While there are benefits of working from home like sleeping in later, working in your pajamas, and hanging out with your dog. However, it also comes with its challenges. Working from home can make it hard to stay concentrated, especially with all those added distractions. And, you may start to feel isolated when you don’t get your usual social outlets.
Here are a few tips to follow when working from home so you feel connected and focused.
Create an office space
First and foremost, dedicate an area to work. It’s ideal to have a separate office space with a door, but, even if you have to transform your kitchen table into a desk during the day, make sure you’re not just working on your bed or couch. (OK, at least not all day.) You’ll feel more focused when you give yourself a workspace.
Maintain a schedule
At home, it’s tempting to only work when you feel like it since no one’s watching. But maintaining your same work schedule will help you stay on task and productive. Setting hours will help you to feel like you’re at work and will help you avoid distractions.
It’s crucial to give yourself breaks throughout the day at home. Take a normal lunch, and every hour stand up and stretch. Go for a walk to get outside and get your blood flowing. Without taking breaks, you’ll overload your mind. Time away helps you feel refreshed when you return.
Listen to something
If it won’t impact your concentration, try listening to a podcast or your favorite music while you work. This helps break up the quiet that can be eerie when you’re on your own. Your work will be more enjoyable when you’re listening to something you enjoy.
Keep the same morning routine
Try getting up early and getting ready, as if you’re still going to an office. Take a shower, get dressed (even if you wear more casual attire), and brush your teeth. You’ll feel ready to face the day and less like being lazy on the couch.
Talk to people
Working from home can be very isolating, especially when you’re used to constant interactions with coworkers. Schedule video meetings and phone calls so you’re still talking to the team. And don’t make it all about business—share your experiences working from home. Chat with friends and coworkers online, like on Gchat or Slack, to feel like you’re still connected.
Get the right gear
You may not need an entire home office with a second monitor and water cooler, but there are still important items to have to make your telecommuting time productive. Get a headset with a microphone to make it easy to take meetings while having your hands free to write or type. Make sure you have a reliable internet connection that allows you to quickly upload and download files and make voice calls. If your laptop doesn’t have a webcam, that’s another investment you should consider.
If your family members or roommates also work from home or are around during the day, set boundaries with them right away. Let them know your working hours so they won’t feel like they can bother you with questions or errands during those hours. Make it clear that you’re still working and that you need quiet and privacy. Avoid doing chores or scheduling maintenance visits just because you’re at home.
These quick tips will help you stay productive when working from home. NextChapter is cloud-based so you have the option to work from home whenever necessary. And if you ever need assistance with legal casework, we have a team of virtual paralegals that can help lighten the load.