It seems like not so long ago that the possibility of working from home was something of a luxury that places of employment provided as a perk. Prospective employers attempting to hire top talent to fill positions might consider adding the possibility of remote work as one of the benefits in job listings. For many, this may be a “dream job” deal. Escaping commutes, flexible dress codes and spending more time with the family seems too good to be true. Nowadays, of course, fulfilling one’s employment from the comfort of home is becoming the norm.
If you are excited by the prospect of working from home for the long-term, then all you need to do is set up your home office and develop some healthy routines and you are ready to get to work. With the right set up and routine, the home office can become that dream situation. Let’s take a look at some ways that you can achieve a great work from home situation.
Set Up Your Space
The first step is to set up your home office and workstation and take it seriously. It’s most ideal to pick a room in your living space where you feel like you can close the door to outside noise and work undisturbed. Make sure everything you need — computer, phone, a solid desk, a comfortable chair, supplies — is all organized and ready for action. Reconstruct the office setup as faithfully as possible so that it contains everything you need to feel productive throughout the day. From there, it’s a matter of being aware of how you use your time and adjusting your behavior so that you feel like you can accomplish your tasks. And surprisingly, that’s a lot easier than you may think.
Rise and Shine
Working from home means you can wait to take a shower, get in an extra hour of sleep and maybe even stay in your comfortable clothes all day long. Sounds great, right? As long as you are staying productive on the job and can be in “work mode” during regular work hours, you can get into a good setup.
If you are looking for ways to get used to this new routine of being at home, think about getting back to basics, starting with how you wake up. If the first thing you like to do in the morning is going to the kitchen and fixing some coffee, make it a habit to keep that going during the workweek. Budget time to both get dressed and properly groomed before officially starting your workday. If you get ready early enough, you can allow yourself extra time to watch the news or read a chapter in a book. The key is to be “work ready” before you enjoy your extra time. Getting that initial jump is a physical prompt to your brain that will define your focus throughout the day.
Give Yourself Breaks
While it’s great to be focused while at work, the key to having a great work-life balance, especially when working from home is to give yourself time away from the computer. While it’s great to go above and beyond and maybe even try to get ahead of schedule, you still need those breaks, and you deserve them, too! There’s a reason we all get two fifteens and a lunch hour in a typical eight-hour work cycle. Set a timer on your watch or phone and get up for those fifteens. Go enjoy some fresh air outside. Read a non-work-related article that adds something to your life. Go grab that soft drink or snack. Taking that extra time can help you clear your head and avoid getting overwhelmed. It’ll be better for you and your employer.
And speaking of lunch, try not only to take it but also to treat it like a break. First and foremost, do not work through it! Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you don’t deserve that precious time to yourself. Think about how you would typically spend that time in an office setting. Does that mean eat quietly in the break room and check your texts and emails? If so, then leave the computer and make your kitchen that break room. Do you get errands done at lunchtime? You can still do that. Get that shopping out of the way or set aside time for home chores. If you usually like to get together or catch up with friends or colleagues over the phone, keep making those future plans in order to stay in touch. Social interaction is always key. And if your colleagues are on the same break time as you and are up for a chat, schedule calls for a virtual water cooler conversation. These simple hacks will help normalize your remote working situation.
Make Sure to Keep Habits Productive
Whatever tricks and tweaks you come up with when working from home, the fact remains: you are in your own house. And with that may come certain temptations to only sit at the desk all day. It’s important to make sure that you’re making time to stretch your legs and get some movement going. Use breaks to do some stretching or perhaps go out to do some exploring in your own neighborhood. Even a short burst of jumping jacks or sit-ups will get the blood flowing and release some endorphins during your day.
As far as food goes, while it may be tempting to go into the fridge and nibble on sweets or leftovers, a great alternative to this would be to make time in your morning routine to have a balanced breakfast. If you’re still feeling hungry throughout the day, set aside some healthy snacks like fruits and cheese to enjoy at scheduled parts of the day. This will help you maintain a healthy weight while also keeping you from reaching for foods that may not be nourishing to the body.
With these simple tips, you can soon start enjoying your time working from home.