While many of us are still getting used to the new routine of working from our houses, we can look to those who have been telecommuting or running businesses out of a home office for years in order to learn how to best adapt and remain productive. One such work from home pro is entrepreneur Gene Marks, who recently penned an article for The Hartford entitled, “14 Things I’ve Learned About Working from Home.” The following takeaways can help you to make the most of your home office and readjust to a new normal.

Your Workspace

As we detailed in our article “How to Create a Positive Work from Home Experience,” maintaining a separate workspace is key to establishing a healthy work/life balance. This helps your brain define when you are on and off the clock, allowing for more productive work hours and more restful downtime.

Marks recommends renting space for company files outside of your home to create further division between work and personal space. He also stresses the importance of investing in quality lighting for your work environment and keeping all distractions, such as children, pets, and TV out of your home office (which should ideally have its own door to act as a barrier.) 

While working from home has the advantage of being able to step into the kitchen for snacks and meals at your convenience, Marks also points out that sometimes leaving your home for lunch and getting a change of scenery can provide a refresh for your mind. This might mean grabbing takeout from your favorite local restaurant and eating in your backyard for a change of pace!

Your Appearance

Another huge pro of working from home is that you get a break from your office dress code. Still, it’s important not to fall into the trap of only wearing loungewear or pajamas for days on end. Getting dressed and ready sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to start the day and can be helpful in maintaining productivity. While you may not have to dress in business casual wear, make sure you keep a change of professional attire nearby for video calls with your team or clients. And don’t forget to continue to shower as a regular part of your routine!

Your Work Habits

Another tool that Marks suggests employing when working from home is to structure your time into blocks. Group similar tasks and assign regular slots in your day to each. For example, you might take the first hour of your day to respond to emails, the next block to reach out to potential customers, the following few hours to working on current projects, etc.

Establishing a work from home rhythm that is effective for you is key to maintaining productivity and a healthy work/life balance. While current events may make it more difficult to stick to your typical schedule, creating structure in your new normal is incredibly important for your mental health and work performance. To read Mark’s full list of recommendations to successfully work from home, read the article here.

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