Whether you are starting your own small business or making the move like so many others to working remotely, the transition can often be challenging. You may have this image of an ideal work-from-home lifestyle in your head, but it doesn’t always equate to reality. Your NYC Professional Office Organizer is focusing specifically about the transition from office to home and sharing office organizing strategies that will help you stay productive.
Set clear goals and expectations. This applies to not just yourself, but to others. Working at home is a different experience than in the office as in some cases there are far more distractions. Set specific work hours, including a starting time that you stick to every day. Staying on top of deadlines and priorities is even more important when you work alone. You also need to set expectations with your family, friends, and clients. Often it is assumed that somebody who works from home is always available, no matter the time of day or night, and that’s just not the case.
Understand the importance of your workspace. A desk that is solely for working remotely will help improve your productivity right away. When you are working at the kitchen countertop or from the couch and moving between them, you will a trail of materials in your wake making it difficult to quickly locate them. In addition, you may be more easily distracted. Making sure that you have selected an office chair that is comfortable and provides the correct back support is essential. Working at the dining room table in a hard chair isn’t ideal. You are more likely to get up frequently which will shift your focus from the important project that needs to be done that day to random tasks. And remember, you don’t have to only work in your home office. The benefit of remote work is the ability to change the scenery whenever needed. Try a co-working space or spend some time at a local coffee shop especially when you’re having difficulty getting started or staying on task.
Embrace communication tools. Going from being surrounded by co-workers every day to being alone in your home office is a challenge. You may feel lonely and isolated. Communication tools are helpful in combating feelings of loneliness and at the same time inspire collaboration with your coworkers and clients – even if you aren’t in the same office! Instead of email for quick conversations, try Slack or Teams for quicker responses and feedback. Embrace the idea of video chatting with Zoom. Seeing the people you are talking to impacts how you communicate. Utilize other collaboration tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Evernote to quickly share documents and work on projects together.
Create new daily habits. After years in a traditional office, you have your own daily routines. Now that you are at home, you might struggle with productivity as you develop new habits. Keep in mind that scheduling your lunch and breaks throughout the day is just as important now that you work from home. It’s not only important to fuel your body but to also take mental breaks in order to re-energize throughout the day. Another issue to address is disconnecting from work at the end of your day. Previously, your commute home may have given you the chance to decompress and create separation between your office and home lives. Give yourself that chance by having a clear end to your workday. Maybe you head out to exercise, walk the dog, shut down your computer and close the office door, or identify some other trigger that signifies the end of your workday.
Having made this transition myself, I can speak from personal experience when I say that having a plan in place and promptly following it to set up your home office is essential to your future success.