Working from home used to be a luxury for a select few employees. The joy of choosing to work at home is rapidly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the free choice to elect to have a work from home day — it becomes an order which is not quite so appealing. A Gartner survey of 800 HR executives found that 88% of businesses are now asking their employees to work from home.
Chances are, you have been told to work from home until further notice. Working from your home can be a real challenge if you’ve commuted to work every day for several years. Working from home has an entirely different atmosphere than your office does, and adjusting can be difficult for some people.
For many employees, having a home office has eased the transition. If you already have a designated room as an office in your home, the changeover during COVID hasn’t been as traumatic. You’ve likely separated yourself before and keep space between home life and work life. You have likely figured out when you are most productive and where you are the most productive.
But what if you haven’t worked from home before, except during a few carefully chosen occasions? What if you don’t have the space to craft your own home office? You can still keep your productivity high — here’s how.
Choose a Spot
Establishing a designated work area is an excellent habit for working from home. Your brain will begin to connect this spot with work, making it easier to make the mental transition from home to work.
Find an area in or around your home with the fewest distractions and temptations. To help you focus, sit away from the alluring TV, and the tasty snacks in the kitchen. If you have kids running around, try to find a private place where you won’t be distracted by their shenanigans.
Even if you don’t have space for a fully furnished home office, you can still arrange a setup that maximizes your productivity, turning a corner of your home into the perfect workspace.
Furnish Your Space
Even if you don’t specifically have room for a full home office, it doesn’t mean you can’t furnish your area with some new equipment. There are many different products you can consider that will help boost productivity and establish a better workspace.
It’s my belief that everyone needs office space in their home — always. Having an area that’s your own will always give you a productivity headstart. Think of when you were a kid, and you had a home office in your bedroom to study for school. It was your space — you were productive in that space. Use this same idea and make your office now.
Perhaps you would like an office chair to make it feel like you’re actually in a work environment. If you’re sick of sitting all day, a sitting-standing desk could be the perfect solution. New folders, a beautiful desk lamp, or even some fancy writing utensils can transform and optimize your DIY work environment.
Working from home almost always requires a computer. Keep a bright spot for your laptop — and most serious workers and studiers need a screen. Furnish your workspace and make your place wonderful. It is also essential to make sure that your software and internet connection are up to par for work-from-home performance. Lousy WiFi can set you back days and can cause a lot of stress. You don’t need extra irritation during times of upset.
While at home, it’s much easier to be distracted by familiar surroundings. Without a home office to hunker down in, it is an especially daunting task to stay focused. While you can avoid some of these distractions by choosing a great setup, there are other precautions you will certainly want to take.
Start by making it tougher for you to access social media — a famous productivity killer. Put your phone in another room, or at least turn off your social media apps’ notifications. If you use your phone frequently for calls, turn your ringer up so you can hear it from afar. Another solution for the phone (again a productivity zapper), leave the ringer off and only check your phone during breaks.
When I’m working, I like to listen to instrumental music. The absence of lyrics helps me focus on the task I’m working on — and not on what’s coming through my headphones or speaker. You can use the same idea by blocking out extraneous noise. A headset or headphones can help you from stressing out about what’s going on around you and focus you on what’s on your to-do list.
Get a speaker or a set of headphones for your space. Working with music is a great way to boost productivity. Music is motivating. Use great music if your job requires regular physical activity. If you have to sit and concentrate all day, music can act as a mental cubicle by helping you shut out what’s going on around you.
Use Project Management Software
Even without a dedicated home office in the real world, you can create one in the digital realm with project management software. Make sure that you know when your greatest personal production peaks occur. The right digital project platform can:
Facilitates team communication.
If others are working or playing in the same space as you, such as a dining room, you may need to minimize phone calls. Project management software has chat features that can eliminate the need for many calls.
Keeps you accountable.
Working from home presents a unique accountability dilemma. With no one physically present to hold you accountable, it’s easier to let projects slip through the cracks — accidentally. Project management software helps you stay responsible by having you report your actions as you go. You can even up your productivity at this time if you wish.
Helps you stay organized.
A home office typically has organizational features like folders and filing cabinets. However, if you have decided the ideal place to set up shop is on the back porch, you probably don’t have access to your cabinets. Project management software keeps all your information online, which can be easily accessed and arranged to your liking. Project management and productivity software doesn’t take that long to set up and can save hours of extensive work.
Improve your time management.
Many project management tools sync with your Calendar, helping you manage your time and projects. Use the best time management tools you can get to keep track of your company’s remote meetings, list your deadlines, and layout a daily to-do list.
When you’re stuck working from home day in and day out, it can be tough to keep your chin up. The solution is to kick yourself into high gear. Staying productive and positive helps you stay motivated and happy. Your mental well-being is the most important thing at the end of the day. During the COVID-19 crises, it’s essential to protect your mental health.
To keep a positive mindset, maintain an active home life. Schedule your time — all of it. Schedule time to participate in extracurricular activities — and be sure to allow for time to unwind at the end of each day. If you’re at home with family, dedicate moments specifically to them. Cherish the extra time you get with them while you’re working from home.
Set some new goals to work on.
Setting goals can help you keep a positive mindset. Take a moment and display your goals on your computer screen to remind you of what you’re working toward, and hope to accomplish. When things get tough, remember your “why.”
Don’t stress if you’re trying to figure out your work situation without a home office. Millions of people all around you are making it work, and so can you.