Many Americans are working from home on a consistent basis for the first time in their entire career. They’re quickly learning how to work in a new environment, figuring out how to adequately set up their equipment and maybe even navigating how to balance work and children at the same time.
Although it may take some time to get into a routine that mimics what you did in the office, check out these 10 working from home tips to help make yourself a little more comfortable and maintain productivity.
10 tips for working from home:
1. Keep your legs, feet and back supported.
Use a chair that has seat cushioning and a backrest to support your back. If you need more lower back support, use a small pillow or a rolled towel. If your feet are not flat on the floor when sitting, find a box or something to use as a footrest.
If you can stand in a home office, wear supportive and cushioned shoes.
2. Make sure your head is upright and looking forward.
If you have access to other tools than just a laptop, like a mouse, keyboard and desktop, use them. If you only have a laptop, place it at arm’s length and raise the top of the screen to eye level by using books or sturdy boxes.
If you are using multiple screens, center them in front of you with the one used most often directly in your line of vision.
If you often use a phone, use a headset or the speaker functionality when possible.
3. Keep moving.
In the office, you probably take a few steps each time you use the restroom, meet with a coworker or print a document. Find ways to move in your home office and take a few breaks for some fresh air or a walk around the block if able.
You could even set a timer to help you remember to move frequently (every 30 minutes for two to three minutes). At lunch time, avoid eating at your workstation. Taking a break from your work set up will not only be good for your body but also your brain.
4. Stick with your routine.
Just because you're not commuting and going into an office doesn't mean you should skip your weekday morning preparations.
Wake up at your normal time, shower and get dressed in real clothes (not pajamas!). It may sound trivial, but this helps you mentally prepare for the day ahead and get into the "I'm going to work" mindset.
5. Create a designated workspace.
Although it's tempting to stay in bed or head to your sofa, you're best off setting up a dedicated work station. If you don't have a desk, use your dining room table.
Besides making you feel like you're at an "office," this helps you maintain good posture, avoid distractions and leave your work behind at the end of the day.
6. Exercise after work hours.
If you've gained extra time by not commuting, it's a good opportunity to get in extra exercise, either by working out at home or going for a walk outside. A lunchtime walk can also help you feel like you're not stuck inside all day.
7. Get some fresh air.
If possible, open your windows to let in as much natural daylight and fresh air as possible.
8. Stay connected with your colleagues.
Check in regularly just like you would in the office. Pick up the phone and have a real conversation. Your coworkers are missing you just as much as you’re missing them!
9. Fight the urge to multitask.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a little break, but don’t let chores distract you from being productive. You wouldn’t be doing them if you were in the office, so don’t do them at home.
10. Prepare for disruptions.
If you have children or other members of your household are also working from home, it can be distracting. Plan ahead but be willing to be flexible.
Looking for more productivity advice?
From keeping a planner to maintaining a clean work environment, check out these eight additional tips for being productive while on the job.