When it comes to working from home, you may have been doing it for a while and may still feel incredibly sick of it. But even though it’s been a while since COVID first affected everybody’s work experience, you may still feel the need to reevaluate your process of working from home. Think about these ideas to get off to a great start.
Organize Your Space
One of the first things you can do to make sure that you stay sane in the process of working from home is setting up a clean and organized space. When you like the layout of your desk space and know where everything goes, you’ll feel happier to work there. Adding a plant and lighting will make your space homier and brighter.
When you’re figuring out how to work from home, think about the boundaries that you need to set up. You’ll want to set boundaries with your family members as well as with your coworkers to make sure that you aren’t pulled thin in the process of navigating working from home.
Make sure your family knows when you will be unavailable—try to set the same expectation that they would have had when you were going to the office. It’s as if you aren’t home. Then, make sure your coworkers understand when you are unavailable so that you don’t end up having to have meetings at really uncomfortable hours.
When you’re working at home, there are fewer outside motivators to help you divide up your time. When you’re working from home, it can be easy to let work bleed into other things—you may want to just finish a project and end up taking an hour and a half longer than you would have normally.
Though you may be tempted to think that working hard and pushing through is a good thing, you may end up getting burned out more quickly. Take time to take breaks and make sure that you don’t let your work take over your life.
When you’re cooped up inside all day without in-person interaction with coworkers, being inside can get to you. When you’re working at home, you have a little more flexibility when it comes to what your work environment looks like. Getting outside can have a lot of positive benefits and it can be as simple as planning to spend some time in your backyard or planning to go to a park to do some of your work.
Decks have many benefits and are great spaces to work in a relaxing environment. If you already have a deck, take advantage of it. Set up comfortable outdoor furniture and add an umbrella if you need shade.
Set Clear Goals
One way to ensure that you can be productive and get your work done more efficiently when working from home is by setting clear goals. Because it is often easier to get distracted or feel less motivated when you aren’t at the office, setting goals for yourself and for your time will help you get the things you need to get done quicker.
If you need to, you can even set simple goals like “answer my emails” in the next 25 minutes or “call Amy” at 3:15. Setting little goals like these and then accomplishing them helps build your motivation and your focus.
Manage Your Time
When you’re working at home, you have more flexibility; but with more flexibility, it also becomes easier to not distinguish between your personal and work time. When you begin each day, make a clear plan for the day.
When you do this type of planning, you may end up allocating work time differently than you might have when working at an office 9–5 pm. But this way, you can allow yourself to do the other errands you need to do for yourself and also make sure that you accomplish the work that needs to get done that day.
Create a Separate Workspace
In addition to setting a clear plan for your time each day, having a separate space set apart specifically for your work can also help you be more productive. When you work on your bed or at the kitchen table, it can be hard to be as productive as you normally are. For one, working on your bed means that you don’t have the same physical support as you would have sitting at a desk. Second, doing your work at a place that tends to be in a common area of the house like in your kitchen means that you are likely to be interrupted frequently.
Try and find even a corner in a room in your house where you can work and won’t be disturbed. Having this separate space will also allow you to separate your personal and work life more.
Emphasize Communication with Coworkers
Of all the things that you can do to make your work life smoother as you work from home, making sure you have solid communication with your coworkers is one of the most important. Good communication is always beneficial in the workplace, but when you’re working at home and have fewer opportunities to discuss your different projects, the time you do have in meetings with your fellow team members is even more critical.
Make sure that you focus on setting a clear agenda before each meeting so that you use the time productively. And then make sure that you end each meeting by clarifying each person’s responsibilities. When everyone has the chance to go around and state the different tasks they have been assigned, you’ll be able to ensure that there is no confusion about who is doing what and that everyone comfortably understands their role.
Working from home can be incredibly challenging. And it can feel hard to stay sane at some times. Thinking about some of these ideas can help you take steps toward achieving a healthy balance as you work from home.
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