For many who work in the corporate world, the idea of being able to work remotely from home seems like a dream. But like anything in life, with the coronavirus forcing us all to take social distancing measures, working at home can begin to feel like anything but a dream. Although there is an abundance of advantages that come from being able to roll out of bed and be at work instantly, there can also be some substantial disadvantages if not properly planned for.
Being able to go from work to home life instantly is both a blessing and a curse. If you don’t set boundaries, the lines can begin to blur. Studies show that people who work remotely, on average, work as much as 40% more per week than those who commute to an office.
Boundaries are important to reduce the risk of burning out, developing the imposter syndrome, and losing motivation. But sometimes that is easier said than done. If you are someone who is finding themselves having a hard time going from work to home when working from home, these are some quick tips to keeping the two separate and you moving forward.
1. Set Normal Work Hours
Not everyone operates well in the nine to five world, which is why remote working is ideal for many. But once you find out what hours you are most productive, set them and don’t veer from them unless necessary. So you might not be a nine am starter; be a seven am'er.
Just make sure that your hours are set at 8 hours a day just like they are when you are within the confines of a workplace. Or, what you will find is that your workday might start to increase, you might find yourself not staying on task and extending your workday, or you might find that you are working overtime and burning out.
2. Put Mobile Devices Away When “at Home"
Once you have left the office, you likely return home with a sense of accomplishment. When working from a home office, it can be really easy to let the day go on forever. All of those little things you failed to do when at work can wait until the next day, but when you work from home, there is always time to go back and continue.
Commit to putting your day to rest when the day is over. That means putting your mobile devices away and leaving them for the morning. Working from home does not mean that you are on-call around the clock, so don’t get sucked into going back for more. It will still be there the following day when you are back at it during “office hours”.
3. Get Dressed For The Day
What sounds more amazing than spending the day in pajamas? But the thing about not getting ready for work is that, eventually, it becomes monotonous and loses its luster. It is important mentally to separate the day into work and home life, which includes the outfit you wear.
Although it might not seem like a big deal, wearing comfy clothes and pajamas day after day can start to put you into a slump. Even if you aren’t going anywhere, make a special point to change your outfit daily. It is alright to go casual, but not to the point of wearing sweat pants all day, every day.
4. Have One Out of Home Activity Planned Everyday
After a while, living behind the same four walls can begin to feel more like a prison. With technology as it is, you can literally sit home and wait for everything in life to come to you. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Every day, make an activity plan to get out of the house.
Regardless if it is running to the grocery store or hitting the trails for a nature hike, removing yourself from the same monotony will help inspire and motivate you. If you include some exercise in your plans, it will also help to enhance your mood, save you from anxiety and depression, and help you to be more productive and creative.
5. Have a Separate Space for Work
Although the living room couch might be super comfortable to sit down and get your work done, there are too many distractions that might get you off course. Also, it can work to blur the lines of when you are working and when you are finished. Find a room to design your workspace that has ample light and good lighting. A good ergonomic desk with a keyboard is also essential to keep your posture strong. And when you sit up tall, your body receives more oxygen, which will boost your brainpower and make you more focused throughout the day.
6. Get Up at the Same Time Everyday
It might be super alluring to hit the snooze button over and over. After all, when you work remotely, you don’t have anyone standing over you or monitoring when you make it to the office. But it is important to maintain a schedule, which includes a time to get up in the morning. Routine is going to be king to keep on schedule and motivated. It might seem like sleeping late is a great idea, but what you might quickly see is the lines between work and home life blending, and procrastination at its highest. Even if you take a little extra time in the morning for your coffee, set an alarm and stick to it!
7. Listen to Music to Accommodate Times of Stress and Lulls
Although some people might think that music is a distraction, what studies show us is that listening to music is highly motivating and enhances your productivity and creativity. There are going to be the same natural lulls and chaos during your at-home day that there are when you are in an office. Create playlists that help to keep you on task. Whether it is soothing music during times of deadlines and stress, or uplifting music to help you get through those tasks that feel like torture, music is a great way to relieve stress and also to stay focused.
8. Planning Ahead Will Help Keep you on Course!
Working from home is hard enough when it is just you, a computer, and a mobile device, but add some children and pets and what you have is a recipe for a shortcoming. Not only will it potentially make you feel like a bad parent because you have to work, if you don’t have a plan in action, you probably won’t be able to complete your job with the same attention that it commands.
Self-motivating and working from home can be difficult, but you can do it!
This whole pandemic has thrown you into a new way of working. If you were thrust into a new work from home position, it's probably taking some adjusting. Follow these quick tips, and the transition should be smoother and it will help you embrace and thrive in your new workplace.