Successfully Working From Home

By Crystal Cory, CPDC Career Coach

Thousands of people across the country are suddenly working from home as a result of COVID-19. For some, this has been a seamless transition. For others, the transition has left them feeling lost and out of sorts. If you are in the latter category, here are some tips to help you stay productive. 

Figure out what type of worker you are, and make a plan. 

Marc Saltzman at USAToday says that the first step to a successful transition is figuring out your personal style. Are you a “segregator” – someone who needs to be closed off in a separate room? Are you an “integrator” – someone who does better with life around you? Do you work better in the morning? The afternoon? Take some time to figure out what works best for you, and embrace it. Fighting against your natural needs for productivity will only end in disaster.  

Make a plan, then stick to it. 

With no predictable end to our isolation, it is easy to let things slip. “I’ll get to that eventually. I have all this free time now!” However, this mindset will wreak havoc on your productivity. According to Scott Kelly, a NASA astronaut who was quoted in Forbes, a tight schedule allowed him to adjust to a different home and work environment in space than he was used to on Earth. While you don’t need to plan every minute of every day, having a plan for the next day will help you to stay accountable.  

Boundaries are key. 

Boundaries in this context can mean two things, according to the LA Times. Firstly, boundaries between your personal life and work life. Since commutes and other events can’t break up your day, it is easy to let one life blend into the other. Set reminders to make sure you consistently start and end your day. Secondly, boundaries between you and roommates or any other person in your space. Setting clear expectations from the get-go can help all parties give one another the space to get work done. While setting these expectations is important, be open to redefining and adjusting your rules. Be compassionate with yourself and others!  

Try to maintain normalcy. 

Several sources (including Forbes and NPR) mention that it is important to strive to maintain your normal routine. Get up at your normal time, shower, and put REAL clothes on. Instead of your normal commute, take a walk around the neighborhood. Listen to your normal podcasts or radio stations. Drink your normal morning drinks (if you can make them at home). Doing all of these things, especially dressing properly, will help put you into the correct headspace to maximize your productivity.  

Be patient with yourself. 

Adjusting to a completely new way of life and way of work takes time.  Be patient with yourself during the adjustment period, and feel free to try things out to see what works. Take comfort in the fact that we are all in this together.