Every year, as summer comes to a close, we start hearing about back to school advice. It’s a chance to reflect, refresh and set new goals for the coming months.
However, 2020 has turned our traditional “back to school” process on its head. With manybusinesses and schools continuing to operate remotely, it’s now imperative to have a strategy around your home workspace.
In the spirit of going back to school and starting anew—with a clean desk, so to speak—these are five tips to stay organized and effective while working from home.
1. Respect Your Home Office
Treat your home office environment the same way you would treat your physical office space. If you’re the type of person who has a lot of papers or notebooks scattered all over your office desk, don’t let them end up around the house. Keep everything as organized as possible.
This might mean making sure your file cabinets are separated for business and personal use. Some of our Associates follow a “no paperwork at out at the end of the day” rule, ensuring everything is filed away when they finish the work.
2. Minimize Distractions
It’s tricky to be productive when you’re constantly interrupted. If you’re working from a private space at home with adoor you can close, a simple do not disturb sign might do the trick. If you’re working in a shared living space, like a dining room table, talk about the importance of workday boundaries family or roommates. Set expectations for appropriate noise levels in shared living spaces.
If you have children, eliminating distractions is easier said than done. However, you can treat their school workspaces the same way as you treat your office space. Ensure they have a nice, clean place dedicated to learning and studying that’s separate for play spaces.
3. Stick to a Routine
Even though you don’t have a commute to the workplace, you still don’t want to be scrambling to your home office. If you usuallywould be at your office desk by 8:00am each day, keep up that routine at home.
Get up, have coffee, make breakfast, then sit down and treat your day just like you are at the office. Standardizing your start time also means coworkers won’t be guessing if you’re available or not. Knowing you’re availableat 8:00am each day, for example, helps their productivity, too.
4. Shut the Computer Down
When working from home, the lines between our personal and professional worldscan blur. This is especially true now as we try to observe social distancing guidance and forgo our typical post-work plans. With no set end to the workday and more tasks on the to-do list, it’s easy just to keep working away. Unfortunately, more hours on a project do not always equate with more productive hours.
Look at the clock and ask: “What has to get done today? What can wait until tomorrow?” Then, when you’ve finished today’s priorities, shut the computer off. Make a to-do list for the morning, clean your desk and step away for the evening.
5. Find Your Creative Outlet
The quality of our non-work time matters, too. It’s worth trying new habits or spending more time on those things you always used to push off. You may find your creative outlet is reading books, journaling, or listening to podcasts on an evening walk. This time away from your desk is important because it gives you space to process the day’s events and mentally reset for tomorrow. When you’re back in the morning, you’re fresh, energized and ready for what’s next with a clean desk.