When you work from home, you will save time from not driving to the office and back. But if you’ve fallen into a good working routine, you’ll find that you’re able to finish your tasks a lot faster, leaving you with free time during the day as well. You can use this free time to find online courses to develop a work skill you’ve always wanted, or learn to use software that would make your job easier.

12. Stay positive

Positivity is your biggest ally during social isolation. If you drown in negative thoughts, your work and your personal life will suffer. So, try to stay positive by treating yourself with whatever you can. The best reward and mood booster is food. Treat yourself with all the delicious treats you like. Buy things you’ve always wanted, make presents for yourself. Or do things with your family that make you happy.

13. Take advantage of your free time

You can also use your free time in your home office to do things for yourself. You can start a self-improvement routine, or work on your own personal project.

14. Don’t feel guilty for getting distracted

Unfortunately, even if you establish good work productivity, you will eventually get distracted. Even if you have eliminated every distraction, your mind will drift away on its own. At some point, you might even start falling behind on your tasks.

Don’t panic! Working from home is not easy for everyone. And there’s no reason not to catch up on your tasks at a later time. There will be ups and downs and it’s important not to beat yourself up. Also, your colleagues are probably experiencing these moments as well.

15. Start work early

A good way to get motivated is to start work fifteen minutes or an hour earlier. This will give you a head start on your tasks and a boost of motivation.

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Looking at the same room all day takes a toll on everyone’s mental state. So, it’s important to go out at least once a day. Currently, the social isolation makes it possible to go out only when buying groceries and medicine. So, you can make it a habit to go to the supermarket every day and buy products that would only cover your meals for a day or two. This way you will have more reasons to go outside and breathe some fresh air.

17. Eliminate social media

Unless you work on social media, it’s recommended to switch off every channel during your work hours. Remove all social media bookmarks from your browser and, if possible, keep your phone in another room. It’s not enough to just put it on silent, as the vibration from the notifications does the same job at distracting you. And even if you switch off the vibration, one look at that little slow blinking light is enough to pull you out of your work groove.

18. Find your most productive habits

A few weeks into your home office job, you will start noticing details about your work process. You will see that certain habits make you productive and other habits completely ruin your focus. To optimise your effectiveness, make use of everything. Maybe you’re most alert between 11 and 12 during the day. At that time, you should do the tasks that require your best focus and leave the monotone work for the rest of your work day

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19. Make use of lists

Many people underestimate lists and this is a big mistake. Lists make your job easier and they can help you remember to do certain tasks. They give you a good idea of all the work load and help you stay organised. Also, there is a great deal of satisfaction when you cross out a finished task.

20. Try to stay out of your pyjamas

Yes, the pyjama is the hallmark of the home office crowd and people rarely put anything else on when working from home. But the truth is that staying in your pyjamas all day is detrimental to productivity. On a psychological level, putting on a new set of clothes creates a feeling of dynamics and this in itself motivates us for movement and action. Staying in the same clothes the whole day creates a feeling of stagnation and makes it more difficult to start doing anything.

21. Don’t forget to exercise

And here is the biggest drawback of working from home – it amplifies your sedentary lifestyle. Now, you don’t even need to leave the house and walk to the office. So, you have to motivate yourself to get up and exercise. Daily exercises are known to boost not only your health, but also your work productivity.

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Takeaways

  • Dedicate a special spot to be your office space and always work there;
  • Keep your dedicated office space clean, tidy and disinfected;
  • Stay away from your family or roommates when you’re working;
  • Stay in touch with your colleagues;
  • Make sure to exercise.

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Are you currently working from home? Tell us how you’re handling it in the comment section below!

Image source: Creative Lab/shutterstock.com

  • Last update: May 11, 2020

Posted in Home Improvement, Life Under Lockdown

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