By Rachel Peck
The last few years have seen a shift in workplace norms. Once an office only, cubicle friendly society, workspaces are beginning to look very different. Many employers are either offering designated “work from home” days, or only employ remote workers. Whether you’re experienced in maintaining a home office environment, or adjusting to this new perk, Eclipse Media Group has compiled a few best practices to help stay productive while working from home:
Seize the day by structuring it
A few of us at EMG are fans of getting an early start to the day. Some of our best work is done before noon, as it seems to be the optimal time for both organizational and creative brains to work in conjunction. When working from home, it might be helpful to start your day immediately. If early mornings are your style, play to your strengths. Find the time you’re most productive. In our opinion, this is one benefit to working from home – the ability to step outside of the usual “one size fits all” structure of the office. You likely have a routine for a day spent in the office, so create one for a day spent working at home.
Break it up
Even if it’s to throw a load of laundry in, this is important. When you’re at the office, you might take a break to make a cup of coffee, chat with a coworker about what’s on Netflix or to catch up on a project – you’re likely not sitting in one place for hours on end. Working from home can be challenging in this respect. You might find yourself in a “zone” typing away, only to emerge and realize you’ve haven’t moved in five hours, you’re still in sweatpants and you never did take a shower. Be mindful of your time. Take five minutes to make lunch, walk your dog, change out of your pajamas or unload your dishwasher – whatever it may be, aim to unplug every few hours.
Pro tip: Breaking up the day with physical activity by working out or taking a walk can be incredibly beneficial. Your body and creativity will thank you.
Keep your workspace separate and sacred
Maybe it’s your couch, kitchen table or an office. Whatever space you call “the office” when working home, attempt to set it apart from the rest of the home – creating a productive workspace. If you have roommates, children, a spouse or even a pet sharing your space, make sure to clearly communicate with them (humans, not the pets) and set up work boundaries. Setting a designated space will help maintain the balance between home and work.
Pro tip: Some days you might find home too distracting. Don’t be afraid to set up shop in a local coffee shop or community workspace for a few hours. A change of scenery might be just what you need for a boost of productivity.
“Leave the office” at the end of the day
When you’re working from the office, leaving is easy. The end of the day rolls around and you don’t need any extra motivation to head home for the night. However, working from home can make it difficult to mentally “leave” work. While we encourage you to come up with your own system, one we find beneficial is scheduling an activity, or even errands, at the end of the day – which forces you to actually leave your house and your work. Schedule a group workout, head out for a run or go grocery shopping. It will help you leave the projects behind, and when you arrive back home it feels just like a normal homecoming and not “back to work.”
There’s no doubt about it – working from home has numerous perks. We’re not spending morning energy on getting out the door in time, sitting in traffic and fighting over parking spaces. Instead, it encourages a work/life balance, while empowering employees to work to individual strengths and be more productive with the day. It’s not without its challenges though, so focus on discovering what works best for you. If rolling straight out of bed and beginning your day is how you work best, then you should go for it, but maybe shower at some point too.