Well, if you’re reading this, it’s very likely that your office has closed and you are stuck working from home. Now, maybe you were ready for this. In fact, in the last couple of years major advancements in communication technology have allowed many employees and entrepreneurs to work from home. In fact, according to CNBC, 70-percent of people, globally, worked remotely at least once a week in 2018. And why shouldn’t they? They save gas and time by not commuting, plus they get to work more on their own terms.
But, if you’re not used to working from home, then coronavirus has potentially put you in a situation that you are not familiar or comfortable with. As a work-from-home veteran myself, here are 5 tips to make sure you are staying productive in your home office.
#1 Get Comfortable
Not so comfortable that you fall asleep, but we all know how miserable an uncomfortable office chair can be. By working at home, you have the opportunity to completely build your own environment.
If you’re looking for a high-quality office chair, a good, and underrated, place to look is gaming chairs, which were built for long hours of sitting. However, a high-quality chair from your local furniture store would likely also do the trick.
Or, maybe instead of sitting all day, you prefer to stand. Lucky for you, there is an abundance of standing desks available for your choosing, many being easily adjustable so you can alternate between sitting and standing.
In addition to ergonomics, you also want to think about how to decorate your home office. For example, having plants in your office can actually help reduce stress and improve productivity.
Now, with the onset of coronavirus, maybe you didn’t have time to setup a home office. Fear not, you can still find a quiet corner of the home, hopefully away from distractions, and take advantage of your home’s most comfortable chair. If you can, try to choose a room with a door that can be closed, and that gets a lot of natural lighting, which will help you stay healthy, concentrated, and may even help you sleep better at night. Especially, when we are forced to stay inside,
However you want to set up your home office, it’s important that you do what’s most comfortable for you.
#2 Limit Distractions… But Not Too Much
If you’re going to be working from home, you may have to deal with more distractions than you would in the office, especially since nobody, including your kids, is allowed to leave their homes right now. Because of this, it’s important you try to limit distractions, not letting your eyes wander to the television or Facebook, or fielding every little question that your child might have. After all, you may be the only one keeping yourself accountable.
If you have people in the home who could be distracting, make sure you choose an office space that has a door, possibly in a more remote part of the home, rather than working in a common space. It’s a good idea to also ask your friends and family members to respect your work hours.
On the other hand, you will need breaks from time to time, so don’t be afraid to keep distractions at hand, but out of sight. If you know that you struggle with concentration without someone looking over your shoulder, there are a number of apps you could try that help promote focus.
#3 Keep Your Space Free of Clutter
We all know how cluttered a desk can get. Depending on your job, you may have papers strewn about, multiple desktops, or an abundance of notes. But a cluttered environment can lead to a cluttered mind.
In fact, Lynne Gilberg, a professional organizer in Los Angeles, CA told WebMD, “Clutter is bad for your physical and mental health … A lot of people express that they are overwhelmed. They become nonfunctional and nonproductive.” It’s important to keep your area organized and tidy, helping you be more productive and creative in the long run.
Plus, remember that this is still your home, and you may not want your family or guests to consider your office an eye sore. If you’re ever overwhelmed by the mass of things occupying your home office, here are some tips that may help you clean up your work area.
#4 Separate Personal and Professional
When you are working from home, it’s easy for the lines between your personal and professional lives to be blurred, especially when your whole household might be quarantined. As difficult as it may be, in order to stay productive, it is important that you keep these two lives separate. Thinking too much about work at the dinner table could disconnect you from family and friends. And stressing about family issues while working could hurt your productivity.
You may want to establish strict working hours to help keep your two home lives separate. Let’s say from 8-5 you concentrate on work, and then after 5 you concentrate on your family, friends, or anything else that may need to get done around the home.
Looking to build a more in-depth schedule? The New York Times highlighted some tips for building a work-from-home schedule that will help you stay on task and stay productive.
#5 Secure Your Devices
Now that you are in charge of your own office, you may also be in charge of making sure that it is secure. Namely, you want to make sure you have proper cybersecurity measures in place. This will definitely help you keep peace of mind while you’re working.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that your devices and data are protected via antivirus. But not all antivirus protection is created equal. The top antivirus products are cloud-based, have a small digital footprint, are actively protecting against known and never-before-seen threats, and are able to reverse any damage that occurs if your device is compromised.
Another measure you should consider is backing up your data. While this can be done using a physical external hard drive, they can also be compromised when plugged in. And, since it might be difficult to obtain an external hard drive at the moment, the best option is using a cloud-based backup and recovery service. Even if you aren’t worried about cyberattacks, you never know when your computer might crash, meaning it is important to back up your data often.
Some Final Working from Home Tips
- Consider getting exercise equipment for short breaks. Things like resistance bands, small weights, or even a treadmill can help keep your blood flowing on a long work day.
- Especially during quarantine, it’s important to get some fresh air during the day. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in work that you forget, but taking brief walks during the day is a great way to refresh during a long day.
- Stock up on supplies. You’ll still need pens, paper, and a variety of other supplies in your home office. Make sure you are always stocked.
- Dress for work. Just because you have the option to work in your underwear, doesn’t mean you should.