When the news of COVID-19 broke out, things changed quickly for so many. Students from kindergarten to college were sent home and professionals were required to work from their houses. Creating a productive work environment can be challenging when moving from a classroom or office space to the kitchen table, but there are some strategies that can help make the change easier for everyone.
Here are some strategies that have worked for me.
Get Out of Bed
It can be tempting to sit in bed all day, wear your pajamas, and work from the comfort of your bedroom. But how often are we really productive like this? Having a productive work from home space starts here.
Get up, get dressed, make your coffee, and start your day as if you were going to be in the office or in class. This will help get you in a productive mindset and prepare you for your day of working from home.
Create a Clean and Comfortable Desk Space
Whether the kitchen table or a private desk, the way you set up a space can make an impact. Different strategies work for different people, but here are some general tips to get you started.
1) Find natural light. Find a place in the house with a window and start your set up there. Not only will the light keep you more awake throughout the day, but it offers a breath of fresh air when walls can seem to close in on you.
2) Find a quiet space. You can still play your own music or listen to a podcast, but try to avoid cluttered places in your home, like the family room, where other people will be hanging out or where the TV will be on all day. Keep the TV off if you are working in a room with one. Being in a quiet room will help keep you focused and avoid distractions.
3) Clean your space and your desk. Once you have found a bright and quiet space, make sure it is clean. Pick up any clutter and get rid of items that are unrelated to work. If you’re working from a kitchen counter or table, try to clear the space as much as possible of unwanted things. Keep some plants or pictures nearby for decoration to make your space feel welcoming and cozy.
Work a Regular Day (if you can)
While some people may not be able to work a regular 9-5 day with kids running around or different family environments stopping you from your traditional schedule, attempt it if you can. This will help you avoid the temptation of working all day and night and will keep you focused and productive.
Keep a Detailed Organizer or Planner
It can be hard to keep track of all the online school assignments or work tasks happening right now when you don’t have to physically show up to classes or the office. Keep an organizer or planner at your desk space with details of the tasks you need to accomplish each day. Be diligent about adding things in as they come up. Cross them off as you complete them to feel even more productive. Check your planner first thing when you start your work day and right before you sign off for the evening.
Take Productive Breaks
It is important to take regular breaks throughout your day. Leave your desk space completely to avoid feeling crammed and bored. Leave the house for a walk outside and do some stretches. Refresh your coffee cup or take a break to make a meal. Try to stay off your phone and don’t turn on the TV. They can be hard to turn off sometimes and will make it more difficult to get back to work.
Have a work from home space you want to show off or looking for ideas on how to spruce up your new work from home space? Follow along with our #myWFHspace Instagram Stories where we’re posting your work from home spaces. And don’t forget to tag us in your photo, today!
Looking for more tips about being productive while working from home? Check out some of the resources we have on this topic and more:
- How to Work Effectively from Home webinar on Facebook Live.
- The NeW Working from Home Pinterest Board.
This blog was written by Haley Supergan, NeW spring 2020 intern.