Working from home used to be reserved for remote employees and sick days. Distractions and dealing with waning motivation are just a few issues many workers faced in March when Stay at Home Orders in multiple states began.
In the upcoming weeks, some employees will return to the office, while others will continue working from home for an indefinite amount of time. At first, working from home can feel like a mini vacation. You get to stay in your sweatpants (the unofficial uniform of quarantine), you can have the TV on, and you can finally unwrap your tuna sandwich without receiving side-eyes from your coworkers. For others, working at home is a difficult adjustment.
Here are five do’s and don’ts that can improve working from home
DO: Set up a work space. This can be a desk, a different room, or even your kitchen table. This space should only be used for work. Working from your bed can be tempting, but it mixes relaxation with productivity. Invest in your work space to make it comfortable and convenient.
DON’T: Put on a binge worthy TV show. Having background noise while you work isn’t a bad thing, it can be music, a podcast, or TV. The issue with it starts when the noise doesn’t stay in the background. Putting on the new season of your favorite TV show while you work is NOT a good idea. You’ll find yourself staring at your TV for hours with your work unattended.
DO: Maintain a schedule. Even if your work doesn’t require you to clock in at a certain time, you should still try to maintain regularity in your schedule. This could be waking up at the same time, cooking breakfast, making a fresh pot of coffee, and starting the work day. It could be anything you need to do in the morning, but maintaining a regular schedule will help your mind and motivation be ready for work.
DON’T: Be too hard on yourself. It can seem like some people are built for working from home, while others struggle under the self-maintained structure. Set realistic goals for yourself each day and steadily work toward them. You are working during a pandemic and should be proud of yourself.
DO: Set small breaks for yourself. Working from home gives you much more freedom than working at the office. This can be freeing and difficult at the same time. It’s okay to get up from your computer, pace, take care of your pets/plants, and give your mind a short break while you let new ideas come to you. These breaks should be 5-10 minutes. Be wary that these breaks can easily lead you down a rabbit hole of distraction. Set a timer so that you can get back on track easily.