Top Tips for Working From Home

“These are uncertain times.” You’ve no doubt heard it more often than ever lately, and for good reason. So many of us are following the advice of the experts and staying close to home (including working remotely), which is a pretty profound change to the status quo. 

If you’re finding yourself working from home, but struggling with maintaining a balance between professional life and home time, we’re here to help. Read on for some expert tips on how to keep your mind and body moving forward during this unprecedented period. 

Maintain a Morning Routine

Sure, it can be tempting to just hit the snooze alarm a few (dozen?) times as long as nobody’s keeping an eye on the time clock. But many experts say that the key to staying productive is to maintain your daily work habits as closely as possible. Set an alarm. Make some coffee. Go for a run, if that’s your usual thing. The more closely you can keep some semblance of normalcy to your day, the better off you’ll be.   

Set Boundaries With Family

If you’re sheltering in place, chances are you’re not alone. It’s likely you’re also sharing your home with partners, kids, and/or roommates. And while working remotely is likely a challenge for many reasons, getting those around you to understand that you’re working while at home can be one of the bigger ones. So it’s incumbent upon housebound workers to be gentle but firm in establishing consistent hours where they’re not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency — and then to clarify what qualifies as such. It’s a tough conversation to have, but your mental state will thank you.  

Set Up a Dedicated Office Space

Even in tight-floorplan environments, it’s crucial to designate a specific work area while doing a job remotely. Even if it’s just a corner or a closet, having an “office” that’s distinctly separate from other areas of the home can really help boost productivity. And while it may be a challenge of discipline to not sit in front of the TV while answering emails, or cook dinner during a teleconference, the results are worth it.

Breaks, Breaks, Breaks

Even though you’re working from home, it’s important to remember that you’re still working. Even so, it can be tougher yet to remember to take the same regular rest breaks you would if you were still commuting to a place of business. So make the time to take a brisk walk around the block after lunch. Head to the fridge for a healthy snack rather than the water cooler. Or even just get up to stretch your legs once in a while. Above all, don’t feel guilty about it. Multiple studies have shown that breaks actually improve productivity by allowing us to clear our minds, and approach our work refreshed. 

Keep Lines of Communication Open

Clear and concise communication is important in any work environment, but it’s especially so for those occupying different spaces. So make sure you’re still answering emails promptly. Taking phone calls. Showing up for video calls, and group work. Everyone will understand if you’re temporarily unavailable here and there. But making an effort to stay responsive will go a long way toward alleviating everyone’s stress.

Deep-Six the Distractions

Checking the news is no problem. Scrolling a little of your social feed is fine. But allowing those things to consume your most productive work hours is an issue that can only catch up with you in negative ways. So turn off the TV, and turn on some background music instead. Keep your phone across the room so you’re only tempted to check it during regular break times. Save that latest binge episode or marathon gaming session for after quitting time. They’ll all still be there when you’ve logged your hours for the day.