COVID-19 may not affect your work life if you’re used to telecommuting, but many Americans are now working from home for the first time. While this might sound more convenient, managing your personal and work lives in the same place can be surprisingly complicated.
This article will cover a few of the most effective ways to maximize your productivity while working from home. Telecommuting is growing more prevalent every year, so these skills are becoming increasingly relevant in a variety of industries.
Create Physical Boundaries
If you’ve never worked from home for an extended period of time, you may not have an office set up. While working on the couch or at the kitchen table in your favorite loungewear pieces might work for a few days, having a separate place to work is vital for staying productive at home.
You don’t have to spend the entire workday in the same place—there’s nothing wrong with moving around your home throughout the day. That said, a separate area will help you stay on track when working on high-impact projects or coming up on a deadline.
Avoiding distractions is especially helpful given that businesses are running more video meetings than ever. You should project the same professionalism at home that you would expect in a conventional office environment.
Develop a Schedule
Working from home gives you more flexibility when it comes to setting your own hours, but that can make it difficult to keep work separate from your personal life. Instead of working whenever it’s convenient, try to set a schedule that you can stick to every day.
From there, you can start the workday by deciding how you want to use that time. Make a list of your priorities every morning and estimate how long each one will take. Start with the most time-sensitive tasks before moving on to less urgent responsibilities.
If you’re responsible for managing other employees, make sure to stay in touch in order to set deadlines and monitor their progress. Set regular meeting times rather than expecting them to update you on their own. Clear expectations are even more important when your team is working remotely.
Don’t Let Work Take Over Your Life
Working from home often leads to meetings and projects cutting into the rest of the day. Just as telecommuters need to keep their personal lives separate from work, it’s crucial to set boundaries and maintain a healthy distance from your work.
For example, you might want to send a few emails after dinner or take a work call while spending time with your family. If your employer expects you to be available throughout the day, don’t be afraid to let them know what you need. Similarly, you shouldn’t require employees to be “at work” outside of their typical work hours.
Working from home comes with both pros and cons, but you can make things easier by maintaining a routine and keeping your personal life separate. These are just a few of the simplest ways to improve your work-life balance while telecommuting.