Working from Home: 5 Essential Tips for Staying Productive & Mentally Healthy While Working from Home

June 12, 2020
Working from Home

In the midst of the new corona virus pandemic we are currently learning to navigate as a local and global community, many companies worldwide are implementing voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies. Much of the world is on lockdown, and, even in places that aren’t, people are encouraged to stay at home.

Even if you’ve done it before, working from home because of the virus, feels like a whole new world. So, whether you’re a newbie to the work-from-home lifestyle, or a regular trying to navigate these uncertain times, everyone will need to adopt new habits and routines to make working from home productive and successful.

When working from home, one has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create fruitful boundaries between work and personal life. What about training opportunities, career development, building relationships and conducting team meetings? Here we provide 8 essential tips for navigating these issues, and others, successfully while working from home.

Maintain a clearly defined schedule with regular work-play hours

Set a schedule, and stick to it. Having clear guidelines for when to it’s time to work, and when to call it a day will help maintain a work-life balance. With this said however, one of the luxuries of working from home is flexibility – so find what works for you, and stick to that. Remember to give yourself enough breaks and ‘play time’ so you don’t burn out.

Create a ‘morning’ routine

While creating a schedule, and sitting down to begin your day is one thing, creating a routine the guides you to stick to your schedule is another. We advise that you create little “trigger” habits to indicate the start of your day. Whether it be a morning cup of coffee, or a hot shower, creating a morning routine to help get you started each day can be more powerful than an alarm clock. With this said however, not everyone follows a nine-to-five schedule. So, again find what works for you and stick to it.

Set ground rules with the people in your space

One of the most challenging tasks of working from home is managing you work with all of the added distractions. Therefore, it is vital that you communicate with the people you share your space with, and define some ground rules that can promote productivity.

The biggest distraction that many people deal with are our children. While many schools are shut down entirely during this time, many of us have a house full of Duracell bunnies with nowhere to go. Make sure you set boundaries and rules about what they can and cannot do during your working hours.

Make sure to break up household chores among your household so each person has equal responsibilities to attend to each day. These chores can be slotted into your daily schedule so they don’t disturb your working hours.

Designate a Workspace of a Home Office

It is hugely important that you keep your work and home lives separate. “For some people it becomes very blurry,” says Muse career coach Lynn Berger, who specialises in helping people navigate career transitions. Having a designated space for work promotes productivity, and also allows you to disconnect and enjoy home life. If you never fully disconnect from work, your work productivity will suffer and your home life can take a hit as well.

If you are used to going into the office each day, try and recreate this environment as much as possible; even if this means designating a part of your kitchen counter to ‘work things only’. Your work space does not have to be an entire space. It can be a corner of your dining room table or a dressing table in your bedroom – but it should feel comfortable, productive and as separate from the rest of your home as possible.

Entering this work space will help adjust your mindset to engage with your work. Once you have completed your work for the day, remove yourself from this space to ensure you disengage fully from your work, and to enjoy your home life. It is important not to allow your work to creep into your downtime space as this will make it harder to keep your work/home spaces separate, which can affect your productivity. The key here is to do whatever you need to do to “leave” your workspace.

Find a Buddy

You might find you are more productive without your chatty coworkers constantly buzzing in your ear. But social interactions — even with noisy and distracting coworkers — can alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Working remotely for an extended amount of time can mentally disrupt your productiveness and make you feel secluded from the outside world. Social interaction is a vital part of one’s mental health, and helps facilitate team bonding, cooperation and closeness. We recommend you find a colleague you can regularly communicate with when you are feeling lonely. Conducting video call meetings instead of e-mail and text messages can also increase your social interaction. Having a buddy will also keep you accountable and up-to date with your responsibilities.

While working from home during these trying times is far from easy, we hope these simple tips can help improve your productivity and ensure you maintain a healthy mental state. From us here at The Web Shack, we wish you all the best during these uncertain times.