How to be productive when working from home
MANILA, Philippines – It seems to be the best work setup ever, working from home – no need to deal with traffic, the refrigerator is a few steps away if you get hungry, you can spend your entire day on Facebook without your manager getting all pissy, and if your back starts getting tired, your bed’s right there for a quick stretch or maybe a nap or two.
But ah, there lies the problem. Things get so chill that you end up accomplishing nothing – and you’re actually stressed and guilty because you didn’t do enough; well-rested but also vaguely exhausted. It’s a weird spot to be in.
We’ve got some tips here to help you avoid such pitfalls.
1) Carve out a space that’s especially for work
Most all kinds of work and creation require physical space. You need to find that space within your space whether that’s a cozy apartment, your family house, or a condo unit. It could be a nook in your bedroom or living room or wherever just as long as you make sure to train yourself to associate that space exclusively for work.
Just as you’d want to train yourself to associate your bed with sleep and rest, you want your home workspace to sort of get you in the zone, in that focused work mode.
Put as much space between your work space and possible distractions (the TV, the game console, etc).
2) Fill out that work space with the necessary furnishings
You know what’s great about working in the office? It’s been carefully designed and fitted to get you into that work mood – comfortable seats, the right temperature, relatively noise- and distraction-free, nice lighting, what have you.
It’s easy to take these for granted when you’re at home. You wonder why you simply can’t get some good work done, and sometimes it’s the details in your home work environment – is that chair too small for sitting long periods? It the lighting awful?
A quick list of nice-to-haves when working at home:
A nice desk. Make sure it’s the right height, too. If you’re on a laptop, it has to be a little bit high so you won’t be hunching down – bad for the neck, long term and short term. What's ideal is to have the laptop display at eye level, but to do that, you'll also need a separate keyboard and mouse, and a laptop stand.
A lamp. If the room lighting isn’t enough, get a desk lamp. Good lighting may help you focus.
A nice, large office chair. A soft and large seat with a full-sized backrest may help you work longer, and more comfortably.
Airconditioning would be nice. But it can be expensive, so if it’s too hot, and you don’t want to rack up a huge Meralco bill...just go to the office.
3) Explain to the people you live with what working from home is
It means they need to treat you as if you’re not there, and you’re actually in the office for a legitimate full shift, and cannot be bothered to buy some vinegar at the corner store – until the shift is over.
4) Actually take a bath in the morning
And get dressed. And prepare like you would as though you are going to the office. Maintaining this routine provides your mind some sort of delineation between rest/chill/personal time and serious work mode. It may sound silly, but it’s a tip you’ll find being strewn about online. Don’t always just work in your pambahay (house clothes).
5) If all else fails, get out of the house
Sometimes, the mind just needs more space away from what it considers a place for rest, sleep, and leisure. So just get out, go to a cafe, a coworking space, wherever. And if that still fails, well, wouldn’t you know it? Your office is going to welcome you with open arms. (And wouldn't you know it? We've got tips for finding the best coffice spot.)
Sometimes, you just need that energy that being in a place with other working people gives. Recharge, get some real-life face-to-face-socialization, show your boss that you’re an actual living person and not just an entity on the chat app, and work from home another day.
What’s your work-from-home trick? – Rappler.com