With the COVID-19 pandemic closing all non-essential businesses and moving everyone indoors, people are spending more time at home than ever before. For many people, home has taken on a new role in life, with living room corners and dining room tables being adapted to accommodate the new remote workforce. Even if you have worked from home in the past, this new and sudden change due to the Coronavirus may feel like a whole new ballgame.
If you’re now in a position where you must work from home, the adjustment can take time and a little creative thinking. With adequate planning and strategy, the office to home transition can feel less overwhelming. The following tips will help you find ways to make working from more successful for both your professional career and your own mental well-being.
Pick The Right Space
Everyone has different work requirements. Some may have to take phone calls, in which a quiet area is a must, while others may just need a place to think, research or write with minimal interruptions. Think about the type of interruptions that can stand in your way of work and find the space that minimizes them as much as possible.
You may need to compromise when choosing a workspace. For example, if your dining area is great for working but too loud for phone calls, consider setting up your main area there and taking calls on the balcony.
Dedicate a Work Area
One challenging of working from home is the ability to keep your work and home lives separate. The lines can easily become blurred for many people, making productivity seem unrealistic. If you’re accustomed to going into an office every day, the separation between work and home is physical. It is important to attempt to recreate this as much as possible when designating your physical workspace in your home. Hanging curtains and other temporary barriers can help you define a dedicated workspace, thus keeping distractions out while also enabling you to step away from work at the end of the day. This is an excellent way to stop work from feeling like it has taken over your house.
Keep The Kids Busy
If you’re a parent, having kids in your presence may be the biggest hurdle you must learn to overcome as you start your new work routine. The trick is to keep them busy and out of your space. For older children, simply set boundaries and make your work hours clear so they know not to interrupt.
For younger children, it may be time to get creative with quiet activities they can do either with someone else in the house or within your workspace so that you can keep a watchful eye on them. To minimize distractions, try to take noise out of the equation.
Practice “quiet time” and take breaks, perhaps following the Pomodoro technique of one 10-minute break at the end of every hour, so that they get attention and you get a bit of a time to kick back, too.
Use the Right Tools
Now may be the ideal time to invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones if you need to block out unwanted chatter and get in the zone while working. A webcam is another device that could be helpful for the new norm of video conferencing and Zoom meetings. Don’t forget these are also great for keeping in touch with friends and loved ones.
You may also find that this is a great time to update the comfort of your home by refreshing your bedding and home décor. People finding themselves spending even more time in bed or in those makeshift office chairs, will benefit from a fluffy new pillow or comforter. Keeping your space comfortable and zen will not only make your home feel safe but will make your work life feel more at home.
Investing in your new workspace will prove worthwhile and you may even be able to get reimbursed by your employer or take it as a deduction come tax time. Whatever you do, with a bit of planning, you will find your home and work lives can successfully coexist.