To those who work in an office on a daily basis, working from home seems like a dream come true. Working in your pajamas with the TV on and unlimited snacks at your disposal? What could be better?
Work-from-home veterans know, though, that, while working remotely comes with some obvious benefits, it can also be hard to stay productive when your workspace and your living space collide.
If you’re struggling to stay productive while working from home, or if you’re about to start working from home and want to maximize your time, consider giving these four tips a try.
1. Have a Designated Workspace
One of the best things you can do when you start working from home is to designate a specific area of the house or apartment to be your “office.”
Ideally, it will be a separate room with a door that you can close to signal to your family that you’re busy working and aren’t available to play or run errands. If that’s not an option, at least set up your desk in a corner of one room and create a space that’s only for work.
Resist the urge to work from your bed on a regular basis. If you’re sick, it’s fine to set up a laptop desk and stay productive while you rest. But, if you’re working from bed every day, you may find that you have a hard time shutting your brain off when it’s time to go to sleep.
2. Dress for Success
When you first start working from home, it’s tempting to spend the whole day working in your pajamas.
This is fine on occasion, but, in general, it’s a good idea to get up, shower, and get dressed just like you would if you were going to a regular office. You don’t have to put on a suit, of course, but wearing something semi-casual can help you get your mind in the right place for work.
After all, if you’re in sweats or pajamas, you’re probably going to feel a lot more tempted to curl up on the couch and start a Netflix marathon than you will to sit at your desk and start tackling your to-do list.
3. Get a Good Chair
A comfortable, supportive desk chair works wonders for people who struggle to stay on task while they’re working at home.
Invest in a high-quality chair that you won’t mind sitting in for hours at a time. Some good things to look for when you’re shopping for the perfect chair include:
- Adjustable height, back, lumbar support, and armrests
- Wheels that are designed for your specific floor-type (wood or carpet)
- Swivel base
- Breathable fabric
- Plenty of cushioning on the seat (you shouldn’t be able to feel the chair base when you sit down)
Some people also swear by a chair-exercise ball hybrid for work. These kinds of chairs can help you strengthen your core and improve your posture — plus they’re fun to use! Try out both a traditional office chair and an exercise ball option to see which one you prefer.
4. Set Clear Hours and Give Yourself Regular Breaks
When you work from home, it’s easy to start working as soon as you roll out of bed and continue until you start falling asleep at your desk. This isn’t necessarily the best way to be productive, though.
Do your best to set specific office hours – especially if you have a family. When you have set hours for work, it’s easier for your family to know when to leave you alone to work and when to come to you for help or just to talk.
Contrary to popular belief, taking breaks throughout the day is also important for remaining productive. Stepping away from your work every so often can help you remain objective about your projects and avoid falling into a rut halfway through the day.
Working from home can be challenging, but, for many people, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. If you’re having a hard time staying on-task while working remotely, be sure to give these four tips a try to establish a better work-life balance.