Home Office Helpers

Being able to work from home and avoid the stress of a daily commute is great. You can work at your own pace, you don't have to worry about what you're going to wear [hello, pyjamas] but being isolated in a home office can also be frustrating. Here are some simple ways to make working at home work better for you.

A woman working from homeHave a dedicated space

This may seem obvious, but having a dedicated space is the best way to improve your at-home working conditions. Having an extra room [i.e. a spare bedroom or a den that isn't used very often] is the easiest route to creating an office -- all you need is a desk, comfortable chair with lots of back support and your computer.

But if you don't have a room to spare you'll have to get creative. Take an unused corner of the living room or basement, invest in an ornate diving screen, add your office essentials and voila – an office to call your own.

Set an alarm

Getting up at the same time every day will help you stay motivated and on track. Otherwise, it can be easy to get in the habit of sleeping in, which isn't a great start to your work day.

You don't have to get up at the crack of dawn but pick a time that works for you and your schedule and do your best to stick to it and not hit the snooze button too many times.

Get outside

Working from home means you don't really ever need to leave the house. Your office is down the hall, there's coffee in the coffee maker and lunch can be made with whatever is in the fridge. But being inside all day can lead to cabin fever, and too much time staring at your computer screen can give you a headache. Rather than become a work-at-home hermit, make a point of getting outside for some fresh air every day. Go for a walk, or take your laptop to a coffee shop for an hour or so to work in a different environment.

Stay organized

With no one watching over your shoulder and no office assistant updating daily and weekly calendars, it's up to you to make sure you stay on top of your work. Input all your deadlines into an online calendar and it's also a good idea to have a wall calendar or agenda for at-a-glance deadlines. It's easy to assume you'll remember to do something, but it's also a lot easier to forget and let something important slip through the cracks.

Get dressed

Sure, staying in your pyjamas all day seems like a work-at-home luxury, but the novelty of not having to choose an outfit can wear off quickly and just make you feel like a slob. You don't need to wear business suits in your home office, but you'll feel a lot more like working if you get up, have a shower and get dressed [jeans and a T-shirt is fine] before getting down to work.

Limit web time

Wasting time online is probably one of the biggest issues at-home workers have. You tell yourself you're just going to check one little thing online and all of sudden you've lost 45 minutes watching YouTube videos. Give yourself 30 minutes in the morning or during lunch to surf to your heart's content, but after that try your best to stay off of Facebook.

More home office tips

Designing a home office space 7 Home office organization tipsHow to make a home office work

Tags: ca career home office productivity work at home

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