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Permanently Working From Home? Now What?

The working world as we know it has changed drastically since the rise of COVID-19. Many employees were forced to abandon their office space to work in a space of their own. For some, the switch was mandatory, while for others it was more of a safety precaution due to health concerns. Now that more people are getting vaccinated, more seem to be returning to their office. However, for every person that is heading back to the office, there are still some that seem to be happy working from home.

There is no doubt that working from home has its pros and cons, but how can you make the most of what is becoming the future of our workforce? Use these tips if you find yourself permanently working remotely.

Build a Private Space

One of the most important features of working remotely is developing a space in which you can focus on work-related activities. Create a home office that can provide peace and quiet along with the resources that will propel you to succeed. Consider setting aside a desk, a chair, and other tools that will allow you to work as efficiently as possible. Outside factors such as kids, pets, and other distractions can interfere with your production.

If your property lacks a dedicated area to accomplish your tasks, adding or renovating your space can be beneficial. This way you can create a space of your own away from any potential distractions, leading to increased productivity. If you’re having trouble funding this project, consider using a home equity loan to fund your home office addition. In many cases, it makes a lot of sense to borrow money against your home to put dollars back into it. These specific additions can increase your home’s value, thus creating more equity over time. Adding a new space can yield opportunities to entirely reorganize your space. If you’re building off an already existing room, this gives you the chance to add what you thought was missing in the first place.

Stay as Organized as Possible

An essential aspect of permanently working at home is to limit built up clutter as much as possible. Notebooks, pens, and other items can tend to be scattered if not organized enough, which can cause chaos to some degree. Use your new office space to your advantage; take the time to organize any paperwork or folders you have laying around. Some employees designate certain spots for specific projects so they can clearly identify and carry out specific tasks efficiently and on time.

Some tips include utilizing a filing drawer and placing important documents in areas of easy access. Try color coding certain papers, folders and label specific projects where you will be able to easily access them. Experiment with a whiteboard or message board to clearly establish what things go where. This board can also be used to clearly lay out what you are supposed to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. A practice that will undoubtedly increase your desk organization skills is routinely clearing your desk of anything that is not necessary to your workflow. This will consistently rid your work area of unnecessary clutter.

Develop a Consistent Schedule

The remote working process has created less structure in the lives of employees everywhere. This change can directly affect your daily schedule, which creates stress if you are to stray away from your typical itinerary. Create a new schedule – one that you can consistently follow despite your new working circumstances.

Instead of getting in your car and driving to the office, you have to consider how long you’ll need in the morning to get ready to work from your designated in-home workspace. For many, the remote switch will give them the chance to have a bit more leverage in the morning. Once you establish a morning routine, you should also block out time for designated tasks throughout the day, which includes time for short breaks or any meetings.

If you don’t already use Google calendar, incorporate this tool into your daily routine to block out time that is associated with work-related tasks. This feature can also be used for everyday tasks that are not associated with work, such as picking up kids or even creating time for a lunch break.

Create New Rules of the House

A new schedule means creating a new set of ground rules in your home. Because a lot of what you experienced in the office is now virtual, there will be an array of remote meetings where you will have to dedicate an hour or two for peace. There is underlying stress when it comes to confidentiality and ability to focus while working in a space that is surrounded by unpredictable distractions.

If you have kids, clearly establish your scheduled time for meetings and/or collaborations. Share with them when you need privacy. For example, if you have children who are learning at home or who come home from school while you’re working, they need clear boundaries about what they can and cannot do during that time.

If you share a space with another adult who’s working from home, you may have to negotiate quiet times, meeting times, and any shared equipment. It might even be helpful to try a wall calendar in which you can clearly record when someone has a meeting or project going on that requires they utilize the space alone.

Take Appropriately Timed Breaks

Remote workers often underestimate the significance of taking breaks throughout the day. Your body needs movement, and the fresh air and natural light will do your mind and body wonders on a particularly stressful day inside. Ideally, stepping outside for at least a short period of time before, during, and after your working hours will help prevent burnout.

Understandably, there is constant pressure to work as hard as you can, but that requires doing your brain a favor and taking a few minutes to rest from time to time.

There is a fine line between being productive and running yourself into the ground. It’s critical to realize when it’s the right time to take a break. If you’re in the middle of developing a project or collaborating with a colleague, it’s probably not the best time for a break, as it may interfere with your progress. If you are blessed with some down time, use that time to go for a walk or even water your garden. Consider downloading an application on your computer to space out time blocks for breaks to relax your mind, body, and improve your overall well-being.

Working permanently from home can be a double-edged sword. Some thrive in an environment that is most familiar to them while for others, it can present obstacles for their work-life balance. Consider some of these tips to reach your maximum productivity and motivation while enhancing focus from the comfort of your at-home workspace.

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