10 Tips for Working from Home

Any new office setting takes some getting used to but working from home can take even more. Use these tips to help set boundaries and routines to help it go more smoothly.

  1. Keep yourself to regular work hours

  2. Separate work time and personal time

  3. Create a dedicated workspace

  4. Keep your workspace clean and organized

  5. Plan your day

  6. Schedule breaks

  7. Go outside at least once a day

  8. Socialize with fellow colleagues

  9. Start and end the day with a routine

  10. Stay positive

Keep regular work hours

Setting and sticking to regular work hours helps build a routine and makes people more productive. You will need to be available for when your boss needs you but figuring out what times of day are best spent on certain projects maps your day out and gives you a schedule to follow.  For instance, many of us check email first thing in the morning to catch up on anything we may have missed the previous evening. If you need to make phone calls, it could help to set aside certain hours for those calls. It is also a good idea to let your boss know what your schedule is, so they know when you are available.

Separate work time and personal time

Just as it is important to map out your workday, it is also important to separate personal and work time. If you constantly check your work email and respond to work related questions on your personal time, you may get burned out sooner rather than later. So just like in the office, when the day is over, disconnect from work issues and enjoy your personal time. There are issues that could arise that will need immediate attention but know how to separate an emergency from your everyday work.

Create a dedicated workspace

Most people have dedicated spaces around the house for personal time and having a dedicated space for work can help you compartmentalize work vs personal time. It will help you stay organized, and not let work time mix in with personal time. It also helps to sit in a chair rather than a couch to tell your brain it is time for work, not relaxation. It is also easier to stay organized if you sit in the same place, with all your work tools close by.

Keep your workspace clean and organized

Most offices have a janitor, but at home you are responsible for the cleaning. Having a clean and organized home office helps you stay focused and be productive. You will also be less likely to misplace objects or tasks. If this is new territory for you, you may want to think about setting up a home office cleaning schedule.

Plan your day

Planning your day is a great way to keep productivity up. Setting up a list of tasks by priority will help you know everything that has to get done in your workday. Figure out what is top priority and do that first. And while ideally you get everything done that you planned to in the day, it is also good to know which tasks are not as important and leave those for last. Make sure to plan lunch and breaks as well.

Schedule Breaks

Getting used to working from home means getting used to a new routine. But just like in the office, it is important to take breaks when needed from home. You can either do this time based, or task based – when you finish the task you scheduled, take a small break after. This kind of reward schedule will help in productivity. 

Go outside at least once a day

We realize that in WNY the weather is not always cooperative so you may have to plan accordingly. However, if you think about the average workday, you are outside at least twice getting to and from work. Getting out of the house, and getting fresh air is a great way to refocus and get tasks done. You can also try opening windows to get more fresh air in the house. Social distancing is still very much encouraged but taking a small walk on your lunch – and getting up from behind a computer will do you good.

Socialize with fellow colleagues 

Working in the office usually has built in socialization with coworkers, but this can get overlooked when working from home. Isolation, loneliness and disconnect can happen when not in the office. Video conferencing can help give a semblance of normalcy and communication. Also, often there is a disconnect in text-based chat, as social cues are no longer there. Knowing the way someone said something often gives much more meaning than just the words.

Start and end the day with a routine

Having a set routine will help you accomplish all the tasks you set for yourself. It can also save on time if you estimate how long your routines should take. Having a beginning and ending routine for every day will also help to put you in “work mode” (which can often get lost working from home). What your routine is will differ from person to person, but it can help to think about how you would start your day in the actual office and create your schedule from there.

Stay Positive

Communicating over chat can be much more difficult than in person. For instance, in chat there is no way to hear the “tone” something was said in. Being extra positive means that the chance of someone taking something the wrong way goes significantly down.

Working from home full time may take some getting used to, but there are ways to do it. Probably the biggest obstacle is to separate work time from personal time. Many of us may be still working from home well into the year – being organized and great communication are key to making the most of it. Lastly, while it absolutely can be stressful working from home, we are here to help in any way we can.

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