10 Tips for a Smoother Work-From-Home Experience

The recent outbreak of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, has many companies practicing social distancing and requiring their employees to quickly transition to a work-from-home (WFH) environment. Both personally and professionally, our typical schedules have been turned upside down. It’s likely that other family members or roommates have also made the transition home from school or work. Even with a packed household and lots of uncertainty in the news, productivity doesn’t need to go out the window. Here are ten tips to make your transition to a WFH setting more comfortable.

  1. Stick to a Normal Routine: Many of our habitual morning rituals have been disrupted. However, there is no reason why you can’t maintain a similar routine in a WFH environment. The simple acts of showering, getting dressed, eating a nutritious breakfast, or brewing a cup of joe before setting your daily intentions encourages your mind to focus and begin the workday.
  2. Have a Dedicated Work Area: Dedicate an area in your home to working. Whether this area is a home office, dining room table, or kitchen island, having an organized workspace will help limit distractions and notify other members of the household you are in work mode. It also allows you to separate the “W” from the “H” (see #10).
  3. Follow a Schedule: Set aside a few minutes the previous night or the morning of to set a list of priorities and to-dos for the upcoming day. Block off time in your calendar to tackle difficult tasks first, schedule important calls, and set weekly project goals.
  4. Maintain Daily Check-Ins with Team Members: Social distancing can feel lonely when you are used to interacting with your co-workers in person. Be sure to schedule daily or weekly calls or video chats with managers and team members to prioritize projects you would otherwise review in person. Keep in touch with your favorite co-workers by sharing funny memes in a group chat or scheduling virtual happy hours to catch up.
  5. Communication is Key: A strong line of communication is key to building team trust. Be transparent with your managers and coworkers when you will be on and offline throughout the day.
  6. Cue the Music: Utilize apps like Spotify or Pandora to create relaxing work playlists or listen to motivational podcasts to help you stay focused throughout the day. You can even create collaborative playlists on Spotify to keep your friends involved.
  7. Avoid Mindless Snacking: Similar to your work schedule, stick to a similar meal and snack schedule you would follow at the office. It is much easier to access yummy snacks in the comfort of your own home, and even easier for calories to add up.Take time away from your computer to slow down and enjoy regular meals and nutritious treats throughout the day.
  8. Don’t Multitask: It is easy to get distracted at home with a laundry list of chores. However, multitasking reduces efficiency and does not allow your brain to fully focus on the task at hand. Save those tasks for afterwork hours.
  9. Set Boundaries with Loved Ones and Roommates: It’s likely that multiple members of the household are now working from home. Set boundaries during work hours. Invest in noise-cancelling headphones to maintain focus, or use a good set of ear pods while on conference calls.
  10. Have a Logout Ritual: Just as you do to kick off your day, create a ritual for your brain to recognize that the workday is done and it’s time to unwind. Finalize emails, clean up your workspace and shut down your computer. Virtual connectivity makes projects and emails even more accessible, but it’s still incredibly important to mentally switch from “work mode” to “home mode” to maintain a true sense of balance.

Staying motivated in a work-from-home environment does not require huge lifestyle changes. Making minor tweaks to your daily routine can improve your workflow, increase creativity and result in even more productivity throughout the day.