by Deanna Cabinian
As someone who’s been working from home since 2017 and who’s worked from home off and on since 2009, I’ve figured out what works best for me in terms of creating a professional environment and maximizing productivity. If you set yourself up for success working from home can be just as fulfilling and more importantly as productive (if not more so) as working in an office.
My top five tips for working from home:
- Create a dedicated workspace. If you’re lucky you have a guest room (or a “catchall room” as I call the room in our house where I work) to set up your desk and computer in. Being able to shut the door during a meeting and at the end of the day really makes it feel as if you have gone to work and the day has ended. Don’t be afraid to get creative, though. I’ve had coworkers work from walk-in closets and hallways with a window.
- Establish a routine that starts with getting up at the same time every day. You might deviate from this on some days, especially on Friday, but for the most part, having a set time of getting up helps contribute to the “I’m going to work” mindset. It also ensures you have enough time to eat breakfast and get ready. This leads to my next point which is…
- Dress like you are going to the office. Yes, you can sneak in yoga pants once in a while but in order to maintain your professional persona (and watch your waistline) it’s a good idea to put on real pants. I sometimes wear dresses or blazers when working from home and do my hair and makeup every day. It makes me feel more prepared to work. I have one colleague who wears heels during meetings. Some offices are more casual than others, but I always feel better when I dress with purpose.
- Block off time for lunch and breaks. If I didn’t block time for lunch on my calendar I would have a very difficult time squeezing a meal in. The same goes for walking breaks. I do some of my best work during a loop around the neighborhood. I usually come up with a creative solution to solve a problem I’ve been encountering or remember a project that should come onto my work to-do list.
- Buy yourself the right equipment (and expense it if you can). Order yourself a hands-free headset to take calls like this one, and make sure you have a printer and scanner for when you need to email documents with your signature to other departments or vendors. Other items I’ve found useful are a light therapy lamp for the harsh Chicago winters and essential oil diffusers like this to help create a calming environment.
If you follow the above tips you’ll be a work-from-home expert in no time.
What tips do you have for working from home?
Deanna Cabinian is the author of One Night, One Love, and One Try (aka The Thompson Series). When she isn’t writing she works as a consumer marketing director for a global media company. Find her online at www.deannacabinian.com.