It’s everyone’s new reality. Working from home. Well, almost everyone yet as the weeks go by and more businesses temporarily close due to the coronavirus outbreak, more people will have to set up a mini home office.

Living, sleeping and working in the same space while on lockdown with close to zero social interactions can be rather daunting if you don’t give yourself some structure and discipline. But there are many perks to it. Umm, working without a bra, maybe? Or in yoga pants, hair in a bun and make-up free for days? Yes please!

Many of us here at the Travelletes have been working remotely for a while now, whether living the digital nomad life around the world, freelancing a million miles away from home or juggling an online business and motherhood. So, this work setup is an area we have plenty of experience in but for many, working from home is a big transition and during these insane times we’re experiencing, helping each other out is vital.

So, after gathering all of our advice, we have some tips on how to build an effective work-from-home routine.

Let’s get to it!

Get up early

Rise and shine sweetheart! Sticking to a fairly normal work schedule will help set in the feeling that despite being in the comfort of your home, work still needs to be done. You might not need to get up as early as before though now that no make-up needs to be applied, breakfast to be consumed before you leave the house or traffic to tackle. So, take it easy but try and start your day early.

Make your bed

It’s the simplest task but it will register in your brain that that part of the day is over so crawling back in for another 5 minutes won’t be tempting. As said by US Navy Admiral, William McRaven, “if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”. Watch his speech here.

Have a morning routine

Personally, what I found difficult at the beginning of having a home office was not jumping straight to my computer when I woke up. There was nowhere to go or to get ready for, no one else to talk to and I’m not much of a morning-exercise-kind-of-gal.

But jumping straight to work with nothing to do beforehand stressed me out. As soon as I opened my eyes I’d go through my to-do list and it took the fun out of working from home. Now, I try to dedicate a little time for myself before screentime. Usually, that’s a cup of hot tea, petting my cat and calling my mum for a good morning chat. For you, it can be anything. Going for a walk, stretching, reading 5 pages of your book, listening to a podcast, having a hot shower and putting on cream. Whatever, just have even 30 minutes to yourself before you start work.

Tuck away your pyjamas

Pyjamas are for sleeping. One way to trick your brain into work mode is to change out of your sleepwear and into something else. It doesn’t have to be exactly what you’d wear to work, I usually spend my days in leggings and a jumper. After all, you have to be comfortable if you’re going to be sat in front of a screen most of the day but getting dressed will tell your brain that it’s time for business.

Don’t work in a room you relax in

It’s a good idea to separate the two so your brain knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to relax. If you have an extra room in your house turn it into your mini office. Having a designated work area will detach the idea that you’re home and will stop you from getting up every five minutes.

That said, repetition can get boring so every once in a while I like to switch things up and do a few hours’ work in the kitchen or the dining room table. Still, having a work area will help keep you stay on track. And make it pretty. Light a candle, bring a vase of flowers, keep it tidy.

Get a good chair

You don’t need to go running to IKEA if you don’t have a good office chair but make sure what you’re sitting on is comfortable to support that glorious bum of yours. If it’s an ordinary chair, place a cushion behind your back or a fluffy blanket. It’s important!

Have a schedule

Plan what you need to get done during the day, the same you would at the office. It’s easy to get distracted at home so make a list of everything you need to get done and stick to it. If it motivates you, treat yourself when you achieve a goal, it can be a snack, a glass of wine or an episode of your favourite series.

Set boundaries

Just because you’re home and no one’s looking doesn’t mean you can check social media or be on the phone all the time. Tell people to reach out after a certain hour and if you’re a mega procrastinator block certain sites from your search engine. Yes, Facebook too.

Oh, and don’t keep your phone next to you while you work. Check the notifications when you choose to, not whenever they come in.

Take breaks

If work just isn’t happening, don’t just turn to Facebook. Accept that you’re not productive and go do something that is. Wash the dishes, water the plants, stretch, check up on your grandparents. Relax. Just as you’d get up at the office for some chit chat and a cup of tea, do the same at home. Take breaks to re-energise yourself and then come back to it.

Don’t overwork

I can’t stress this enough. When you have nowhere to go and you’re already home, it’s easy to work past the clock. Especially if your work progress is a little slower than usual. But don’t. You’ll tire yourself out and home will begin to feel depressing. Set yourself working hours and when the time’s up shut down the laptop and go to something fun. For creative ideas of what to do at home during the COVID-19 crisis, you can head to a post on my personal blog.

Be social

Just because you’re working alone and remotely doesn’t mean you’ll be lonely. Set up coffee Skype calls with your friends, go for a walk in nature with a buddy, join an online community, call your old university bestie or do a virtual group workout session. Have something planned for your evening. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to and will energize you.

 

Everyone’s work routine is different so feel free to alter the above in any way that suits you best. In a real-life situation (e.g. when the whole planet isn’t fighting a pandemic) I’d also suggesting working in cafes or having work buddies but for now, home is a pretty great place to be.

If you think about it, it’s quite fun that you get to work here now. A new experience. Something to test if it can work long-term. Turns out, in the uncertainty and darkness of the situation, new exciting, creative things can be born.

Happy working!