Everybody is talking about how the work-from-home setup should be the new norm. Why haven’t we done this before? It’s so convenient. Well, yes, for people living alone. But for anyone with energetic kids running around the house, working from home will sometimes feel impossible. So no, this new setup is not everybody’s dream. Some work better when they are in the office.
It’s easy to get off course when you’re working from home. Not only do you have kids asking you to play with them, but you also have a ton of temptations—the laundry, the dishes, Netflix, etc. And yes, there’s the problem with your back. Since you’re sitting on whatever free chair you can find, you’ll need a chiropractor to make you feel better for days afterward.
Working from home is not a walk in the park, but you can make it better. You can recreate not only your office but your schedule in the office, too. By enforcing rules in the house, you can be more productive, as well as an efficient member of the team.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
Don’t work on the kitchen table or your bed or the sofa. Look for a small corner in the house that you can turn into a workspace. Do you use your basement? Do you have a spare room? Turn these into your home office space and make sure nobody has access to it. Recreate your office space. Invest in ergonomic tables and chairs. Ask the office to subsidize these things. Design your workspace the same way your office is designed.
Let There Be Light
You don’t get this in your actual office, but you have more control over your home office. If you can, position your workspace near a window or any source of natural light. This will make you feel more productive. As much as possible, don’t work in the basement. But if that’s the only space you can get for yourself, make sure there’s a good light source.
Doesn’t it feel weird to work in your pajamas? You don’t have to be in a three-piece suit but at the very least, dress in a pair of nice pants and a shirt. People are creatures of habit. Dressing up even if you’re staying at home will make you want to be more productive. You have to set your mind for work, or you’ll feel drawn to household chores.
Don’t let your kids bother you unless it’s an emergency. Set the rules according to how you set them when you’re working in the office. If you have someone to take care of them, make sure that they stay with this person until your work shift is over. They can call or text you if it’s important but otherwise, don’t let them come running inside your workspace.
At the same time, a lot of people may drop by thinking it’s okay to chat with you or invite you to have coffee. Unless it is your lunch break, stop yourself from indulging these relatives and friends. You need to focus on your job the way you are when you’re in the office.
The worst thing about working from home is that people tend to procrastinate. You can do these things during weekends. You can put off a task and just do it tomorrow. This is normal because you are not bound by office hours. But what will happen if someone in the house gets sick and you haven’t finished what you were supposed to finish yesterday? Or, how about when the internet goes down? You will likely miss a deadline, and that’s going to affect the whole team.
Create a Schedule
Because you are staying at home, it might make you think it’s okay to do household chores first before your work. Your calendar should work the same way when you were still going to the office. Mornings should be for prepping the kids for homeschool activities and your work. Evenings should be for family and household chores. Weekends are for leisure activities and having fun with the kids.
While there’s no need to over-schedule yourself, you cannot simply forget about your work tasks to attend to household chores. Regardless of your style, make sure to accomplish what you need to accomplish for the company you’re working for. Doing less than that is unfair to your bosses and co-workers.
Is this kind of work setup okay with you for the long term? If not, you should start looking for another opportunity. If it looks like you won’t be coming back to your office anytime soon, it’s time to think about what other avenues you can pursue. But in the meantime, take these ideas to heart and start enforcing them in your home office.