Several months have passed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And if you were one of the (lucky) workers able to work from home, chances are you’re still there. According to a survey from professional services provider Clutch, an estimated 66% of employees now work from home, showing the sudden shift from cubicle to the home office. But after a few months, are you tired of working from home? If so, Virtual Vocations has just the remedy. Use these tips and methods to revert to the feel of the office—a choice that might just improve your mood and productivity.
1. Get Back Into a Routine
When you’re tired of working from home, both morning and evening routines can make you feel like you’re back at the office. As a remote worker, your commute consists of a walk from the bedroom to your home office. But that doesn’t give your brain enough time to prep for the day, nor to wind down at the end. That’s why getting into a routine that mimics the same patterns as when you worked at the office is so important.
Your routine doesn’t have to follow some sort of typified regimen. Instead, cater it to your own tastes or level of comfort. You may need to wake up a few minutes earlier than normal to enjoy an extra cup of coffee or read the news. But it’s entirely up to you. Here’s an example of a morning routine:
- 6 a.m.: Wake up and hop in the shower.
- 6:30 a.m.: Get dressed in business casual attire or office-friendly clothes.
- 7 a.m.: Eat breakfast, preferably a healthy breakfast to fuel your day (but no knocks if you want to treat yourself to bacon and eggs on a Friday).
- 7:30 a.m.: Read the news, listen to music, or get that extra joe to get amped up for the day
- 8 a.m. to noon: Get that work done.
You should take a break around noon to get your eyes away from the computer and refuel. Then, work from about 1 to 5 p.m. Your evening routine should be something like this:
- 5 p.m.: Finish your final emails, make a checklist for work tomorrow, and shut the computer down.
- 5:30 p.m.: Hit the gym, chat with the kids, or hang out with the spouse.
- 6:30 p.m.: Eat dinner.
- 7 to 10 p.m.: Watch your favorite show, socialize, or do another project.
- 10 p.m.: Bedtime.
Then, wake up and do it all over again. Once you settle into the routine, you might find that your office emulation can be an enjoyable experience.
2. Set up a “Real” Home Office
If you’re tired of working from home, chances are you don’t have a “real” home office. Maybe you work from your dinner table, your bed, or the most comfortable recliner in the house. But these don’t constitute a proper office, and they probably are partially the reason why you’re starting to loathe the telecommute.
To counteract the doldrums of working from a sofa, invest in a true home office. This doesn’t mean that you should throw a desk in your least-used room. The design and decor require a bit of forethought and execution to make your home office relaxing and ready for you to crush your day.
Some considerations might include:
- An ergonomic chair
- A desk with enough space for all your stuff
- Motivational posters
- A fresh coat of paint
- Natural light
Choosing to invest in your home office isn’t just a good use of money and time. It’s a way to feel like you’re in the office. Mentally, a great home office can reduce stress and breed productivity.
3. Have Virtual “Office Hours”
If you have kids learning online or a spouse who’s also working from home, distractions are rampant. So to thwart these interruptions, consider holding virtual “office hours.” During these “office hours,” you’re unavailable to your family, friends, or roommates (barring an emergency). So when junior’s having trouble with the iPad or your spouse needs you to check out a YouTube video, just point to the sign.
Hopefully, you have a door on your office where you can prominently display your office hours. If not, hold a family meeting that discusses when you’re available and when you’re not. Be assertive and firm so everyone understands what office hours entail. By eliminating the family aspect from your office, you can shed one aspect that makes you tired of working from home.
4. Shut It Down for the Day
Shutting down work for the day when you’re at the office isn’t as simple as it sounds. Oftentimes, you’re telling yourself: “Just one more email. Just one more (enter task here).” But that’s the crux of the problem. Without having a hard end-of-day time, you’ll struggle to separate personal life and work. And that ignores perhaps the best part of working from home: work-life balance.
So when you set up your daily routines, keep a close eye on your intended ending time and stick to it. Begin ending the day 30 minutes early by creating a to-do list for the next day, finishing up emails, and cleaning up your workspace. Once that home office door closes, you shouldn’t return until the next day.
5. Eat Healthier
Maybe you didn’t eat right in the office. Perhaps Gary from accounting was notorious for bringing in two dozen glazed donuts twice a week. And maybe you tried to offset this fact by snacking on healthy foods at your desk at work. Either way, eating healthier can help take the edge off working from home. So, take that same idea of eating healthier and fold it into your work-from-home schedule.
The idea behind snacking when you work from home is that it’s easy; a simple walk to the fridge and back to your desk. At the office, your option may have been only what you brought to work, which kept you from nonstop sitting and snacking.
Therefore, you should put the kibosh on unhealthy eating practices. If possible, pack a healthy lunch and snacks the night before. Then, make a vested effort to ensure you only eat what you made. This will imitate traditional office eating habits. Hopefully, you’ll see weight gain stop and feel more energized during the day.
6. Get in on the Remote “Water Cooler” Conversation
Isolation and loneliness are the foremost issues that plague remote employees. You don’t get to see your co-workers, and you can’t converse during one of your breaks. But employers have noticed. Since the onset of COVID-19, companies that suddenly went remote have tried numerous ways to increase employee morale and engagement. One of those methods is the virtual “water cooler”.
The virtual “water cooler” consists of activities that you would normally do at the office, but transferred to an online forum. Whether it’s a quick trivia game, a brain teaser, or a discussion about fantasy sports, the idea remains the same: human interaction. Since many of these activities are voluntary, don’t shun them. The best way to feel less tired of working from home is by hopping on board. You should feel your mood and morale increase dramatically.
7. Interrupt (Within Reason) Your Virtual Co-Workers
What’s a day at the office without bugging your cubicle mate or the guy who occupies a desk on the way to the bathroom? Sadly, you can’t replicate this at home. But you can interrupt your remote co-workers throughout the day by injecting a bit of fun. Even sending a short, funny video or a relevant meme can break up the monotony of the day. Just make sure you’re not overdoing it.
8. Do Some Training
While many companies offer some sort of free and in-house training, others don’t. Either way, a proven method to feel like you’re back in the office is to take advantage of training or a stipend for other credentials. Not only will you learn something that boosts your career, but you can also use these skills to take on more responsibility or add to your resume.
9. Get Out of the House
You may have despised the morning and evening commute when you worked at the office. But at least it got you out of the house. Thankfully, that idea still applies when you work from home. You just need to make a conscious effort to do so.
Getting out of the house, even if it’s only for 15 minutes will enable you to break away from work and the home office. If you have kids, picking them up from school might suffice. Otherwise, schedule some activity during the day that’s outside of the home. For example, you can take a short walk, go for a drive, or run an errand on your “lunch break.” The important idea is that you’re momentarily detached from work.
10. Check Out for a Minute
People spend a ton of time on social media, even at work. And while social media has it’s pros and cons, it’s a nice way to check out for a minute if you’re tired of working from home.
This doesn’t mean that you should destroy your own productivity and momentum by hopping on social media. But if you’re employing small breaks during the day—such as the Pomodoro Technique—you can use these short periods of time to use social media, watch a YouTube video, or even get a stretch in. Checking out for a few minutes isn’t counterproductive, as long as you don’t lose focus.
11. Try a Coworking Center (If Possible)
Coworking centers, or coworking spaces, have redefined how remote workers get things done. These rentable spaces allow virtual workers to conduct some of their tasks outside of the office, while also enjoying perks such as high-speed internet and free coffee.
But more importantly, coworking centers allow you to interact with like-minded individuals. Through this networking and social interaction, you can stave off the loneliness you may feel when you work from home. Plus, you might just find that next connection that propels your career to the next level.
Whether or not you perform better in an office setting has no bearing on you as a person, even as the trend of working from home becomes more popular with employees and employers. Nevertheless, the mentality behind growing tired of working from home is much the same as going into the office. The grass is always greener on the other side.
If you’ve grown tired of working from home, do you have any tips or ideas on how to transform your workspace to feel more like the office? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube . We’d love to hear from you!
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