Today, more people than ever are working from home, whether full-time or part-time. According to a Gallup poll, almost half of full-time workers, 45 percent, now work remotely at least some of the time. If you find yourself telecommuting more often but miss working in an office outside the home, there are ways to make your workdays more productive and enjoyable.
Create your space
Separating your work life from your home life can improve your work-from-home situation. If you don’t have your own home-office space, create one where you can work productively. Seek out an area with good lighting and a strong Wi-Fi connection that is removed from your home’s main living spaces for fewer distractions. If your residence has a guest room, consider converting it into a home office. You might even be able to save on your taxes if you use the room exclusively for your workspace. If you have a little-used area in your home, such as a dining room or an upstairs hallway, you could convert one of those into your workspace. Otherwise, you could put a desk in a quiet corner of your home or remodel a closet into a mini office.
Your comfort is key to your happiness and productivity. It might be helpful to get a new desk and a supportive office chair that can be adjusted for your height. Without a suitable desk and chair, you could develop painful carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive keyboard work or strain your eyes and neck while working on your computer. You could consider buying a desk that goes up or down at the touch of a button so you can sit or stand while working; more advanced versions can remember your preferred sitting and standing heights. In addition, many office chairs can be raised and lowered, and some come with additional lumbar support and armrests that can flip up or down. If you’d like to make your current office chair more supportive, consider purchasing a lumbar-support pillow for it. Adjusting the height of your computer monitor with a laptop stand or monitor arm could reduce eye strain. Raising your monitor might also give you additional desk space.
Optimize your surroundings
One plus to working from home is that you can customize your workspace. For example, you can use noise-canceling headphones or a white-noise machine to block out distracting sounds. Other technology, such as smart-home lights and plugs, can help you automate the lighting in your office. If you prefer a professional atmosphere, equip your space with an executive chair and your framed diplomas and professional awards. If you crave a peaceful working environment, add plants, a diffuser with your favorite scent, soothing decor, or music to achieve your preferred ambience.
Clutter can hinder your work-from-home enthusiasm, and you might be able to think better in a clear space. So declutter your workspace with the help of organizational tools such as a filing cabinet, a bookcase with storage bins, or desktop organizers. If removing the excess items from your office area is too much of a chore, work on them for just ten minutes at a time. Alternatively, you can pack your stuff up, stack it in boxes against a wall, and deal with it one container at a time.
Tweak your routine
Your schedule might be more flexible now that you work remotely. If that’s the case, try to modify your daily regimen for maximum happiness and productivity. Find a pleasant way to start your day, whether with a cup of coffee or a bowl of fruit and cereal. Set alarms and reminders for when to begin your workday, break for lunch, and sign off. You can schedule these on your computer, on your mobile phone, or with the aid of a smart-home assistant. Spend the time you’ve gained from not commuting and do something you enjoy, such as having breakfast with a friend, listening to a podcast, or doing yoga.
If you miss the social interactions you had at the office, look for ways to reach out to others while telecommuting. You can communicate with coworkers via texts, phone calls, or chats, and if there are work-related social activities, take advantage of them if possible. Stay in touch with your friends as well. You could connect in person or via video chats, and if you discover a local friend or neighbor who’s also working remotely, try to schedule lunchtime get-togethers or perhaps meet up for a stroll in town or around the block.
Get out there
If you’ve been a remote employee for a while, you might find that you move less frequently and get less vitamin D since you don’t need to leave your home for work. Make it a point to go outside. You can utilize an activity tracker, such as an Apple watch, a Garmin device, or a Fitbit to track your steps and determine how much exercise you get.
You might discover that only a few simple changes to your at-home setup and routine are what you need to truly enjoy being a work-from-home team member.