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How to Structure Your Day When You’re Working From Home

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  • How to Structure Your Day When You’re Working From Home

    Working from home offers plenty of benefits, including a flexible schedule and freedom, but it can also have its drawbacks. World events have caused more people to work from home, moving them abruptly from offices and boardrooms to the kitchen table. Transitioning from a traditional work environment to your home is harder than it appears as you’ll need to find a level of comfort to support productivity.

    An abrupt change in your working routine can leave you feeling stressed out and lost, especially if you’re new to the world of working remotely. However, whether you are a veteran remote worker or are learning as you go, there are steps you can take to structure your day and make working from home a successful venture.

    Stick to a morning routine

    Setting boundaries from the start of your workday is critical to developing a structured working schedule and environment. If you are used to starting your workday from the office at 9 a.m., make an effort to maintain that same start time working from home. Take time before that point to eat breakfast, walk the dog, or meditate; give you brain time to organize your thoughts, then let the end of that process “signal” to your brain that it’s time to begin work.

    Have an organized, dedicated workspace

    Working effectively means working within a space that is specifically designed for the job. While you don’t need a formal home office for remote work, you do need an organized space dedicated solely for projects and assignments. Whether it’s at a desk or in a spare room, you want your workspace to be a place that allows you to focus and avoid distractions.

    People who are new to remote work may not have a specific room or desk in their home to use as a base. In this situation, it’s best to start working in the same spot each day. Be sure the location is one where you can clear away your work or close the door at the end of the day to keep boundaries between your work and personal life.

    Establish working hours

    Use a calendar or any of the various apps available to help you establish regular work hours. Changing your working hours every day makes it challenging to set up a physical and mental rhythm. Create focused time blocks with goals to accomplish within each time frame. Share your set schedule with your boss and colleagues so they know what projects you are working on and when they can contact you if needed.

    Manage your time, focus, and tasks

    Distractions are real for remote workers. Family members can easily interrupt your workspace and it’s all too easy to go online, check the news or social media, and lose valuable working time. interruptions and undisciplined habits can significantly impact your productivity.

    Request that family members respect your job’s schedule, and if you have children, ask a partner or friend to watch them while you focus on essential tasks. For social media, messaging, and email interruptions, turn off your notifications or set a 10-minute alarm if you need a quick news fix. You can also download apps that will allow you to block certain websites when you work to keep you more on task.

    Check-in with colleagues and managers

    Many people who start working from home contend with feelings of isolation. Without the social connection with your boss and peers, you can quickly find yourself feeling out of the loop. Reach out to colleagues and managers regularly and determine the best means to stay connected.

    Does your boss prefer daily phone calls or emails to check-in? Does the company want all employees on time management or content management platforms? Find the best way to stay up to date with your coworkers and managers so you feel like a part of the action and have meaningful social contacts throughout the day.

    Remember to take breaks

    Balance is everything, especially when you are working remotely. That’s one reason why breaks are a necessity during your workday. Some people can become so engrossed in their work they forget to eat lunch or take a break. Without social cues from coworkers that it’s time for lunch or a break, you may forget to provide that balance for yourself.

    Schedule a few 15 - 30-minute breaks throughout your day, and set alarms to remind you to do so. Giving yourself time to recharge and refocus also helps you to create the right work-life balance for you. One of the top benefits of working from home is that work-life balance, so remember to take breaks to retain that balance in a healthy way.

    Stop working when the day is over

    It’s hard to leave work when work is home, but it’s also important that you stop working once your workday ends. If your work hours are getting longer because you are attempting to get more done each day, you aren’t taking a healthy approach to your job or your personal life.

    Decide on a specific time when your workday will end, and set an alarm as a reminder. Any unfinished projects should be moved over to the next day’s time block schedule. Then, shut down the computer, put your work away in an organized fashion, and enjoy the rest of your day.

    Structure equals success

    Whether you sought remote work because you wanted to work from home or if current events have placed you in this situation, you can create a work structure that allows you to establish routines at home, focus on tasks, and avoid distractions. With some trial-and-error, you can find the work-life balance that works best for you and your career.

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    • Gerhard
      #11
      Gerhard commented
      Editing a comment
      Despite its convenience, working from home also means having redundancy to avoid missing work. Back-up power and internet as well as knowing how to fix common computer issues.

    • Bjun
      #12
      Bjun commented
      Editing a comment
      What I find most helpful when working from home is to establish a routine. I divide my work day into sections and assign specific tasks per section. This helps me focus on a specific task and not feel too overwhelmed with other tasks that I have to do.

      Taking a break is also very important. Sometimes, I get too engrossed in what I'm doing I forget about the time so I've set my watch to remind me to stand up and stretch every hour.

    • Gerhard
      #13
      Gerhard commented
      Editing a comment
      Did I mention having a coffee machine or French press is an integral part of working home? Another would be soundproofing the room (if God given) or maybe finding ways to shut off the neighbors dogs, kids, and visitors too!
    Posting comments is disabled.

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