By Lou-Anne Hooper

As someone who has spent a great part of my life working from home, I have developed a few habits that have helped me over the years:

  1. Start your day as you normally would if you were going into the office (although your commute will be much shorter!).
  2. End your day when you normally would and close down shop at a specific time. If your home office is in a place where you can shut the door, do so to give yourself both psychological and physical distancing from your office/work.
  3. Definitely set a schedule and a list of what you want to accomplish for the day. It is easy when you are home to get distracted, but you have to discipline yourself to make sure you get done what needs to be done to keep your work moving forward.
  4. Remember to take breaks and to eat lunch! This sounds self-evident, but strangely enough when you are working at home, you are a bit more relaxed and you can get caught up in what you are doing without colleagues around to let you know it’s break or lunch time. Set a timer to remind you to take a break (get up and stretch/take a walk) or to go have lunch.
  5. Speaking of lunch: try not to eat at your workstation. Give yourself a bit of distancing (sometimes easier said than done) and get some fresh air.
  6. It is also a good idea, and polite, to let your fellow colleagues know when you are out of your office. This way, they know not to expect a quick response to any of their emails, especially if it is going to be for a lengthy time.
  7. Normally, we keep up with colleagues/clients/suppliers etc. through email and this will certainly continue while you are working from home.  But it is also important to, every now and again, reach out to actually talk with someone and hear someone else’s voice.
  8. The other side of this coin is that this is not social time.  Calling/texting/emailing family and friends should be done during a break or lunch time or after work. It is easy when you are home alone to get side-tracked – family and friends may call you as well since they know you are at home, but you have to be strong and end social correspondences before they eat up your work day. Simply keep the calls short or politely tell people you will call them back when you are able.
  9. If you have pets, they will certainly be glad that you are home, and it is nice to have them around, but if they become too intrusive, you need to be strong and to keep them out of your work area. I assume it would be the same for children ;)
  10. For some it’s easy to multi-task like doing your office work and doing the laundry or dishes or vacuuming. However, I find that separating these tasks gives me a clearer definition of office work versus housework – which I leave for the evening or the weekends – just like I would if I was going into the office.

I hope these few little tips/suggestions will help as you settle into working at home.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment for yourself, close your eyes and do some deep breathing and think of a happy spot.

Lastly, enjoy the more relaxed environment, the comfort of your own home and the shorter commute.