Mar. 2020 | Productivity

8 Work from Home Tips for Newbies (Coronavirus Edition)

A list of tips to help newcomers, temporarily joining the work-at-home force due to coronavirus, effectively make the adjustment.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to make its impact on our everyday lives, many are being forced to work from home. While this may be a new circumstance for some, a writer’s life is (mostly) spent working at home. It has its advantages; a very short commute, no dress code, and the ability to have a glass of wine with lunch (so I’ve heard). But adjusting to the home-working lifestyle takes time and a lot of practice. 

Before taking on writing full time, I worked as a graphic designer for a tech company in New York City. I spent my days sitting at a desk in a windowless office with a boss breathing down my neck and chatty coworkers, just like anyone else. I dreamed of quitting and spending my days writing my book at home, or taking my laptop to a coffee shop to be among other creatives. Then I did and found out the reality of living a dream.

Learning to be alone for most of the day, finding motivation and balancing the home environment with the work life are just some obstacles I’ve learned to overcome in the last four years. It took some time to get it figured out, but was worth it. I’m now comfortable working from home or a random spot I find on a trip or vacation (instagram/icanwritehere).

Working from home due to the Coronavirus? Check out these 8 tips to make the most of your work at home situation. Share on X

To help newcomers who are temporarily joining the home-work force thanks to the coronavirus, I’ve assembled a list of tips and techniques I’ve learned on my journey.


8 Tips to Work From Home (Coronavirus Edition)

Begin Your Day As Usual

Just because you’re home, doesn't mean your schedule should change. Sure, you can sleep later to accommodate time saved by not commuting, but keep your schedule as you typically would. Set your alarm, take a shower, grab a coffee, make your lunch, etc. The goal is to get your mind to understand this isn’t a day off, it is a typical workday.


Dress the Part

When most people think of working from home, they think of lounging around in pajamas with a laptop on the couch. That is a recipe for disaster (trust me). I’m not telling you to put on a three-piece suit, rather a casual Friday outfit. Dressing for the workday prepares your mind for productivity, whereas pajamas tells your mind it is time for bed. And on that subject…


Create a Dedicated Workspace

Laptops and tablets make it easy to work from your comfortable bed or favorite TV chair, but those aren’t work spaces. There are enough distractions working from home, you need not add more (more on this later). One way to combat distractions is to make a designated space in your home; an office or the corner of a quiet room, where you do your work (and everyone knows it). This space is where you get your head in the game and therefore shouldn’t include a television, a refrigerator, or anything to fall asleep on.


Set the Scene

What gets you ready to work? An oil diffuser, a bamboo plant, a Spotify playlist? Whatever you need to get the work-mind revving should be in your workspace. In addition, have your whiteboard, notebooks and any other essential items handy in your workspace before the start of your day. Doing this ensures you stay in the work mindset and not fumbling around your home, searching for items which can lead to taking on distracting tasks.


Create Boundaries

The joy of working from home is being at home. Unfortunately, that is also its biggest problem. Distractions at home are everywhere-laundry, cleaning, kids, pets, calls, television, boredom, eating, more boredom… the list is never ending. That’s why setting boundaries are important. Set your work schedule and inform your family and friends, turn your phone off and stay off social media during “work hours”. But it isn’t all work and no play…



Set Breaks

Working at home has its advantages, setting your own schedule is one of them. That means you have the freedom to adjust your work at home schedule to get a jump on household chores or take an extended lunch with friends. This may not be the case if your office monitors your “desk time” with an application, so familiarize yourself with the parameters of your work at home policy first.


Find Your Productive Time

When I began writing, I assumed I was most productive during the day (9-5 was how I used to live). Through experimentation, I found that I am actually more productive at night. Productivity time varies from person to person, and finding out yours can help with your work-from-home situation. If possible (see above), organize your work time to reflect the hours you do your best work.


Cope With Loneliness

It’s easy to feel lonely when working from home. In an office there is a sense of connection that can’t you can’t replicate in your home. The best way to combat the loneliness is with breaks. Take a walk, go to the gym for an hour, take lunch with friends or meet up with them for happy hour when your workday is over. If that isn’t possible right now (because of coronavirus restrictions), you can set aside time to chat over social media, listen to your favorite podcast, or watch an episode or two of your favorite show.

Though I speak from personal experience, this list is merely advice. The goal of your work-from-home situation, whether temporarily due to the coronavirus or long-term, is to find what works best for you and build on that.

Good luck and stay safe.


ABOUT

Lucas Horn

Lucas Horn is a creative designer who is attracted to men and True Crime, a trifecta which profoundly influenced his debut novel, The Midnight Blaze. When he isn't designing or writing, Lucas likes to travel and search for unique writing locations.

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