Rules for a productive home office

Tidy home office

The Covid threat isn’t 100% over, but for many people it feels like we’re heading from the new normal to the normal normal. Or is it the new new normal? No matter which, one of the things that has changed are our workplace patterns. We used to only intermittently work from home; a solution of occasional convenience when we needed it. After the last couple of years, however, employers have realized that working from home can be just as effective as coming in to the office every day.

At Frontkom we split the week in half, divided between the office office and the home office. Enough has been written about new workplace patterns, so here are 9 practical tips for those who have already decided to keep working from home. Since self discipline is a big part of a successful home office, all advice is given with an exclamation mark. It also helps if you read them in your boss’ voice.

1. Put your pants on!

Shower first, then put on your pants (and trousers, if you’re British). After that, some more clothes. The most common mistake when working from home is to be “halfway home”. You then tend to do things that you otherwise wouldn’t when your colleagues are present. Like walking around with no pants on.

2. Sit up straight!

A couch invites you to lay down or slouch. A bed, even more so. Pick a place where you don’t usually sit, and that you don’t associate with being home.

3. Close the door!

If other people are home, it’s especially important to isolate yourself (no pun intended) to avoid distractions. The best thing is if you can physically close a door. If your office has an open floor plan, it might actually feel like an upgrade to have a closeable door.

4. Leave the laundry alone!

You’re at work, and you don’t do laundry at work

5. Listen to music without vocals!

Sounds in your headphones is a double-edged sword, but can for many filter out unwanted distractions. Listen to ambient music or sound effects (like rain).

Your brain is wired to pick up and focus on voices, so avoid music with lyrics. Complicated music is also not a great help, so leave Frank Zappa until the evening. Instead, search for “ambience” on Spotify.

6. Structure your day!

Divide your day into half-hour sections of work. Allot time for lunch, walks and breaks.

7. Thou shalt remember the work day, to keep it holy.

Set your alarm for the normal time. Start work when you usually leave for the office, not when you usually arrive.

8. Discipline your PC!

Some PCs/browsers open a facebook tab automatically. Or maybe you’ve used the same PC to go on Reddit the night before. You can avoid this by installing programs that limit your access to certain sites at certain times of day.

Mac users can install Selfcontrol while PC-users kan use Cold Turkey.

9. Try a Pomodoro

A great life-hack when working from home is the Pomodoro-technique: Set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus on one task during that time. Then take a well-earned 5-minute break.

This makes it easier to get in the flow without worrying your brain with when the next break is.

Smiley home office
Stock photo-images can also be an inspiration to how a home office should look: Neat and tidy.

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