Right now, thousands of people find themselves working from home, and it’s likely that going forward, home office will be the new normal for a lot of professionals. This means that we need to find new ways of staying motivated and handling our workload. Here are a few ideas to keep you energized.
It can feel nice and novel to work in your pajamas, but it’s not a good idea to keep it up. Pajamas make you feel relaxed, sweatpants encourage you to kick back and take it easy. They make it feel like going to bed. Instead, it’s a good idea to dress properly (and not just from the waist up for video calls).
Putting on nicer work clothes, doing your hair, and looking professional can make you enter “work mode” and stay motivated instead of being tempted to go for a nap.
Keep plants close by
The sights of nature help us be more creative and more relaxed. They are much nicer to look at and provide a good working environment. You might want to include plants in your home office setup to make it more comfortable.
Many plants are low maintenance and won’t require too much of an effort to keep alive, but they will make a real difference in how you feel as you work.
Keep it clean and distraction-free
A cluttered environment can be distracting. It makes it more difficult for us to focus and require more time (how long will it take you to find that document or that paper)? A clean desk helps you feel more in control and encourages you to stay on task. Having a clear environment also applies beyond the desk, however. You want to work in a space that is designed for this purpose.
A kitchen table can work in a pinch but might not be the best setup. Try to find a space that feels good to be in, and that doesn’t involve family members constantly walking by, doing the dishes, or popping in to ask a question every five minutes.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to be glued to your screen. In fact, taking breaks every hour to stretch your legs or grab some water can make you more productive. Just make sure that the breaks don’t become too long.
You can make the most out of these moments by doing something physical, like taking a short walk or doing some exercises. It’s a good idea to move away from the computer to give your eyes a break.
Stay in touch with your coworkers
As you work from home, it’s easy to feel isolated from your colleagues. However, it’s very important to keep in touch and find ways of engaging with them. Send a message, join a meeting, do a video call, or engage in other ways that remind you that you are not working alone.
Social connection can make you feel a lot more motivated to do the work you need to do and also can create opportunities to ask for help and support if you need it. Find opportunities to engage in social ways with your coworkers and get to know them a little more.
Set clear boundaries
It’s easy to let our work take over our lives when we work from home. The boundaries between personal and professional become blurred, and it might be easier to stay late doing a project or answer emails late into the night. After all, you’re always at the “office.” This, however, is a bad strategy in the long term. It can lead to burnout, stress, fatigue, and more.
Setting a clear boundary between work time and home time is the best strategy to make this setup sustainable. You have the right to disconnect from work and relax, and you need to establish when you will do this. Maybe you won’t be available once you get off at 6 or 7, or maybe you will not be replying to emails over the weekend unless it’s an emergency.
Setting boundaries makes you a better worker in the long term, so don’t feel bad for doing it.