Here’s what you need to do to stay productive while working at home:

Companies all over the world have implemented mandatory work-from-home policies due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This could come as a unique challenge for those working from home for the first time and even those that have worked from home before. The sudden change might make adjusting to a home office more difficult. Whether it’s that daunting pile of dirty dishes that looks more appealing than your to-do list or the desire to binge Tiger King on Netflix, staying productive and focused at home takes extra effort.

So, first thing’s first. Let’s start by putting on some pants, pouring a cup of coffee and sitting up straight in a comfortable chair. How else can you stay focused on while working remotely? Here are 7 tips that will help make sure you’re successful while working remotely.

1. Choose a dedicated workspace

Choosing a workspace is a determining factor for productivity. Dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to set up your workspace. Rather than staying cooped up on the couch or your bed, find a desk or table in another room that is not associated with “leisure time”.  Also, think about moving to a quiet place so background noise is not a distraction.

2. Take breaks

It’s easy to get caught up in all your work that you forget to take breaks.  Do not let the “remote work guilt” prevent you from taking 5-10 minutes to step away and relax. Rather than opening Facebook or checking your personal email, go for a walk outside or catch up with others who might also be in the house. This will break up the day and make it feel more manageable.

3.  Stay motivated with a to-do list

Creating a to-do list can be beneficial for helping to stay organized, motivated and productive. It’s important to commit to an agenda that outlines the tasks needed to be complete that day. When creating the list, write down your long-term and short-term goals. Prioritize your projects and check off tasks as you complete them. This will help give you positive reinforcement throughout the day. Even if you come up short of items on your list, you’ll still come out of that day with a list of tasks that were completed. At the end of the day, you can also prepare your to-list as a head start for the next workday.

4. Invest in quality, fast-performing technology

A functional home workspace requires quality technology. Other people in your household using FaceTime or other streaming services may slow your connection and download speeds. Investing in a high-performance router that can keep up will help save you from many technological hassles. An old router is prone to network issues. Save yourself the frustration and invest in a new router.

One of our Smart Lifebites editors invested in a Eero system a few years ago. It works like a booster, but it’s a stand alone router and WiFi coverage extender. She says it changed their lives!

5. Change out of your PJs

This is probably one of the biggest reasons why people love working from home. However, working in your pajamas is almost like working from your bed. It seems like a fabulous idea at first, but your brain will still be in “bedtime mode” and start to fuzz out during the workday. Instead, dress in clothes that are still comfortable, but will not deter your mind. Research suggests that getting dressed for work helps increase productivity.

6. Exercise and stretch regularly

When working from home, you may end up sitting at your workstation all day. It’s important to exercise and stretch your joints and muscles every now and then to prevent cramps, aches, and pain later. If you can’t get outside for a walk, here are some exercises you can do right at your desk. For after work or on your lunch break, here is a quick 10-minute foam rolling at-home video that will help stretch your muscles and relieve stress. Regularly stretching will also help maintain great posture.

7. Stay connected with your team.. virtually

Staying connected with your colleagues can be a challenge with social distancing policies in place. Get creative with how you stay in touch with your team to balance out all that isolation. Coordinate virtual lunches, coffee breaks and even happy hours! Spending time on non-work-related activities with coworkers strengthens working relationships and can help you feel more connected.

If working from home is causing you panic or stress, you’re not alone. Just about every remote worker is going through the same thing. Follow these tips and have the confidence to know that you can work remotely successfully. Good luck!

– Gabriella Costantini

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