Working From Home: How To Make It Work For You

Photo: David Land
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Design: Dani Arps

Now that social distancing is becoming new normal, more and more of us will be trading in our office spaces for our living rooms, kitchen tables and sofas. And while the location of your work may change, it’s important to keep some things consistent and make a work from home routine that will work best for you. 

 

 

Life is changing on a daily basis, and we are having to adapt to lots of new normals, including changes in where and how we work. For someone that has never worked from home, the transition can be a challenge, especially with the endless news updates and a plethora of distractions at home.  So to help you pivot to WFH (and stay productive), we’re sharing 5 easy ways you can make your workspace – and workday – as functional as possible.

We also understand that many of you do not have the ability to work from home during all of this. It’s important that we offer support and encouragement to those still working in public, whether that’s a simple thank you at the grocery check out, continuing to support local restaurant workers by ordering take out, or donating to organizations that are staying open to help others in need.

STAY ON schedule

Maintaining the same schedule you had at the office will help make the transition to working from home a little more seamless. Try getting up at the same time and beginning the day with the same tasks you normally did at the office. Whether that was checking emails, making a cup of coffee, communicating with a co-worker or going through your daily calendar. While we realize not everything in your day can stay the same (like a morning coffee run), maintaining a “new normal” routine will definitely help keep on task.

 

Bobby’s Tip:

Go through your calendar before you head to bed each night so you know what to expect the next morning.

CREATE a workspace

Whether it’s the end of your dining table, a corner of the living room, or even your kitchen counter, set aside a designated area that will be your workspace for the coming weeks. Having a specific spot will help you more easily get into work mode (and choosing a spot away from distractions will keep you focused). It’s also important to create some boundaries with anyone else who will be home with you, whether that’s a partner or kids. Let them know that this area is your workspace and to respect the time you will be working each day. (We realize that’s easier said than done with young kids at home.)

You can also incorporate some cute desk accessories to make wherever you are working feel more inviting and functional. Check out our post 36 of the Best Desk Accessories for lots of products to help make a more cozy home office.

 

Bobby’s Tip:

Try to avoid working from the sofa or bed as it will prove tiring and doesn’t promote productivity.

USE APPS to stay productive

There are lots of tech tools that can help bring some structure to your daily routine. From helping you get organized to saving time, to prioritizing tasks, utilizing apps is a great way to work smarter from home. Here are some of our favorites:

TODOIST

A streamlined to-do list and task manager to help you keep track of due dates and deadlines, along with anything else on your agenda. Download here (ios) or here (Android).

TOGGL

If keeping track of hours is essential, Toggl is the app for you. You can start, stop, and log times and tasks, even syncing between your phone and desktop, making it even easier to use wherever you’re working. Download here (ios) or here (Android).

ASANA

This app helps you void the hassle of keeping track of multiple email threads by putting project management and communications all in one place. You can create projects, assign tasks, set deadlines and see progress with just a few clicks, simplifying projects and saving you time. Download (ios) and (Andorid).

PLAYLISTS

Besides apps, there are also a plethora of playlists to get you focused, relaxed or ready to have a productive day. We especially like this one “Productive Morning” by Spotify to get your morning started on a positive note.

 

TAKE mental BREAKS

Be sure to schedule breaks throughout your day, especially if you are sitting in front of screen for long hours. They will not only provide some structure to the workday, but also give your mind and body a much needed respite. If your normal schedule involved walking to get lunch or taking a break for coffee, incorporate those same breaks into your work from home routine. But instead, get up to stretch, take a walk around the neighborhood, or look at a magazine or book for a few minutes. Even a lunch break can be an opportunity to unwind for a half hour.

 

Bobby’s Tip:

When I need a visual, but productive distraction, I love browsing through Pinterest. If you don’t already follow me click through here to see what we are pinning.

MEET face to facetime

If you’re working at home alone, it won’t take long before you can start to feel isolated. To help stay connected, make your business phone calls facetime calls instead. You’ll still be getting things done, and getting some much needed human interaction (or as close to it as we can get right now). Plus the person you’re calling will probably be feeling the same isolation too. Connecting with friends and family over facetime is also a valuable tool for dealing in this age of social distancing.

 

Bobby’s Tip:

You can group facetime with up to 32 people! Here are some tips to make it easy and efficient

 

Let us know below in the comments if there are any other tips, suggestions or articles to help us all get through this time of working from home. We want the comment section to be a community of sharing and information.

  1. In place of a commute you could also add a walk around the block or try doing a few other tasks you might not normally get to. Add a workout in place of your commute it doesnt need to be long. And it will get your blood pumping for the day. Maybe make a nice breakfast for a change. Try to make your lunch and snacks the night before if that is also your routine.

    1. Great suggestions Katie. I’ve been trying to take a walk at lunch every day. -B

  2. Thank you for your tips. Very helpful in this stressful time!

    1. You’re so welcome. We’re happy to do anything we can to help. -B

  3. I’ve been working from home once a week for about a year. I definitely build in a walk, especially right now before it gets hot (Arizona). These are all good ideas, though I’d love some spaces as beautiful as these.

    1. A walk is a must! Thanks for reading Eva. -B

  4. Thanks for the tips, very useful! Another thing that helps me is to schedule time for cooking and to make sure to prepare at least two meals (lunch/dinner) at a time, or making bigger portions that will last me for a few days. This means I don’t have to account for extra time every day. Stay safe!

    1. Great idea Veronica! You stay safe as well. -B

  5. Thanks Bobby for this!
    I just started working from home last week
    due to enhanced quarantine in Manila and it almost got me sick! I’m a very social Leader which means I do my rounds almost every first part of my day to meet my team. Now that it is all virtual, having the physical aspect of meeting is gone. I don’t know if I can pull it off until mid April. But reading through here, made me excited to revisit my ways of working and adapt to wfh changes. THANKS! Salamat! Albert

  6. Thank you for this! Every helpful suggestion you give is well worth doing, creating and staying on a schedule.

    1. I’m so happy to help. Thanks for reading. -B