The move to a work-from-home lifestyle has been a bit of an adjustment – especially if you live in a confined space or have new “co-workers” like family, roommates or pets. Unless you already accommodated a workspace into your home, you might be looking for ways to deal with this challenge. I’ve got some tips and tricks to adjusting to this new normal.
- Define your workspace and your chill space
Carve out a space for your working setup. I was fortunate to have a desk before this all went down so I’ve designated it my work zone. It has my office supplies, work computer, microphone, office phone and printer handy. You might even want to add some personal flair to your desk space by including a favourite mug, notebook or plant.
But for when times get stressful – and purely out of lack of space – I moved my cat’s bed to the spot beside my desk chair. This allows me to hang with the cats when I need a little relief from the workday.
By designating a space for certain tasks, you establish unofficial boundaries. Once I locked down the work area, I began to make the rest of my apartment feel like a chill space. Before we shifted to working from home and many public spaces were shut down, I spent the majority of my time either in the office or outside my apartment so this was the perfect opportunity to really focus on my space and make it mine.
I first started by hanging up sentimental pictures and decorating shelves to make the place feel a little more like home. Aside from that, I ordered a few other organizational items like a spice rack and kitchen storage to maintain the space in my tiny kitchen. These little changes and decluttering moves have helped me focus better. When you clear your space, you clear your mind!
- Set boundaries
If you live with a partner, kids or roommates, you may have to create even more rules to get your work done. But in a limited space, you might be pressed for ideas. If you establish your hours and ask nicely for your housemates to respect them, that’s always a great start. But to really set things in motion, consider investing in wireless headphones so you don’t get distracted.
- Maintain a routine
As important as physical boundaries are, so are boundaries with your time. If you have set hours that you followed while going into the office, try to stay true to those. Sometimes we might have to work overtime and other times we may find ourselves done work early, but for the most part we want to keep that routine in place. Work-life balance is essential! But maintaining a routine has many facets.
- Dress for work
Admittedly this is something I’m working on. I do it half the time – meaning I wear work shirts but usually opt for comfy pants over dress pants. (Side bar: Do overalls count?)
But my wardrobe aside, keeping your daily routine will help you get into work mode, especially when you dress the part. Even if you don’t have any video calls that day, consider just doing it for you! When the workday is done, switch to your cozy wear.
- Mimic your workday activities
Do you have a favourite brew of coffee or a specific tea you drink at work? Maybe you have a lunch schedule for weekdays too. Or you might have a coworker who you used to chat with every day. All of these things may seem menial, but they help to maintain that balance and will help keep you grounded in your new normal. So, if you can video chat with your best work pal occasionally or plan out your lunches for the week, it might restore a bit of order to your work life.
How are you adjusting to your new work-from-home setup? Comment below.