There is a fairly good chance that with the recent outbreak of COVID-19, you may suddenly be finding yourself working from home. This may be a regular thing you have already been doing for years. In this case, you may not even agree with my tips below because you probably have your own sweet setup and processes in place. This blog post was created for those who are suddenly finding themselves working from home for the first time – like myself! Or for those who want to revamp the space they have been working at home from.
Some of us may not have the luxury of having an at home office and may have to get creative with an at home working space. As the Susan & Moe Team admin, I am currently getting used to this myself. I want to help others create their perfect working from home space during these strange times we are facing. Through my research and my own organizing in my home, I have came up with how to create the best working from home space. Read on for tips on keeping yourself motivated and productive while working from home!
Don’t forget to check out the compiled list of office chairs and desks for under $160 on Amazon! You can find the list here.
If you have an extra bedroom or a den in your home, this can be a great place to set up your home office. If you don’t have the extra space, your bedroom can also make a good spot for getting work done. Just make sure there aren’t a lot of distractions in the room.
The kitchen can also be a very distracting space with the fridge and all of the food nearby. It’s great at lunch time, but also very easy to snack all day long.
The dining room is a great choice for setting up your home office as there are usually little to no distractions in here. There is also a table and chairs which can certainly make sitting with your computer a lot more comfortable.
If there is a TV where you are setting up, it is probably best to choose a different room as it can be much too easy to flip on the TV while working with a show on in the background. Though this may seem harmless, it can actually be a huge distraction and leads to a lot less productivity. The living room is typically not a great room to set up in due to the TV and comfy couches that are just begging to be sat on.
Unless you are chatting with your team on Facebook Messenger and/or updating your business pages, it is best to stay away from social media while trying to be productive. As we know, there can be a lot of distractions on social media, especially with all that is going on in the world right now. Staying away from social media will not only keep you more productive, but also more positive in times like these. Try watching a feel good video clip or reading a good story during break time rather than getting wrapped up in the headlines.
If you are working from your dining room, as mentioned before, you should have a table and chair to sit at. Hopefully you have nice comfortable dining chairs to sit in that won’t cause you to hurt your back. It may even be worth it to order a desk chair from Amazon. Having a desk chair will make it feel more like you are at an office and will also be better for your posture and body. Office supply stores may be closed right now and it is recommended that you don’t currently leave your home. Lucky for us, we still have Amazon. I have compiled a list of office chairs and desks on Amazon that are currently being offered for less than $160. You can check out that list here.
Another great thing to have for your at home office is of course, a desk. If you already have a desk and an office chair and can set up your space appropriately, that is great! If you have a dining room table or spare table in your basement, you can put it to great use as a makeshift desk. If you want something a little more fancy and don’t want to take up the space on your current dining table, you may want to think about purchasing a desk. Check out the compiled list for some great desks for under $160 that can be delivered right to your door!
Another aspect to a great working from home space is having a bright window. If the room you are working in currently has the blinds or curtains drawn, try opening them up to let the light in. Though windows can cause distractions, it is also nice to be close to the outdoors in a time like this, especially when the sun is shining. The small distractions you will find from the outdoors might be an easy way to take a moment for yourself. The natural light will boost your vitamin D and make your at home office a cheerier place to be in turn helping you to stay motivated and more productive!
If possible, grab some things from your working office that will make your home office feel like work. This could be as simple as your coffee cup, computer mouse, hand cream, headphones, notebook, water bottle, whatever you use on a daily basis in your workplace. Having these items around while being at home will definitely get you into the working mood. If you are unable to go into your office, grab some things around the house that will remind you of those items. It is amazing how these small things can kick your brain into work mode.
Once you have your working space all set up, it is very important to keep in contact with your boss, co-workers and team. One of the top reasons people don’t like to work from home is because they loose out on the social aspect. One of the top reasons why people are unproductive in their home office is also due to a lack of coworkers. Without having someone in the same room as you, it can be harder to keep yourself accountable. This is why it is so important to stay in close contact with the people you work with. They will help you to stay motivated and ready to work.
You can chat with your coworkers through texting group chats, WhatsApp, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or even Facebook Messenger. There are all kinds of different methods of communication this day in age. There is also the good old method of picking up the phone and talking to them. Hearing their voice can really jump you into work mode, especially when its your boss! Make sure you continue to chat with these people every day to see what they are doing and to stay accountable with what you are doing as well. You have to continue to be a team player and work together.
It can be very easy to mess up your work and life balance while working at home. Some people have trouble getting anything done, while others overwork themselves. Make sure you get up at the same time as you normally would to go to work. Have a shower, eat your breakfast, feed the dog, hug your kids and significant other and check off any other regular morning items before you begin your work day. Working from home can be a whole new experience and it may throw you off of your normal daily habits. Try not to change these habits, as it will make the working from home process more difficult.
Once your workday begins (which will begin at the regular scheduled time) start off doing the normal things you would do at the office. Make your coffee, check your emails and calendar, and plan your day. It is a really good idea to create some sort of a task list for yourself with all of the things you plan on getting done for the day. It feels so good to strike those items off your list and it will help to track how much work you have accomplished. This may be difficult to get used to at first, but in the end it is such a great way to stay organized and on track and understand where you are at with work projects and goals.
Don’t forget to eat your lunch and take a few breaks throughout the day. Get up and walk around a bit so you don’t cease up. Working at a new desk / table / chair can be hard on your body and you want to make sure to take care of yourself. Stretch your arms and legs throughout the day by walking down the hall or into another room. At lunch time, make sure to not only eat your lunch, but also get up and move around. Chat with some friends or coworkers about non-work topics and enjoy yourself. In this crazy pandemic we are all facing right now, it is good to take a little time for yourself throughout your day and smile.
Unless you are used to working hours of overtime, make sure to stop working once your regular workday ends. It can very easy to want to continue to work and just get 1 more thing done because you don’t have to worry about your commute home. Remember the whole work-life balance? This is where it comes into play. It is definitely harmless to stay a few minutes after work to get something done but don’t continue to work until its bed time. If you work a job with set hours, it might even be a good idea to set an alarm for your start and end time.
With your full size kitchen within walking distance, it can be easy to want to cook yourself a gourmet breakfast or lunch. Though this isn’t the end of the world, it might be best to try to stick to easy breakfasts and cooking your lunch the night before (leftovers are always great!). Extravagant meals take up a lot of your time which would normally be productive time. You don’t want to take up this precious time during your day when you should really be working instead. Try cooking yourself a nice meal the night before so you have an easy lunch during your workday and you don’t have to stray away from your tasks at hand.
Maybe listening to music while you work helps to motivate you. Perhaps dressing up in your fancy clothes helps to feel more like work. Maybe you are going to try wearing your hoodie and jeans for the first time while working. You may want to put on a candle or diffuser to create a nice tranquil atmosphere. You know yourself better than anyone else and you know what motivates you. We are all different and have different processes and outlooks for getting our work done. So have fun with it! Create the perfect at home workspace where you will have no problem being productive. Good luck!