COVID-19 has swept the world, and many are adapting to “the new normal” in different facets of their lives. As most people are forced to stay at home, a number of businesses and organizations have declared bankruptcy and closed down, causing unemployment levels to tragically skyrocket. Meanwhile, those that remained open for business are encouraged to let their employees work from home. 

Working from home is a convenience that many companies are only now discovering. But while this kind of work setup seems practical, it does not come without a cost.

Yes, a home-based work setup seems like a dream come true. Your couch (or bed) is your office chair, walking the hallway is equivalent to your daily commute, your kitchen pantry is yours alone.

Working remotely, however, doesn’t offer some of the perks of working in a physical office.

In a work-from-home environment, there’s an inevitable lack of communication as well as a sense of community. There are also tons of distractions and difficulties in maintaining accountability. This, therefore, results in stress from both sides: the employer and the employee.

If you’re new to the home-based work lifestyle, welcome! Without a doubt, it takes getting used to. But with time, along with these five tips, you’ll surely realize that there are a plethora of benefits of working from home.

Start and End Your Day with a Routine

One of the best ways to separate your work from your home is to engage in a morning routine and an end-of-day routine. Getting out of a cold shower, putting on comfortable work clothes, and walking outside for a few minutes, for instance, can signal that you’re about to start work. On the other hand, chatting with your coworkers and shutting down your laptop can tell your brain, “Hey, it’s time to chill.”

Your routines serve as your mental signals. Creating a work environment entails not only redesigning your office space at home but also learning to compartmentalize your thoughts.

Stick to Your Schedule

If you ask me or any other person who has worked from home long before the outbreak, a common issue that a lot of remote employees face is working overtime. This isn’t to make up for the lost productivity. But when you do get used to working in the comfort of your home, you might forget to maintain your work-life balance.

You have to stick to your schedule, which is easier said than done, to say the least. Creating a personal time tracking system can help you avoid overworking. Another helpful tip is to plan out your leisure time. Whether you plan to commit your off-work hours to a hobby or a new Netflix series, you have something to look forward to at the end of each workday.

Designate a Separate Office Space

Having a separate office space in your home is perhaps one of the most important factors in remote work. Your workspace doesn’t have to be a room. You can simply set up an office desk in one corner of your living room, and dedicate that space to work-related tasks only.

Assigning a certain space to work can put an invisible barrier between your job and your personal time. And when you do decide to set up your home office space, make sure that you can comfortably work by using ergonomically designed office furniture. Investing in this kind of furniture can prevent physical and mental stress—all while helping you work with the utmost comfort and productivity.

Communicate, Then Communicate Again

Some say that working from home requires the ability to finish your tasks independently. While there’s nothing erroneous about this statement, many remote workers forget to communicate with the team.

Introverts might like this kind of independent work environment, but even the shiest of introverts need a kind of professional or even personal connection during work hours. Communication is key to the productive collaboration and growth of a team. Communication can also help you remove workplace barriers, open up about issues, and in turn, be more comfortable with working remotely.

Be Kind to Yourself

As was mentioned, stress and overworking are similar issues that many remote employees encounter. Apart from this, you might get distracted, scroll through your social media feed during work hours, and hate yourself for it.

So say this with me: “Give yourself a break and cut yourself some slack.”

Take breaks as needed and get some fresh air. Take sick days when you need to. Go on vacation and get out of your house from time to time. 

Don’t feel guilty. In a home-based work environment, you have to learn how to be kind to and be patient with yourself. Learn to love the perks of working from home—you might miss them when they’re gone!