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Helpful Tips and Ideas for Working From Home

An open laptop computer, coffee mug and other accessories on a desk near a window.  

Have you, like many people, started working from home recently?

You may find yourself still trying to adjust to this new setup, but you are not alone. Read on for some helpful tips on setting up a home office for remote work.

Dedicate a space for just work
If you have an extra room, you can create a small home office. Make sure you use this room only for work and try and keep everything inside work-related. Having a designated work area will keep you focused in ways that working from, say your living room, that is full of distractions, may not. When you enter this room, you will be entering your place of work, ready to be productive.

Make the most of what you have
If an entire room isn’t available, that’s ok. Even in small spaces you can still carve out an area and dedicate it to work. Find a comfortable space in a room that you can work in all day without distraction, but make sure you can use it every day. You will associate this consistent workstation with your job and find that you will have better productivity. This article from MakeSpace has tips on ways to save space if your new work area happens to be in your bedroom.

Limit distractions as much as possible
Whether it’s at your kitchen table or in a separate room, make sure your home office area is free from distractions during work hours. Try to get your desk area as close to how it is at work. If you must set up at the kitchen table, make sure the morning paper still isn’t on it. Make sure you set up in a location that does not have a lot of distracting noises if possible, such as within earshot of a TV playing or a window open to a busy street. It may be beneficial to wear noise-canceling headphones if you live in a particularly loud building or neighborhood.

Decorate your work area
One upside to working from home is that you have total input on the décor. Giving your environment a pleasing design will give you positive energy and put you in a good mood for work. Having to work every morning in a space not suited to your tastes will only start you off on the wrong foot. If you are looking for ideas on ways to design your work from home space, read this article from Insider.

A white lamp and green plant sit on a desk, a wall clock behind them.

Mentally get yourself in a work mindset
Once you have your physical surroundings exactly as you need them, you will need to get your mind and body there too. It’s easy to overlook this very important aspect of remote work. Taking simple steps such as maintaining similar morning routines or dressing as you would for the office, will increase your productivity while working from home. The temptation to work in your PJ’s will be strong but are not the best for getting you in a work frame of mind. Try to mimic as much as possible what you do on a normal day going to the office.

Get the people you live with to respect boundaries
You will have to get everyone you live with to understand that you are still at work. Just because you are in the other room, your roommate, spouse, or whoever is there, should understand you are not available to just chat or hang out with. Those types of distractions are sure to disrupt your workflow. Don’t hold out hope for your pets to accept this reality however, no matter how polite you ask.

Get the working from home must-haves that are best for you
Besides your computer, the two most important things you will need to remotely work are a good chair and a proper desk. Feeling comfortable will put you in a better mood to address the needs of your job. You will not want to rush this choice and should spend time choosing the most ergonomic chair and desk for you. Your desk will be dependent also on the space available to you. You may need a small one to fit in limited space. Or, without having a commute, maybe you want a standing desk for a little extra exercise during the day. This article from Home Stratosphere looks at some of the various desk options out there for you.

Have the right lighting
Don’t be the person on your video call who looks like they are doing a TV interview in the dark to protect their identity. Having the right lighting in place will allow your coworkers to see you, as well as be better on your eyes while working. Looking at a computer screen in a dark room can have long term effects that can be negated with just a well-placed lamp. This article from NVISION has helpful information on improving your homes lighting for better overall eye health.

Design a home office within your budget
The idea of furnishing your home for work can seem expensive, but there are ways to keep costs low. Always try to use what you have at your disposal first before running out to buy anything. This article from Entrepreneur gives some tips on how you can save while getting your home office set up.

Two people sitting outside on a concrete bench in a park like setting.

Make sure to leave the house 

You may not have a commute to get to work anymore, but you should still try to get outside at some point during the day. Without that physical separation of your work and home space, you may find them blending. Switch this up by leaving in the morning before you start work, whether it be to get coffee or walk around the block. When you come back it will feel like you’re entering your workspace for the day. You can also change your scenery or switch up your day on lunch. This article from flexjobs has ideas on how to best spend your breaks and have you feeling rejuvenated. 

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