Due to public health concerns, a large percentage of the workforce in the United States has been abruptly compelled to work from home. For many employees, this represents a dramatic shift in their work routines. As we adjust to new workplace dynamics, here are some tips to stay productive while working from home.

Stick to a schedule.

While routines vary significantly from person to person, setting a schedule for yourself – and sticking to it – can help keep your day on track. Whether you start your day off with some meditation, eating a nutritious breakfast, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee before diving into work, following a consistent routine can increase your productivity as well as your mental happiness. Here are some ideas for building an at-home work routine that works for you: How The Most Productive People Schedule Out Their Days.

Create a “Must-Do” list.

The simple motion of crossing items off a to-do list can empower you to get more done. Start with only adding necessary items that must get done that day. If you successfully plow through your list and find yourself with extra time, feel free to add more tasks—but be certain they’re achievable with the time available to you. You might be surprised at the boost in satisfaction when you cross off all the items on your list! Here are a few more tips for making a to-do list you can stick to: How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

Limit distractions.

With schools cancelled across the United States, limiting distractions as you work from home might be more challenging than usual. Try carving out specific times during the day when you can make yourself scarce and limit background stimuli, even if it’s only for 30 minutes at a time. If you have kids at home, scheduling a movie time for them can help you hunker down and work in another part of the house. If it’s your company’s Slack channel (convenient though it may be) that’s constantly pulling your attention away, considering silencing notifications for an hour. Whatever tricks you use, it’s important to establish boundaries and give yourself space to focus. Here are some additional ideas on how to limit distractions: 9 ways to work from home without getting distracted, from people who do it.

Take breaks.

Taking a step back from your computer gives you the mental break you need to keep productivity levels high. While you’re at home, a work break can include loading the dishwasher, wiping off your counters, or playing a quick game with your child—anything that gets you moving and lets your mind refresh. Here are a few more benefits of taking mental breaks throughout the day: How Do Work Breaks Help Your Brain? 5 Surprising Answers.

Stay connected.

For some introverts out there, working from home is probably a dream come true! For extroverts, however, the prospect of working alone all day might seem daunting. Regardless of your extroverted or introverted tendencies, research shows that social support leads to greater happiness and higher job satisfaction. Be deliberate about setting time aside for calling or messaging your co-workers. Feeling connected, even digitally, can improve your mood and help you stay on task. Here are a few more reasons why staying connected matters: 5 Reasons Social Connections Can Enhance Your Employee Wellness Program.

Manage your stress.

In the wake of global distress, managing stress and anxiety is key for staying not only productive, but also healthy and safe. Eating well, finding a few minutes to move every day, and practicing mindfulness are all excellent self-care methods during times of uncertainty. Here are some more tips for managing your stress: Anxiety Is Contagious. Here’s How to Contain It.

As we navigate new workplace norms, it’s important to take the changes day-by-day. While you adjust to a new work-from-home routine, do your best to remain flexible and take care of yourself, your family, and your co-workers. For more information on resources regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), check out our blog: Resources for Managing Coronavirus Response. Be well and stay safe!


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