written by: Megan Eggers, Marketing Coordinator, MD Logistics
With a decent amount of the workforce looking at working remotely out of their homes for the foreseeable future, the task of developing a new routine can be stressful. While it can be daunting to create a productive work environment within a space in which you both live and spend time with your family, it can be done. Here are some tips and tricks to ease your transition from a traditional office setting to your home office without sacrificing on productivity.
Anytime you make a transition there are a variety of challenges that arise when navigating your new normal. Making the transition to work from home is certainly no exception. I personally have made the transition from a traditional office setting to my own home office, when a personal move across state lines made my commute to the MD Logistics corporate office, impossible. Through a decent amount of trial and error, I have been able to develop a strategy that personally works for me and my situation. You can use these tips as parameters to help you set up a strategy that works for your ‘new normal’.
While there are certainly challenges with any new situation, there are a whole list of tips and tricks to help ease your transition and make your remote work situation a productive success. Use the below as a framework to develop a strategy that works for you, within your space and addresses your needs.
Develop Designated Work Times
Perhaps the largest mental workaround with any remote work situation, is getting in the mindset when it’s ‘work time’. Normally, this would happen during your commute to and from the office each day, but when your commute is reduced to a trip across the hall to your home office it’s a little harder to get in this mindset. I’ve found that by setting specific work hours and taking a specified lunch break at the same time every day, helps keep me focused and productive for the entire work day.
Dedicated Office Space
If you are someone who craves consistency, set up a dedicated office space somewhere in your home. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a dedicated home office already, but if not this can be in the form of a spare bedroom, a finished space in your basement, or even your kitchen island/table. Where ever this place is for you, make sure it is someplace that allows you to be comfortable, but still productive.
It can be easy to get distracted and think about your running, personal ‘to do’ list and when you work from home, it can be particularly easy to act on it as well. It’s better to just limit all personal to-do list items to after-hours so you are as focused on your work as can possible be. Distractions can come in many different forms for different people. Know and understand what might cause you to easily be distracted and limit your exposure to them during working hours.
Luckily, we all live in an age where most of us have an easy access to technology. For a lot of people, going from a noisier office to a quiet home office, the silence can be deafening. Get creative with how you create your own background noise. Stream your favorite podcast or musical artist, keep the TV on low in the background, or use a white noise app on your smartphone. Increased isolation also means decreased human contact, make it a point to utilize a streaming service like FaceTime, Zoom or Skype to connect with coworkers, virtually. This allows you to keep your spirits up and maintain somewhat of a level of normalcy, all while conducting business as usual.
Plan the Night Before
One of the easiest ways I have found to stay on task myself is to plan the tasks I hope to accomplish the next day, the night before. I let this be the last thing that I do before shutting down my computer for the day, that way I can hit the ground running first thing in the morning. Understanding that this ‘to-do’ list solely serves as a framework for your day as there are typically other responsibilities that arise, it can help you stay on task and productive.
In any work from home situation, it’s important to find what works for you, your personality and your unique situation. We all are different in what motivates us, so a work from home situation is not a one size fits all solution. You might find that working remotely might not be for you, long term, but in the short-term there are a few different strategies you can implement to help make the transition as seamless as possible. In the 2 years that I have worked remotely, I’ve found some tips and tricks that have worked for me in developing a winning remote work situation and have the opportunity to provide a foundation for a winning strategy of your own!