With the threat of the Coronavirus, many of us have been asked to work from home.  In addition, a number of companies have requested us to postpone non-critical meetings and events until the world and the country has a better handle on the pandemic. 

While these are certainly stressful times, working from home has many benefits. For instance, you’ll save money on gas and lunch and, most importantly, your commute is all of maybe 2 seconds! However, for those who need a more structured environment, working from home can be challenging. Family members at home, friends that call or stop by on a whim, and household chores, can all be distractions from getting work done.

According to a study by the Telework Research Network, one in five Americans now work from home. Whether they are self-employed entrepreneurs running a business or telecommuting for a multinational consulting firm, some 30 million of us work from a home office at least once a week.

Technologies such as Zoom, Skype and others have made it even more convenient to work from our home offices. Companies also realize benefits from employees working remotely. For example, it’s estimated that working from home saves more than $10,000 per employee per year and results in increased productivity, reduced facility costs, lowered absenteeism and reduced turnover. Also, home-based workers often continue to work when they’re sick and can bounce back more quickly.

So how does one stay productive while working off site? Below are some simple strategies that may help.

  • Keep to a schedule—Just like when you are in your work office, establishing a daily routine will help you stay on track and limit your ability to get sidetracked.  Try to stay off social media as it can be time consuming. Also, schedule time at the end of the day to clear your desk and plan for the next day.
  • Don’t work in your PJs—Getting dressed can help put you in the right frame of mind for work. So, make sure you get dressed. You don’t have to put on makeup, but at least comb your hair!
  • Eliminate distractions—When I started working from home, I set up my office upstairs near our bedrooms. The problem was the laundry room is on the second floor too, and I found myself getting involved in washing and folding clothes, as well as other household chores. A few years later, I moved my office downstairs and it was the best thing I could have ever done. Also, by relocating my office, I could more easily separate work time from personal time.
  • Set personal boundaries—It’s important to set boundaries when it comes to family and friends. Be sure to let them know that you are busy, and they can’t just drop by or call whenever they want.
  • Exercise or take a walk outside— I recently had blood work done and discovered that my Vitamin D was deficient. When I asked the doctor “why?” she told me that I needed more sunlight. Her prescription—get out at least once during daylight hours. I admit, there are many times when I’m at my desk from sunup to sundown and never make it outside.

Were these tips helpful? Let me know if you have any comments or other suggestions for a productive workspace at home. Leave them in the comments below.