The transition between working from an office space to working from home can be challenging and requires the proper mindset. With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing employees to work from home, this is new territory for many.
As a work-from-home social media manager, I've experienced plenty of trial and error in finding a setup that works with my schedule. Here are my seven tips for making the work-from-home life work:
1. Separate work from home with a designated workspace.
Find a space in your home or apartment set apart from distractions, and create a workable space for getting work done. This could be a desk, home office, or another separate space in your home, which could be the dining room table. Doing so will allow you to separate personal and professional spaces in your home to be more productive and focused.
How I do this: I have a desk and desktop computer I work from on tasks that require special software, but to change it up, I take my laptop into the dining room or out on the front porch. Try to avoid the couch and TV as much as possible.
2. Get up early, get dressed, and look the part.
Pajamas and loungewear are for days off, and it should stay that way if you work from home. Wearing pajamas while working will immediately kill your productivity and professional mindset. Instead, set a time to get up each morning and get ready as if you were getting ready to head to the office.
How I do this: Each morning, I get ready as if I were getting ready to head into work. I wake up the same time, make my morning tea, go for a walk, get ready for the day, get dressed in a casual to professional casual outfit, and sit at my desk. Doing so helps me get into a mindset where I'm able to be productive.
3. Create and maintain a routine and schedule.
This is possibly one of the most important habits to pick up on. One of the biggest perks of working from home is the flexibility; however, without a routine or schedule, your goals and to-do's become at-risk for being obsolete. Creating structure within your daily schedule will help you stay on track and meet your goals.
How I do this: Each night, I create a to-do list and map out a schedule that designates certain times for work and personal life. Most importantly, inform family and friends of this schedule to create a barrier for distraction.
4. Take breaks.
Breaks can make or break a work day when working for long periods, in or out of the office. Take some time each day to get back on your personal phone, make lunch, brew some more coffee, go for a short walk, read a few chapters from a book, or take up a hobby. Doing so can bring you something to look forward to each day and leave you refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your to-do's.
How I do this: When I take breaks between working for different clients, I often find myself reading, cleaning, or going for a walk. However, no matter what I'm doing, I always listen to music. My breaks are all about clearing my head, and each of these activities helps.
5. Get and stay organized.
Throughout the day and thinking long-term, how do you see yourself staying on track and maintaining organization? What method or organization will help you in the long-run? Organization includes calendars, organizational tools, a method of storing files, and maintaining use of an effective communication platform to contact your coworkers. This may need experimentation, but find what works for you.
How I do this: Using a combination of Trello (an online workflow and organization tool), a notebook (that I use as a daily planner), Slack (a communication platform for messaging), Todoist (an online to-do list), and Google Drive, I am able to maintain organization in a way that works with how I work best.
6. Equip yourself with the right technology and online tools.
If your work requires you to have certain types of technology or online tools, be sure you're ready to work with those items. These can range from a laptop and noise-cancelling headphones to the Adobe Suite or R and RStudio. If you work with a team, collaborate on what messaging tools or software you want to use in advance. No matter the tools you may need, think ahead and plan as to what you will need.
7. Get in the right mindset
Despite all of these tips, mindset is the key to successfully working from home. Working from home does not come easily for everyone, so take time to try things out and work with different routines. Go into the day determined, and end the day on a positive note.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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