Too much chatter at the office? Mid-day doctor's appointment? Whether you work remotely on a regular basis or as a benefit sometimes, working from home can be a great alternative to sitting in a cubicle. The key to working from home success is creating an environment that allows you to focus on the tasks at hand. He is possible to be both comfortable and productive!
Related: How to survive working from home
Here are some great ways to create a functional yet productive workspace at home.
1. Select a space based on your needs.
The home office has great use, but it's not for everyone all the time. Do you want to fuel your creativity or do you prefer a calm environment to do calculations? You may find yourself curled up on the couch one day and at the table the next, depending on the project. Determine how you usually divide your day. For example, are you more creative in the morning? You can spend this time writing or brainstorming ideas for your latest project. Afternoons could then be a more relaxed time, sitting on the couch, going through emails and completing the rest of your tasks for the workday.
Whether you work in a home office, kitchen, or living room, if there are “stuff” around that reminds you of your chores, your eyes will go to them and you will be distracted. Whenever you work from home, claim a clutter-free zone. This will help you stay focused on your workload and stay more aligned with a business experience.
3. Get ready for the day.
Many people think working from home means sitting around in their pajamas with the TV playing in the background. Not true! Just like in an office, you need to set yourself up for success when working from home. Prepare as if you were going to the office. Establish a morning ritual for getting dressed (no loungewear!), brewing your morning cup of coffee, and doing whatever else you need to do to get in the right mindset. You can also jot down your to-do list for the day. You increase your chances of being productive when you set an intention.
Related: The truth about working from home
4. Get into a good position.
Some people find it easy to work out in bed or on the couch. Either way, if you're not sitting at a table, make sure you have a small one handy. You might not have a slew of paperwork strewn about in front of you, but you'll benefit from the space to put a glass of water and your phone. Coffee tables and side tables are suitable for any time you need extra space. You can also use a C-table to support your laptop at eye level and reduce pressure on your neck. Along with finding a surface, you also need to make sure to keep your posture in check. Support yourself with some pillows to help maintain proper body alignment.
5. Turn on the lights.
Natural light through windows can be nice, but it can also cause glare on your computer screen. If Windows is working to your advantage and the view isn't distracting, great. Otherwise, pull the blinds and flip the light switch. Table lamps and floor lamps provide focused task lighting if your space lacks sufficient overhead lighting.
6. Create a home office vibe.
One of the benefits of working from home is being able to create a personalized workspace in a way that you might not be able to in the office. It's about creating a comfortable yet productive space perfectly suited to your individual work style. Add items that promote a calming or uplifting environment, such as fresh flowers, houseplants, task lighting, candles, or beautiful crystals.
Related: Here's what your office should look like based on your personality type
7. Set your schedule.
It doesn't matter if you work from home sporadically, a few days a week, or all the time, you'll need to plan your daily schedule. Establish your start time, lunch break periods, and what time you will be timing for the day. This will keep you up to date with your workload. It also sends the message to your colleagues that you have a relatively fixed schedule, just like you would in the office.
8. Get out.
While working from your couch can be great most of the time, sometimes you need to break up the day. Take a 10-minute walk around the block to cool off and encourage the flow of new ideas. Want a change of scenery? Head to your local cafe or library and work there for a few hours, as that fits your schedule. Or, if you know other people who are working from home, invite them to an informal work group. Not only will it help you get closer to the office experience, but it can also substitute for watercooler chats and socializing in the workplace.
9. Log off!
One of the most important parts of a healthy work-from-home routine is creating boundaries. Log off for the day, and not just from your laptop. Consider developing a phrase that you say to yourself at the end of the day, to signal to your mind that it is time to stop thinking about work. Have a last minute idea after office hours? Write it down, but come back to it tomorrow. Just because you have access to work anytime doesn't mean you have to be connected 24/7. Give yourself some downtime to create a work-life balance – we have some all need, no matter where we work.
Related: 4 rules for a healthy work-life balance