Are you more productive at home, or the office?
It’s a question that’s been debated for years in workplaces across the country, but now, with many companies making the important decision to implement a work-from-home policy, it’s likely one you’re asking yourself.
Our homes are warm, comfortable — and full of distractions. Whether it’s entertaining the kids, doing that last load of laundry or just checking your phone, adjusting to life outside the office can be difficult, and maintaining productivity even more so.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the top tips you need to know to work from home successfully.
From maintaining a dedicated workspace to setting up boundaries within your household, planning ahead will make the transition smoother for everyone involved.
Follow these tips and and you might be surprised how much you accomplish!
1. Get Up and Move
This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s never been more important to fit regular movement into your day.
Without a daily commute, it’s all too easy to go from bed to couch and back again, denying your body the ongoing movement it needs to be alert and productive.
Try to fit some basic exercise into your morning, whether it’s a 15-minute yoga video or a set of jumping jacks. Giving yourself short movement breaks throughout the day isn’t a bad idea either. Your body will thank you later.
2. Take a Morning “Commute”
Speaking of commutes, while it might seem nice not to worry about making it into the office in the morning, you should still build in some time between work and home every day.
Instead of sliding out of bed and opening your computer, try going for a 15-minute walk, meditating, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee with a loved one.
In the evening, get outside, FaceTime a friend or share an at-home after-work drink.
Giving yourself dedicated space before and after work will be key to remaining focused and avoiding burnout.
3. Get Ready
No, you don’t have to dress like you normally would to go to the office. But that doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of yourself.
Showering every morning, going through your regular beauty routine, and choosing clothes you feel good in – whether it’s business-casual or yoga pants – will put you in the right headspace to start your workday.
4. Choose a Dedicated Workspace
While it’s tempting to work from bed or the couch, after a few days your back will be begging for a proper desk.
Choose an area away from other household members that allows you to work sitting upright at some kind of table. You may even want to fashion a stand-up desk!
Do what you can to make the space special, whether it’s removing unnecessary clutter, setting up a laptop stand or bringing over some house plants for a little greenery.
When you’re done work for the day, step away and come back the next day.
5. Communicate Household Expectations
This is easier said than done, especially for those with kids around, but letting other household members know what you expect from your workspace is key to getting things done.
If possible, ask that household members not disturb you when you’re in your dedicated work area, taking care to keep noise and distractions to a minimum.
When you’re not at your workstation, it should be a signal that you’re ready to engage again. And, when all else fails, noise-cancelling headphones will work wonders!
6. Plan Your Day
In a home full of distractions, it’s important to map out what you’re planning to accomplish. Set firm goals for yourself and devote chunks of time to different projects.
That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some classic work-from home tasks like putting in a load of laundry or simmering a pot of something on the stove. But if you don’t regulate these tasks to specific times, they might distract from your work goals.
7. Keep Yourself Accountable
Being surrounded by coworkers can be motivating – seeing how hard others are working is a great way to push yourself to do more.
But when you’re working by yourself, it can be harder to keep up your regular pace.
That’s why you should set clear deadlines for yourself and communicate them to others. If your colleagues know you’re planning to finish that memo by 4:00 pm, you’ll be a lot more likely to get it done on time.
8. Schedule Some Facetime
Make sure to have a video conference with your coworkers at least once a day, even if it isn’t strictly necessary.
Talking over video creates a sense of team unity and reminds you that everyone else is trying just as hard to make this new situation work for them.
9. Make the Most of Lunch
Say goodbye to a sad desk lunch – working from home means your lunch break can be a healthy meal you make fresh for yourself and share with family and housemates.
Enjoy a homemade salad, sandwich, omelette or whatever you happen to be craving that day. It’s a chance to recharge and start the afternoon right.
10. Pick an End Time – And Stick to It
Without an empty office to remind you that it might be time to log off, it can be hard to decide when to finish your work for the day.
While it might be tempting to send one last email, pick an end time for yourself and stick to it. It’ll give you a chance to enjoy your evening, and your friends and housemates will appreciate it.