Working from home has its perks – no commutes, you can work in sweatpants, no distractions (maybe?), and sometimes you’ll be more efficient.
The truth is, working from home can be more difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s easy to get distracted by family members and chores and you’ll miss connecting with coworkers, brainstorming with them or even feeding off their creative energies.
To make the most of working from home, you need to approach your day intentionally.
Below are 5 tips for how to be productive while working from home:
1. Don’t isolate yourself
Calls for social distancing to curtail the spread of COVID-19 do not mean social disengaging. One of the most difficult things about working from home is the lack of socialization. You may not realize it when in an office environment, but having coworkers around to chat or connect with has a real effect on productivity.
So even when working from home, take the time to FaceTime or call your work friends, talk a walk outside and chat with your neighbors, play with a pet or call a friend.
2. Select a designated workspace
Ideally not the bed. If you start working in bed, you will not feel truly awake.
So instead, follow your routine for when you’re going into the office i.e. create a sense of “going to work.” Change out of your PJs, make your bed, wash your face, take a shower, make coffee and once you start working, sit up.
Avoid spaces that are associated with leisure time. So whether working from a home office, the dining table or sofa, make sure the chosen room or surface is carefully picked so you can get in the right frame of mind.
3. Don’t skip lunch
Also, take breaks. Research has shown that the most productive workers engage in job-related tasks for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.
Taking a break will help you freshen up and come back energized.
Make sure to also have a good lunch. Your kitchen is close by so take an hour to cook and enjoy a good meal. Use this hour to disconnect i.e. don’t eat in front of the screen.
Lunch also puts you in a proper mood for the second half of the day.
4. Set boundaries
Working from home with family or roommates present can be challenging. It’s important to set boundaries so that you’re not distracted.
Close the door if you have to. Let the people around you know when you’re working and not to disturb you.
You don’t want your kid walking in when you’re in the middle of a video conference like this kid did during her dad’s live TV interview.
5. Log off
This is the most important. Turn off your devices at the end of the workday.
When you’re in the office, seeing your coworkers packing up and leaving reminds you to do the same. When you’re at home, you can get so caught up in the work that you lose track of time.
So set an alarm for when to stop and don’t go back to work when you’re finished. Just because you have 24/7 access to work doesn’t mean you should be logged in 24/7. This is important in order to create a work-life balance.