In the ordinary course of a business day, everyone follows established routines. Working from home is no different, your routine still includes meetings with colleagues, sharing goals and working together on paths to accomplish those goals. The difference is your environment, your commute has become non-existent, and your home life is now face to face with your work life. Sharing an office space with your home and work life can be difficult, it is important to set yourself up for success in your work from home environment. Here is a list of 6 ways to help you create a positive work from home environment.
1. Create a dedicated workspace
If you already have an office in your home, great! If you don’t have an office, then create a dedicated workspace. Not your living room. Just because you can sit in your favorite chair with your laptop on your lap does not mean you should. It is important to delineate your time and mental space between work time and home time. Your office should be separate from your home life, as much as possible. That way, when you enter it, you know you are at work, not at home.
In the article Establishing Your Home Workspace from Entrepreneur.com, they suggest:
- A room where you can close the door to keep business in and family, friends, and pets out.
- A space with minimal distractions, far away from the kitchen, laundry, and other household noise.
- An area large enough to operate your business. Working out of two or three separate areas of the house is less productive than a single space.
Once you’ve established an office, make that your dedicated work area, the same as if it is a location you physically go to every day.
2. Inspire productivity
- Quality Chair: You want to make your workspace comfortable. That starts with a quality chair. Remember, you will spend hours at a time in that chair. If you are not comfortable, you will spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on your discomfort. Especially if you are at home. A good chair will help you increase your productivity and attention.
- Plants: Think about adding a plant to the room. Studies have found that plants and flowers improve focus.
- Dress: It should go without saying, but dress as if you are heading into an office. If you are in pajamas, you won’t be in the same mindset as if your attire is business casual.
Regardless of the physical location of your office, it is imperative you do everything in your power to inspire yourself to work to your full capabilities every day.
3. Set work hours
Keep regular office hours and create a schedule comparable to the one you would keep if you were working in an external location. The business you do every day may not be the same as what you did in your regular office, but the hours and intentions are business as usual.
When you’re working from home, it is tempting to break for all manner of reasons—taking extra time than necessary, making another cup of tea, the pursual of just one more headline, being caught in the snare of social media webs. When working from home, it is vital to remember you are still working and work within established working hours.
4. Have daily to-do lists
Set definite goals for your days and weeks. That means updating your to-do lists at the beginning of every day/every week. If you plan to wing it through day without an established routine, you are much more likely to fall sway to distractions. Plus, if you don’t prioritize your time and activities, you might be inclined to try and tackle everything. That generally leads to many things not getting done, which is followed by anxiety about all the unfinished stuff piling up day after day.
5. Incorporate breaks into your days
As productive as you intend to be, it is important to remember to incorporate regular breaks into your working hours. You have probably heard that you have 90-minute sleep cycles at night. Well, those 90-minute cycles don’t suddenly stop once the sun rises.
In general, you can focus well for about 90 minutes at a time. After that, your brain is tired, and your attention starts to wan. So, give yourself scheduled breaks. They do not have to be long breaks, but you should move. Get up, stretch your legs, possibly go for a walk. You will come back to your home office refreshed and ready to focus again.
6. Facilitate virtual work environments
When working from home, you may not be able to meet with people the way you usually would interact with them in an office environment, but that doesn’t mean you cannot still interact. There are multiple different platforms that you can choose from to set up virtual interactions with your colleagues and teams. Zoom is a fantastic video conferencing platform that allows your team to share a virtual space live and in person. The free version allows for 40-minute sessions. If you need more than that, you can use the paid version, which has all kinds of extra features like break out rooms and unlimited meetings and attendees.
Summary for success
Working from home does not mean that you cannot be as productive or even more productive with your time. By creating a personalized functioning routine, a dedicated workspace, inspiring productivity with your surroundings, setting office hours, having to-do lists, incorporating breaks and facilitating virtual interaction, you will be on your way to successfully creating a positive and productive work from home environment.
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