Like most Americans, you may find yourself in a new office – your home. While many dream of working from home with all the benefits, it can be a big transition, especially when it is abruptly forced upon us. Use these tips and ideas to help you get settled in and maintain productivity and your sanity. Middle and high schoolers will also benefit from these tips to get their classwork done.

  • Get up at the same time you would if you were going into the office. While it’s so tempting to sleep in, starting your workday like any other is important to get in the right mindset. If you want to cheat a little, set your alarm later by as much time as your commute would have taken.
  • Get dressed and ready. Again, it’s so tempting to stay in your PJs all day, but doing so can affect your mood as well as your productivity level. Dress comfortably though – it’s casual Friday every day now!
  • Make an office space. If you don’t have a dedicated room to be your office, set up in a corner of your kitchen, a guest bedroom, or at the little-used dining room table. Having a work area will help keep your mind focused and hopefully keep out many distractions. Moving from the couch to the bed to the floor might seem like a good idea, but if you have a comfortable spot, claim it for work! Keep your notepad, pens, paper files, and other office supplies there so you’re not constantly getting up to find things.
  • Avoid the temptation to do household chores during your workday. That pile of laundry or dishes in the sink will seem more interesting than the spreadsheet you’ve got to get to your boss, but they’re not. If you were at the office, you would deal with them later; same thing goes in this situation. If you do want to put in a load of laundry, do it on your lunch break and then it will be ready to fold when your workday is done.
  • Since kids are out of school, there are even more distractions in the house. If your spouse is also working from home, consider dividing up the day into three- or four-hour increments and alternate work with homeschooling and caregiving.
  • Working from home can seem lonely, especially if you’re used to the buzz of a cubical office and water-cooler chatter. Connect with coworkers on the phone and video calls, check in verbally with your boss/subordinates daily, and send text or instant messages to keep the communication flowing.
  • Stay out of the pantry and fridge. Take regular breaks for meals and snacks, but don’t put that bag of chips beside your laptop. You could even pack a lunch in the morning and grab it out of the fridge at lunchtime.
  • Take advantage of this working from home lifestyle by enjoying a walk around your neighborhood at lunch, a cuddle with your baby mid-afternoon, and the reduced-stress of not having to commute.

Working from home has so many benefits, you may find you really enjoy it. Stay on top of your projects and continue to be professional in your interactions with coworkers, clients and vendors. Who knows, you might get to work from home when the world returns to normal!