If you have never worked from home for an extended period, this new normal can be challenging. You may find that working at home feels less like work, and therefore home-life distractions may quickly encroach into your home-workspace. Optimizing your productivity and managing your day takes resetting your perspective of your new space and implementing specific steps to support your new work environment
As an individual that has been working and thriving from a home office for many years, here are a few tips that might help if your current situation doesn’t feel ideal:
- Identify a pre- and post- workday schedule. Use one that is like the schedule you followed when you traveled to your office.
- Make sure that you designate a specific space as your new office. A room, the dining table, or a corner in your kitchen. Set it up with a few essentials; a sturdy chair, a flat surface, decent lighting, and a nearby outlet. The goal is to create a mindset of going to work – even if it’s just crossing the room. This action tells your brain that you are now in work mode. As a side note, If you are working with PHI, review the video above.
- Maintain a daily work schedule. Set your alarm. Wake up, shave, put on makeup, or just tidy up, and dress in a comfortable, yet presentable outfit. No one wants to see your crumpled PJs or to see you looking ragged on a video conference. Even if you don’t participate in video conferences, dressing and being tidy is an essential part of the work at the home ritual. Quick note to keep in mind is that if your outfit would not be acceptable on casual Fridays, you probably should not wear it in your home office.
- Don’t turn on your TV! If you don’t normally watch Kelly and Ryan, or Good Morning America every day in the office, don’t do it now. Low-level music is fine, but it needs to be turned off during a meeting. Working at home doesn’t mean working distracted. If you have the mindset that your space is simply a satellite office (i.e., part of the main office), it makes sense to follow the same rules as those in your main office. If there are other noise distractions that you cannot control, wear noise cancelling headset or headphones.
- Finally, take a few breaks throughout the day, i.e., get up, stretch, and at the end of the day, try and close-down your space (close your office door, or simply shut down your laptop), and walk away for the evening. This action will help you decompress, interact with friends, family, and be fresh and ready when the alarm rings in the AM.
Catherine Valyi, Sr. VP of Marketing