According to Global Workplace Analytics, approximately 25-30% of workers in the US may be working from home by the end of 2021.
If you’ve had to transition to working from home, you may struggle to feel productive—even if you have fewer interruptions now than you had at the office. The struggle is particularly real for parents with kids at home.
Here are some tips for staying productive and focused while working from home.
1. Pick a Designated Workspace
If you have a separate room that you can use as a workspace, great. Not everyone has the luxury of a designated home office or room that can be easily converted to an office, however.
If you don’t have a designated home office, you can still set aside space that’s just for work. Having a specific workspace—even if it’s just a corner of your couch or the kitchen table—can help you stay focused on work.
Try to stay away from areas with non-work distractions—like your bed or the television.
2. Make Sure Your Family Respects Your Space
If you have young children at home, this may be extremely difficult—especially if you don’t have a partner who can help you with childcare. Your mileage may vary on this one.
But if you have family members at home who constantly distract you (assuming they aren’t small children and can look after themselves during the course of a normal day), set boundaries.
This may mean working in a room with a door that closes, making sure everyone knows not to talk to you while your headphones are on, or having a serious talk with everyone about when it is and isn’t okay to interrupt you while at work.
3. Work Some Movement Into Your Day
Whether it’s setting an alarm every hour to get up and stretch, taking formal yoga breaks during your lunch period, or walking around the block a couple times a day—it’s important to build movement into your work day.
Sitting all day on your couch or at the kitchen table may be harder on your body than sitting in an ergonomic chair at your office. It’s important to move around periodically to make sure you aren’t stressing your body out by spending eight hours a day in a position with bad posture.
Also, brief breaks for movement can help you restore your focus and sense of clarity.
4. Incorporate Music
You may have limits to how often you can use your headphones at your office, especially if you work in an open-plan office.
But now that you work from home, you can wear headphones all day, listen to music that helps you maintain your focus—and block out noise and conversation from other people in the house.
Wearing headphones can also send a signal to others in your house that you’re concentrating right now and shouldn’t be interrupted.
If you haven’t worked from home before, the transition can be disorienting. But there are lots of ways to manage your work-from-home environment and stay productive. Give these strategies a try, and hopefully you can stay productive while working from home.