Unless you work for a business that is considered “essential,” chances are your office looks a lot different these days. In fact, for many of you, the commute may consist of a short walk from your bedroom to your living room. While it may not be the ideal situation, and your new “co-workers,” i.e. spouses, children, and pets, may make it a little difficult to concentrate, you can still be productive if you establish a routine and a few guidelines.
Here are four tips for creating a successful home office experience.
1. Set the stage: Create a designated, organized office space rather than setting up shop at the kitchen table. Ideally, this space will have a door you can close during working hours or important calls. If that is not an option, at least make sure that your new “coworkers” understand that although you are home, you are not available for snack making, laundry folding, or other domestic chores when you are “at work.”
2. Dress for success: It’s tempting to work in your sweats and pajamas when you work from home, but after the novelty wears off, it can actually be counterproductive. While you don’t need to wear a suit or heels, the simple act of getting out of your pajamas, swiping on some lipstick, and brushing your hair can make you feel productive, professional, and ready to tackle your day.
3. Stick to a schedule: There’s a chance your hours may be a little more flexible from home, but that doesn’t mean you should sleep late, or stay up all night working. Try to keep your daily routine as normal as possible. If you woke at 6 a.m. to get a workout in before heading to the office, then keep it up! Consistency is important for staying on track both at work and in your personal life.
4. Rethink how you communicate: Working from home can feel isolating, even when you aren’t in isolation. Whenever possible, communicate in ways other than e-mail. Speak on the phone. Schedule a ZOOM or other digital platform meeting that allows you to interact. You can even schedule a Zoom lunch or happy hour to interact socially and boost morale!
Redefining the way we structure our workdays can be challenging, but it is doable. Try to stay focused, stay positive, and get creative. You may find that you discover new and more efficient ways of doing business that will carry over once things return to normal.