Tips for Working Remotely: Organizing Your Home Office
Working from home? You’re not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many offices and workplaces to shutter — some temporarily and others long-term. America’s gradual transition from a goods-based to a service-based workforce means that as long as we have Wi-Fi and a laptop, any space can be a work space.
Still, there are ways for us to ensure we’re making the most of our home offices. Here are some great ways to make the most of our time and space when working from home.
Set a Clear Schedule
In years past, work/life balance was one of the biggest concerns for commuters. Keeping work and home life as distinctly separate phases of the day was simply a given. But now, as more of us have “commutes” of less than 60 seconds, the lines can get a little blurry if we allow them to. So making sure that we set up a schedule and stick to it is paramount for productivity. Make sure you get up at the same time every day, maintain your routine, and manage your time well.
Be Firm With Others in Your Space
If we’re working from home in greater numbers due to COVID-19, it stands to reason that we’re not the only ones who are somewhat housebound. Kids, partners, family, and others can also be nearby more often than usual. So while family should always come first, it’s important to convey the message that working from home does mean working. It can be tough putting a foot down. But the more clearly you communicate that during work hours interruptions can and must be limited to genuine emergencies, the better off you’ll be.
Give Yourself a Break
While at the office, you’re expected to take a breather every now and again. But while working from home, it can be difficult to remember to stop and rest when you’re supposed to. Powering through lunch and coffee breaks may boost your productivity, but it can also lead to bigger problems. Headaches, eyestrain, carpal tunnel, and general burnout are common. So don’t forget to get up and stretch on a regular basis. Your body will thank you.
Maintain a Separate Office Space
Home-based work may have been an alien concept to many of us when we were first asked to do it. So it’s likely we needed to quickly make do with whatever space and equipment we had on-hand. But since it seems as though these “temporary” arrangements may wind up being more long-term than originally anticipated for many, it’s important to adapt. Take yourself out of common, high-traffic areas. Find someplace quiet, as private as possible, and most conducive to your productivity. That cramped end table in the corner of the living room probably isn’t doing you any favors. Which brings us to…
Request Company Assistance When Necessary
If you don’t have what you need to be productive while working from home, then you shouldn’t be shy about asking your company for a bit of help. If you were in the office, chances are you’d have access to a supply closet. You also wouldn’t be required to bring in your own desk or chair — or your own computer, for that matter. So if you find yourself struggling for the necessities, chances are your employers would be happy to help out. Ask your supervisor if there is an expense or requisition process for supplies and equipment so that you can best set yourself up for success.
Have Work, Will Travel
Here’s an angle you may not have considered — if you can work from anywhere, then you can also work from everywhere. Home is where you hang your hat, after all. So, all things being equal, the world is your office. It’s 2020 — and as long as you have a laptop and can get to a reliable source of Wi-Fi, then why not take your show on the road? Fly or drive to a new town over the weekend. Bunk with friends or family, or even take a working staycation at a hotel. Connect from a coffee shop during the day, and then explore when quitting time rolls around. As long as your employer is fine with it, then why not make the most of your freedom? Mondays might not seem so daunting after a little change of vista.