What are some tips for people working from home for the first time? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
There are a couple things everyone could do to set themselves up for success in working from home.
First, if you can, create a space that is used only – or primarily – for work. We’ve seen several walk-in-closets and pantries turned into home offices. If you just don’t have the space for a dedicated office area, see if you can find a spot in your home that is relatively ergonomic (not your bed) and that makes it easy to focus. Once you find the spot, own it. Decorate it with things that energize and center you, whether it be pictures of family, plants or a way to play music.
Second tip: try to keep to a schedule, but not necessarily your “normal” schedule. Working from home makes the boundaries between “business” and “personal” even more fluid than they have already become. It’s easy to get out of balance when work and the rest of your life are taking place in the same space without the geographic and psychological separation of a commute.
Put in place some boundaries around when you will and won’t be working. And if you have the flexibility to do so, don’t simply mirror your in-office schedule. Working from home is a different experience. People generally spend a lot more time sitting stationary and staring at a screen when they are working from home than when they are working in the office. So it requires a different cadence. Build in breaks. Stay hydrated. Do stretches. Also, non-exempt, or hourly employees, are still entitled to breaks and rest periods – at least under most state laws – so getting up and walking away from the computer should actually be required.
A final tip for now is to reach out to your coworkers for the kind of socialization you would have gotten in the office. Especially in our current situation, isolation is a threat to morale and mental health. Take a moment at the start or end of a call to ask others how they are doing, share pictures of your pet co-workers, or discuss your coping techniques. Even if those interactions don’t seem important for you – particularly if you’re in a house full of people – they could mean a lot to a co-worker who lives alone.