Life amid crisis: 7 ways to make working from home work for you

Written by

Briana Hall


October 19, 2020

Working from home can be a haven of quiet productivity or a sure-fire way to fall behind.

COVID-19 and the onset of quarantine meant that many had to create that haven quickly or scramble to keep up. And even with more than six months into this new life, some still struggle with finding their work-from-home groove.

In fact, Thrive Global reports that more than 80% of American employees surveyed feel unusually distracted at home. Another 54% of them feel that these distractions have been keeping them from meeting their full potential at work.

Do those stats speak to your soul? Try these tips to make working from home work for you:

  1. Establish boundaries. Communicate openly with your family members or roommates about your needs. This may mean shutting your office door (and asking them to do the same) or establishing “do not disturb” hours.
  2. Create a dedicated workspace. Working from your kitchen table or the couch may not put your brain in ‘work mode.’ If you have room for it, invest in a desk, and create a space that will help you thrive.
  3. Get dressed. Although you’re not physically going into an office, you’re still at work. Get dressed, wash your face, and have breakfast or coffee. Keeping a routine helps your brain separate working from home from just being at home.
  4. Plan your day. Spend some time each morning distinguishing between what tasks must be done and what can wait. Experts recommend focusing only on your top three to-dos and blocking time in your schedule specifically to work on each task. Don’t forget to schedule in breaks throughout the day. Try taking five minutes every few hours to stretch and step outside for fresh air.
  5. Marie Kondo your space. If your at-home workspace doesn’t spark joy, then tidy up! Invest in desk organizers like paper trays and pen holders to keep your area clean. If you snack at your desk, be sure to take dirty dishes to the sink throughout the day.
  6. Step away from the phone. While a quick social media scroll may be a nice break from the day, responding to your phone’s every bell and whistle will suck time from your day. Use ScreenTime or similar apps to avoid notification overload and save social media check-ins for break time.
  7. Stay connected. Working from home doesn’t mean you have to lose contact with your team. Make time to check in throughout the week – perhaps with a quick email, IM, or Zoom lunch date.

The year has been rough for everyone. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling – both personally and professionally. We’re all in this together!