A lot of us are settling in to the idea that we might not be back to the office as soon as we first thought. Suddenly the need to make your at-home work life easier, better functioning, and more productive is at the front of everyone's mind. So how do you balance work with home? How do you keep to a schedule, and yet, allow yourself necessary breaks? Here are five tips to help you better work from home.

  1. Get dressed. Clothes make the wo/man, am I right? We carry ourselves very differently when dressed in a business suit and tie as opposed to pajamas and slippers. If you want to get in a work mindset, dress for it. Not only will you look professional when on your Zoom meeting, it will help you separate work life from home life.
  2. Stick to your routine. What is the first thing you do when you get to the office? Do you make a cup of coffee? Do you check in with your coworker around the water cooler? Do you check your email right away and make a list of tasks to tackle before noon? Try to make your at home work routine as similar to your office routine as possible.
  3. Create a dedicated work space. This can be hard for some people who already find the rooms of their house playing double duty, but working from the dining table or plopped down on the couch can lead to distractions. Carve out a nook with everything you need to work (laptop, cell phone, paper, pens, calendar, etc) all in one area so you can focus on work and don't waste time searching for what you need.
  4. Take breaks. Just like swinging by the break room, or chatting about Season 3 of Outlander with your coworker in the hallway, you need to take some breaks from work every now and again to refresh. Even if you are isolating alone, getting out and going for a walk on your "lunch break" will help you stay focused and productive.
  5. Remember your coworkers are in the same situation you are. Working from home doesn't allow us that quick pop in to Denae's office to see if she got that email you sent. When deadlines are close and stress is high, remember that your coworkers are dealing with their own limitations from their work-at-home environments. Be patient with the time it takes them to get back to you. If necessary, shoot a polite text in place of the office "pop in."

There you have it. Five ways to make working from home a bit more stress free.