Many of us are lucky enough to have jobs where we’re now working from home/teleworking/remote/whatever term you like to use. For a lot of people, doing this full-time is a new experience. While we may have the opportunity or need to do this occasionally, doing it on a full-time basis can be really disorienting, especially if you have children who are now home from school or daycare, as well. I’ve been working from home now for a while, so I thought it might be helpful for me to share a few things that have worked for me in making this transition.

  1. Create a schedule (and stick to it). This is my number one recommendation for successfully working from home, and it honestly takes some time and practice to develop. Experiment with different formats to find what works best for you. Maybe you prefer to workout in the morning, maybe it works better for you to do it at lunch. Maybe you need to start work earlier than usual because you’re splitting child care time with your spouse. Check in with yourself at the end of each day and think through what worked well and what didn’t. Give yourself some grace while you’re finding your way – every day will not be as productive as you want it to be, and that’s ok.
  2. Have a designated work space that’s different from your leisure space. If you can, which I know is tricky depending on where you live, try to have a designated work space that is different from your leisure space. If you’re working in a space that you generally use for leisure time, it sends the wrong signal to your brain. Ideally, your work space is also one you can walk away from at the end of the day. When it’s time to stop working, you want to be able to turn off your computer and physically walk away from your work so you can completely disconnect. It’s easy to fall into a routine of working late when you’re working at home because you lose the distinct action of leaving the office. Try to simulate that as best you can at home, because now more than ever it’s important to give yourself time to recharge.
  3. Set boundaries for work and personal time. Building off of the previous point, this will help with balance and it will also help with those folks who don’t always understand what it means to be working from home (Hi, Mom!). For most of us, working from home doesn’t mean you’re available all hours of the day, so be sure you’re signing off around the time you usually would if you were in the office (obviously depending on your work needs). It also doesn’t mean that you’re available at any time for your friends or family who want to, say, take the day and go shopping. Set some boundaries and don’t be afraid to gently enforce them.
  4. Keep getting face time with your co-workers. Working from home can feel isolating. While at one point you were constantly surrounded by colleagues to engage with, your only colleague now may be your roommate/significant other/pet. Try to use video meetings when you can and take a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting for a quick catch-up. Schedule video “coffee chats” with colleagues to stay connected and engaged. Remember, #alonetogether.
  5. Don’t forget to move! When I was working full-time in an office, I moved a decent amount between getting coffee, going to meetings, getting lunch, etc. At home, I initially found I was moving less because there wasn’t anywhere I really needed to go. Now, I keep an eye on the clock and try to take a ~5 minute movement break every hour. Even if it’s just standing in front of my desk and stretching for a minute, it makes a big difference for me in staying focused. With the weather warming up, maybe try adding a walk around the block to your lunch break.