When COVID-19 took the world by storm in March 2020, many companies sent their employees home to work remotely for the health and safety of everyone involved. Working from home sounds great! You get to sleep in, wear sweatpants, and enjoy more time with your family. However, working from home can also have its downsides. With more distractions and an increased distance between you and coworkers, productivity can take a hit if you aren't careful. So, how do you keep yourself motivated after months of working from home? After surveying 18 members of the home office staff, here are the top 6 work-from-home tips for making the most out of remote working.
1. Keep your routine the same
This was our top suggestion from almost every home office employee. Making sure you still wake up around the same time, take lunch at the same time and follow the normal schedule that you would if you were in the office. This will keep you focused and in the “office headspace.” Waking up super late or trying to eat breakfast during your morning meeting will throw off your whole day and ruin your normal productivity.
2. Appreciate the benefits of working from home
When you’re feeling frustrated about being stuck in your house all day, try to remember the upside of working from home. Without having to endure the daily commute, you have more time available in your day for other activities. Sleep in a little more, get ahead on chores, or spend that extra time with loved ones. Reminding yourself of these perks and the fact that we are all working from home in order to protect ourselves and one another will help put your things into perspective.
3. Reach out to your coworkers
Don’t forget to connect with your coworkers. Without being in the office, employees miss out on the water-cooler talk that often occurs in the break-room. Though it may seem trivial, these can be invaluable moments where you connect with your colleagues on a deeper level. While working remotely, reach out to a coworker about things that aren’t work-related. Ask them about how their day or week is going and see how they are handling quarantine. Set up a Zoom or FaceTime date to chat and “have coffee” over the phone - especially if they live alone. Have a dedicated Slack (or MS Teams) channel called #water-cooler to replace the underestimated break-room chatter. This is a strange time for everyone, but staying connected is the number one priority to help keep everyone’s mental and emotional health on a good level.
4. Take breaks
It’s okay to take a break if you need to. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you don’t need to walk away from your computer for a few minutes. Watch a quick YouTube video, take a short walk, or go get a cup of coffee. Make sure you are taking some mental breaks throughout the day to prevent burn-out. Working from home can sometimes cause the lines between work and personal life to become blurred, so make sure you aren’t continually working after hours or logging on extremely early. Take your full lunch break and remember to unplug at the end of the day.
5. Dress Comfortably
Many of the home office employees say dressing comfortably is a large advantage of working from home, as well as a top tip they would recommend to others. The ability to dress comfortably means you don’t have to worry about your “office” being too cold or too warm, and the more comfortable you are the more you can focus on work. Some of those surveyed emphasized the importance of changing out of your sleepwear, but not having to wear your "work attire" can save you a lot of time in the morning and help make your day more enjoyable.
6. Put your work supplies away at the end of the workday
Keep your work supplies separate from your bedroom and main living space, and don’t touch your work phone or laptop after-hours. Burnout can be a big issue for remote workers and is often the result of work tech being too readily accessible. Have a dedicated workplace in your home, and at the end of the day make sure to close down all your work tabs and power off your device. This will help you resist checking work emails or notifications after the workday has ended.