Working at home is a great thing once you get used to it, but many people have difficulties adjusting. It’s no wonder, especially if circumstances — such as the present one — are forcing you to switch your office work to work from home.
Cheer up! The truth is that working from home offers high levels of freedom, as long as you know how to set the necessary boundaries.
For starters, don’t mistake work from home for a holiday. No matter the time you waste on your new-found freedom, the truth is that your daily tasks will still be there when you finish with the distractions.
Many people who have just started working from home often find themselves scrolling through their social media profiles and clicking on more links they would normally.
This is but one example. Distractions are everywhere: free streams, free ebooks, free games, incoming emails… you name it!
The first step to undertake, therefore, is to set boundaries. This is most efficiently done by drafting a schedule.
A proper schedule includes a timeline of your daily tasks, breaks and leisure time. Don’t skip on breaks! Remember that, albeit you’ll be sitting in your own home, that doesn’t equal being on a holiday. Work is still work, no matter the setting.
Choose a Dedicated Working Spot and Stick to It
Since your house has suddenly become your office, your home and your gym all at once, it is important to choose a dedicated working spot and, more importantly, stick to it.
People with large houses have more options, like attics, basements and garages, but what are people living in small apartments to do?
Stipulating that everyone has a desk at their home, it’s a good starting spot. An office desk is optimal, and it can be easily improvised if you don’t have one. A simple lap desk will do the trick in a pinch.
Even if you work on your laptop, don’t make the mistake of working from bed. Seriously, so many people do this that it’s no wonder that they soon lose the will to work or do pretty much anything else.
Once your job for the day is done, “migrate” to the other part of your house and don’t revisit it until the next working day.
Get Up, Take a Shower, Get Dressed
Similarly to the point we made above (working from bed), it is important to understand that you need to adjust your mindset to the new conditions — working from home.
The fact that there is no dress code doesn’t mean you should laze around in your pajamas all day long. Strictly psychologically speaking, the practice is highly detrimental.
Make a point to properly get up from bed in the morning (as opposed to, say, just grabbing your morning coffee and getting back to bed, accompanied by your laptop). Take a shower and dress. Some people find it easier to cope with working at home when dressed in actual clothes; for the majority, anything casual will do.
However, you may have to take this advice with a grain of salt. It all depends on your job position. If you are expected to host online business meetings, yoga clothes are obviously not a good idea. Use common sense!
Stay in Touch With Colleagues
The lack of social interaction seems to be the number-one pain point for new home workers. Normally, such people are used to daily routines, such as having lunch breaks with certain colleagues and similar.
Fortunately, there are a number of apps that help people keep in touch regularly — from instant messengers to online meeting tools.
Make it fun! For example, if your team has daily drafts, you can wear a funny hat or spectacles and make things more interesting.
Finally, look at things from the bright side. You are likely to discover new aspects of your colleagues now that the “business as usual” mindset is taking a break.
Don’t Forget the Breaks
When you’re just starting out, things may seem a bit hectic. That’s only natural, because you need the time to adjust to the new work environment. However, even if things seem rushed and clumsy in the beginning, don’t forget to take regular breaks.
Remember that you’re still in your office — it’s just that it has teleported to your home. You still need lunch breaks and some stretching.
Enjoy Homemade Meals
Office workers have all but forgotten what home-cooked lunch is. Because of that, when they start working from home, they would often order food.
Take a break from industrial food. Cook yourself a lunch — make a timeslot in your schedule! Not only will you enjoy cooking, but you’ll also remember the times when things were less hectic.
For people with families, joint lunches may be a welcome change for once and in the middle of working hours to boot. How cool is that?
What About Children?
Families may find it more difficult to keep pace with daily workloads when their children are staying at home. Nowadays, this situation has become so common that there are plenty of tips circulating around.
For people with little children, things may be more difficult. The key is in making a joint schedule with your partner. I.e., two hours of work for each, then one hour to be spent with children, in shifts.
For people with older children, things are considerably easier. For one thing, children still have to study and do their homework, after which they will be more than happy to play video games or binge-watch their favorite shows, now that everything has become free to access.
Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but remember that these guidelines are to help you get started. Once you’ve found the schedule that suits you best, feel free to add your personalized zest of breaks, funny clothes and creative workouts. Whatever works for you, as long as the job gets done, is just fine.