During the past year, we’ve probably all been spending at least a little time working from home. And while your new daily routine might have some perks you’re enjoying—like casual dress, more time with your family and less time commuting—it can bring with it a few struggles. It helps when you have a few working from home tips for success.
Have you found your days lacking a little structure? Are you finding it difficult to concentrate with too many distractions? Or maybe you’re wondering if your home office is missing a few key essentials that could boost your productivity. To help make sure you’re getting the most from your new office surroundings, we’ve put together some working from home tips for success.
Start your day off right
When it comes to getting off on the right foot in a work-from-home setting, your morning routine can be key. Here are a few tips to try to up your success once your alarm goes off and the coffee is on:
- Have a plan for the day. Whether you use your iPhone®, an Outlook calendar, or just a manual pad and paper, having an outline for how you’ll approach each day can be very helpful. Take note of upcoming meetings, projects you’d like to start on, and tasks you need to accomplish. Setting aside blocks of time for certain activities, like checking emails, can also keep you focused and prevent the day from getting away from you.
- Dress up—a little. It makes sense when we’re in our home environment to want to be comfortable. If you have the urge to stay in your pajamas all day, though, you might find getting properly dressed puts you in a better state of mind for working. Afterall, when you dress more professionally, you’re likely to feel more professional. Dusting off your power suits probably isn’t necessary—but aiming for a business casual look might put you in a headspace for achieving greater success. And you can still wear your slippers to your conference calls.
Designate your space
It’s important to make sure you have a spot to work that’s all yours. This can be a little tricky, especially if you don’t have a spare room, or you share space with others such as your spouse, children or a roommate. But you’ll want to do your best to carve out your own nook.
- A little privacy, please. Having an extra room to set up shop is ideal for working, particularly one with a door that closes. But it’s okay if you don’t. If you’re tight on space, a seat at the kitchen table can work just as well. Just try to pick a spot that’s the same each day, so others will recognize it as your home base. Somewhere well-lit and off the beaten path of the main house traffic is a good choice, too. If you can, seek out someplace with low background noise and limited distractions so you can concentrate.
- Don’t skimp on essentials. Once you’ve established your main hub, you should make sure you have a few key items in your new home office. If you don’t have room for a desk, a flat surface to hold your laptop or monitor is a good start. Investing in a quality chair with some adjustable features for back support might also be a good idea. Having high-speed internet is—well, kind of a no-brainer. You might also want to spring for some storage options, like bookcases or file cabinets, to hold your supplies.
- Splurge on some extras. If you’re logging a lot of added screen time, you can consider picking up a pair of blue-light blocking glasses. These will protect your eyes by filtering out harmful blue light from digital screens. A standing desk might be a good investment for you if you’re looking for benefits like improved energy levels, blood flow and reduced back pain. To personalize your space, think about adding some artwork. A small humidifier or a few desk plants may do the trick too, while giving your air quality a boost.
You deserve a break
Since you’re no longer changing physical locations throughout the day, it can be easy to get caught up in your work for hours on end. But taking a few breaks is good for you! If you live with housemates, aim for breaks every hour or so to catch up with them. And “break time” is a good time to stretch, regain your focus, and even reward yourself with healthy snacks or a cup of tea.
Other working from home tips for success
You may also want to:
- Avoid too much multitasking. This tip may come as a surprise since we all want to stay busy while we’re working from home. But did you know too much multitasking might actually make you less productive? When you’re trying to do too much at once, it’s difficult for you to focus. Over time, it can increase your stress levels, and even take a toll on your memory skills. It can be tempting to tackle a project, check your email, throw in a load of laundry, and be on hold with the cable company all at once. But it might be healthier to take on your workload just one thing at a time, and leave “home chores” for your breaks or after work.
- Shoot colleagues a note to stay in touch. Let’s face it, working from home can be a bit isolating. If you’re missing the camaraderie you used to feel from being in the office or the regular chit chat, consider reaching out to a work friend just to say “hi.” A friendly email or text will remind them you’re thinking of them. You can also hit them up with an instant message using Skype or Slack to reconnect and recreate some of the office fun you might be missing.
- Build time for exercise. Your work-from-home schedule might have you doing some extra sitting, so you’ll want to remember to get up and move around. It’s also important to allow yourself time for your workouts so you can recharge. Working out first thing in the morning before you sign in can help boost your energy level. If your schedule is flexible, you can go for a walk, run or bike ride at lunchtime. Or after you call your day quits, you can get in some steps or take an online class. Exercise breaks will help you feel better and stop your day from feeling like a grind.
- Don’t forget to relax. While you’re working from home, you might find work is on your mind much of the time. And this can increase your stress levels. It’s important to make sure you’re finding some time for relaxation. Consider taking a “field trip” to a local coffee house for a change of scenery. Or even eat your lunch outside and enjoy some fresh air. During your personal time, try kicking back by watching your favorite show, doing some gardening or just putting your feet up! And if you start to feel overwhelmed, be sure to schedule some time off so you can fully recharge.
With these tips for success and healthy habits, you can be more productive and reduce your stress levels while you work from home!
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.