Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Working from home is NOT always an EASY transition. Here are 10 strategies for productive work at home.
When you imagine working from home, you might picture sleeping in a little longer, making home cooked lunches, throwing in a load of laundry in between emails or staying away from all the donuts in the communal lunch room.
In theory, this sounds fantastic!
In real life, it might look more like rolling out of bed, throwing on yoga pants (or staying in your PJs), putting your hair in a messy bun and sitting down at your computer to work only to get side tracked by phone calls, the dishwasher “needing” to be loaded, kids and/or a spouse looking for attention, or the dog that is so excited you are at home. All the while eating whatever is most convenient, not exercising and never getting those loads of laundry done because
your routine is now thrown off.
Let’s talk about some strategies for productive work at home:
1. Give yourself a schedule. This means start and end your day at specific times—no exceptions! Plan time for zoom meetings, phone calls and checking emails, as well as the rest of your work during those hours only. 2. Take a lunch break. Fix the meal you want and let go of the guilt. You would get a lunch break when you are away at work, why not at home? 3. Chose a specific workspace. This does not mean in front of the TV. Create a designated space that indicates for you and everyone around you that when you are there, you are working. 4. Meal plan. Plan just like you would if you were leaving your home. Pack a lunch and snacks to prevent grabbing the chips and salsa. 5. Plan for breaks. Sitting at your space for too long is not helpful for your body. Get up once an hour and walk around your home. A break also does not mean napping or binging a series on Netflix, so be careful of your choices. 6. Mute all digital distractions. Use your “Do Not Disturb” function on your computer or your cell phone to disable notifications. 7. Shift your mindset. Start your workday with daily practices of gratitude.
Yale University states that gratitude increases joy, enthusiasm, and energy. They also state that individuals who practice gratitude, suffer from less stress.
UC Berkley indicated that gratitude practice will increase effective sleep and reduce anxiety.
8. Create boundaries at home. The people in your life may not think about the fact that you are trying to get work done since they normally have access to you when you are at home. Inform them and give them specific times or ways to talk with you. 9. Drink water. I have found drinking water in the afternoon drives away my afternoon fatigue. I have read that we are supposed to be drinking half of our body weight in ounces of water -- i.e. if your weight is 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water. If you are not used to drinking anything close to this amount, start with small amounts and increase as you get used to it. 10. Shutting off work. So many people continue to work beyond their regular time, just because they can. This can be an extremely unhealthy blurring of boundaries. Signify to yourself that your workday is done—close your laptop, put it out of sight, or shut the door to your workspace. Then, go do something completely different to get the brain to register “I’m done for the day.”
Quick Take Away:
Things that are comfortable or familiar at home can get in the way of you remaining effective at work or in health.
Organize and schedule your work to keep it clearly delineated from your home life. It will help keep your physically, mentally and professionally strong.
And as always, we are here to help! If you are experiencing higher than usual levels of stress and are looking for support, we would love to talk with you. We have online groups, online courses and one-on-one personal support available. Go to our contact page -- we'd love to connect and get you the support you need!