It’s been almost 20 years since I started working from home, and it was a huge adjustment from my previous 18 years of office jobs. The main challenge I’ve had is sticking to a schedule, in particular seeing my working hours extend way into the evening.
One of the lasting effects from the pandemic is the fact that more people are working from home, either full time or at least a few days a week. Knowing firsthand what a big change that is, I’m pleased to offer the following tips to help home workers stay on track:
Create a schedule—and stick to it. Make sure you have structure to your day that mimics how you would use your time at the office. One of the traps to watch out for is actually working too much, so make sure your schedule has a quitting time.
Create a work space. You will be more productive if you have a dedicated home office or a designated place to work like your dining room table. Having that work space will also make it easier to divide your work and home lives.
Be organized. Make your work space inviting by keeping it as tidy as possible. A cluttered desk easily leads to a cluttered mind, presenting distractions that take you away from your work.
Focus on your job. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should be doing household chores during the work day. Your productivity will plummet if your focus is split between doing your job and your laundry.
Set family boundaries. If you have young children, it’s ideal to have a babysitter for them if possible. Older kids need to be educated on the importance of not disturbing you while you’re working.
Create end-of-the-day habits. Since you no longer have commute time to decompress from the day and move into home life mode, figure out what you can do instead to ease into the evening. One option is changing clothes and doing some sort of exercise like a short walk.
Diane’s Take: Establish boundaries to make your home office a true working space that supports your well-being and allows you to thrive in your job. Remember that working from home doesn’t mean you should be working on your home.