For most of us, working from home has shifted from “exceptional and unique” to “daily into the foreseeable future.” In my former life as an office-inhabiting worker, I was among the most gregarious; now I am the only one in my office.
I’ve had a few months to perfect my work-from-home strategies. I hope they can help you through your experience working at home as well.
1. Take Frequent (Cat) Breaks
The two best things about working from home are my cats. (I can’t say which one is the best, or I’ll catch some side-eye.) They spend most of their day sleeping in comfortable beds while I work. But I interrupt their sleep for a few minutes when I need a little bit of time away from “the office.” This would work with other pets too, but cats have a talent for looking like they enjoy napping more than you enjoy working.
2. Use Your “Office” Kitchen
I’ve never been a spectacular cook, but with the abundance of time at home and a lack of safe restaurant options, I’ve spent a lot of time honing my skills. I can say confidently that cooking lunch is cheaper than eating out, and it’s much tastier than a packed lunch. Since you have to cook, find ways to make the most of it.
3. Enjoy Music
I’m an avid music listener. Luckily, my cats don’t have a say in what music I play, so I spend most of my day filling my apartment with the sound of music. This might not fly with your co-habitants. If I have any problems, I can just turn the music up and nod at them.
4. Fun Screen & Work Screen
This might seem like entry-level advice, but you should separate your work area from the rest of your living space as well as you can. The best I’m able to do is to set up another desk in my studio/second bedroom. It makes it much easier to focus and feel like I’m “at work.”
5. Exercise Frequently
This is also common advice, but I’ll join the crowd in suggesting that you stay active and exercise a few times a week — if not daily! All this time spent at home probably leaves you with less activity than you’re used to, so it’s best to add some activity back into your routine. I used to get most of my exercise by going to the gym, but I’ve been able to stay active with daily calisthenics, spending some time on my bike trainer, and taking occasional walks.
6. Amenitize Your Office
Prior to working from home, my apartment lacked a few needed features. I made an early investment in an electric coffee grinder, and I appreciate it every day. Adding some charm or pizazz to add to your living space goes a long way when you spend an extra forty hours a week at home. I’d recommend something like a cozy blanket or pair of slippers, some new plants, or maybe a few fresh kitchen tools.
I don’t think any of my strategies reinvent working from home, but I’m hoping my experience and observations will help you through your time spent working in your “new” office.