Working from home is a real treat in many ways. No more commuting! You don’t have to wear shoes! No one will steal your lunch from the fridge! But as more and more people are finding out this year, the work-from-home lifestyle poses its own unique challenges. Here are a few tips and tricks for settling in to your new schedule and avoiding some of the more common pitfalls.
Get Away From Your Desk
Not everyone will have the space to make this happen, but if you’re lucky enough to have some extra room to breathe, designate an alternate work station away from your home office. Maybe you have a comfy chair in the living room that gets great natural light? Or a porch swing where you can hear the birds sing? A nearby public park with plenty of solitary seating? Claim that area as your own and try to work there on a regular basis. The change of scenery will be good for productivity, but even more importantly, it will be good for your mental well-being.
Breaks tend to happen pretty organically in an office setting. A colleague might stop by your desk and ask if you want to grab a coffee. Or you’ll pick up on the ambient restlessness that connotes lunch time. Your home office is different. On the one hand, you might more easily find flow states of increased productivity. On the other hand, it can be easy to lose track of time and forget to give your brain and body a necessary breather. Use an alarm or scheduling app to set break reminders for yourself. You might not think you need a break, but trust us, you do.
Upgrade Your Gear
Your employer should outfit you with everything you need to be productive from home, but they might not cover every base. It might fall to you to invest in technology and furnishings that keep you productive and comfortable. You’ll want a chair you won’t mind sitting in for hours every day. A light that doesn’t make you feel like you are in a crypt. A keyboard that won’t strain your wrists. Perhaps a laptop that you can take outside with you. Whatever you need to make your home office feel a little bit more like a real office.
We won’t sugarcoat it: working from home can be a lonely endeavor. Especially right now, when seeing friends can be a health hazard. But your video conferencing and collaboration tools can be put to use for extracurricular purposes. Try to set aside some time for more casual chats with your co-workers. Camaraderie is crucial, even if you’re not seeing your colleagues face-to-face every day. You do not want to feel too lonely. To a certain extent we all feel that way right now. But try to reach out. People want to connect.
Resist Snack Attacks
One of the great things about working from home is that you don’t have to pack a lunch or spend money on eating out. Everything you could want is just a short walk to the kitchen away. That is also one of the less-than-great things about working from home. Binging on snacks becomes far too convenient. And food is one of the only sources of entertainment available to us during the COVID crisis, which only compounds the dangers of junk food accessibility. Mental and physical health is an essential ingredient for productivity and happiness, and the fuel you fill up on is a huge part of that mind/body balance. Make sure you have nutritious and healthy food on hand for your bouts of on-the-clock hunger.
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