The routine of ‘going to work’ is being upended for people across the globe. Companies all over are dealing with the novel coronavirus, and with the recommendations from public health organizations, that means encouraging as many people as possible to work from home. While that concept might have been second-hat for some folks before the current pandemic, it’s an abrupt and unexpected first for so many of us.

At Catalyst Ranch, we’ve optimized our space to incite the best work from our guests, but how do you get your best work done when you’re stuck at home? With that comfy couch and Netflix and all the other comforts of home close at hand, it’s hard to stay focused. So how do you stay productive?

We’ve put together some tips for you to optimize your work from home.

A person buttoning the cuff on their shirt sleeve, ready for work.

The first step: actually ‘get to work’

Get out of bed, get dressed for a typical work day and get yourself into the ‘work’ mindset. These practices tell your body and mind that now isn’t the time to sleep in and relax, it’s time to get to business. Give yourself a dedicated space to work, away from where you usually relax. Because if you don’t, those familiar cues for leisure time will be too tempting and take their toll on your focus.

Plan out your set schedule

It’s very important to be more disciplined when you’re at home than while you’re at work, because we have so many distractions beckoning to us. Set a timer for any uninterrupted work, but also take a 10-15-minute break for every hour you have worked. Taking breaks will give your brain a rest and sharpen your focus when you’re working.

colorful old-fashioned jacks and rubber bouncy balls.

Give yourself an aspect of play

When you’re at our home, we fill your viewfinder with opportunities to play. When you’re at home and in your designated work area, try adding one element of playful creativity to keep your mind stimulated. This could be a stuffed animal or figurine to talk out loud to. Maybe a loop of yarn to occupy your hands in a game of Cat’s Cradle. Add an out-of-the-box element to shake things up.

Take care of the kids

Perhaps it’s not just you but your whole family now at home. What about those darn children? Make sure that while you’re in your dedicated space to work, the kids are amply engaged as well. If you’re working, the kiddos can be schooling online, and you all can take your lunch break together. And if more than one parent is working from home, coordinate to take turns tending to young ones’ napping, feeding and playing.

A person chats with someone through video over their laptop

Don’t forget to be social

We all need a connection with other human beings; arrange a virtual specified time to check-in with your coworkers to see how everyone’s progressing at home. Having a little bit of face time can help you feel more connected to the office, and will reinforce accountability. Use the tools set by your office to keep connected.

‘Leave Work’

When you’re done working, be sure to get out of that mindset and drop everything. Leave the office and ‘go home’: Clear your desk, turn off your computer and change your clothes. You need to have that ability to switch from office mode to home mode and connect with your family.

Send your boss an end-of-the-week update

You can let them know what you accomplished for the week and what you hope to accomplish for the next. By doing this, you can ensure that you are both on the same page moving forward.

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Working from home is a huge adjustment. You may struggle in the beginning, but there are ways to thrive. Give it some time and consider these tips. And of course, if you’re feeling burned out, let your supervisor know. Be collaborative with coworkers in this endeavor, try different things, and find out what works best for you. When you’re happy and feeling fulfilled, it’ll show in your performance – and being a happy, engaged employee is what your company wants. Even when you’re working from home.