Whether you’ve been working from home for years or for weeks, you know that working in the same place where you cook, sleep, and spend your leisure time presents very unique challenges. Some would say working from home is an introvert’s dream, but even self-proclaimed loners can struggle with the basic realities of working from home. Here are some tips for thriving in a home office environment.
Rise and Shine
Starting the day off right is key to a productive and enjoyable workday at home. Don’t sleep in until the very last minute! I repeat, do not sleep in! If you have kids, getting up before they do will help. Give yourself the time you deserve in the morning. Get your feet on the ground, grab a hot beverage if that’s your bag and wholesome fuel, and take some time for yourself before your day begins. Do some journaling, read a personal development book, pray, meditate, or simply gaze out the window and breathe.
As much as you probably don’t want to hear it, you aren’t likely to produce your best work wearing the same outfit you slept in last night. Did anyone else’s mother tell them to dress for success? You don’t need to be “seen” to feel successful and productive. Wearing your jams all day is bound to make you feel like working is a greater effort than normal. After you’ve had some time to yourself, wash up, brush your teeth, get dressed in something comfortable that makes you feel confident and ready to take on the day.
Maintain a Schedule
Keeping a schedule means keeping your boundaries and priorities straight. Knowing when to shut down the computer and close the inbox is important. Set a time that you’ll sit down for work each day, and set a time that your workday will end. Trust me, as someone who works at home with their spouse, we are both much happier when the other person isn’t checking emails in bed.
Establish a Home Office Space
Working from your bed or the sofa might sound cozy and nice until it’s Friday, your back is killing you and you haven’t finished your checklist because you were too distracted by the clutter around you. If possible, designate a room or a space in your home that is a work zone. Make sure you have a comfortable chair, a desk-like surface, and the room is as free of distractions as possible. This will help you to keep focused during the day and will help your family members or roommates distinguish when you are in work mode and when they can ask for your attention. Also, make sure to tidy up this space when you’re done for the day so that it’s clean and ready for the next day.
Take a Break
Even in a corporate setting, it’s important to break up the day. We can only focus so long, and taking a short break can do wonders for your productivity. Set several timers, 1-2 hours apart throughout the day to remind yourself to take a break. Stretch, take a walk around the block, grab a snack, refill your water, do a few dishes, etc. I also suggest taking your lunch break away from your desk, and if possible, do it outside.
Communication is Key
If you have kids, or a spouse, or roommates at home, communicate to them what they can expect from you during your workday at home. Let them know where your work space is, when you’ll be taking breaks and they can have your attention, and be sure to let them know when you’ll be on a call and need a quiet environment. On the other hand, communicate to coworkers as well. Let them know when you’ll be away from your work space taking breaks, and when you’ll start and finish your work day.
Exercising, eating nutritious foods, sleeping well, practicing mindfulness, staying hydrated, and maintaining a positive mentality will do nothing but good for you whether you’re working from home or in a corporate setting. Schedule the days you plan to exercise, keep healthy snacks on hand, keep your workspace separate from your sleeping space, and do things each day that bring you joy and keep you in a positive headspace.
For more tips on shifting to a home office environment, read here.