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With a few key changes to your WFH setup, you can work as productively as you did in the office.

by Jason Gibson, Innovations Program Manager at Geisinger 

For many people, working from home has become the new normal. A large part of the workforce has been thrust into a work-from-home environment with the goal to flatten the curve.

If you’re struggling with this adjustment, you’re not alone. Here are some key steps to help you make the most of your WFH situation.

Set a routine.

While the idea of rolling out of bed, still in your pajamas, five minutes before work starts might be tempting, it’s not great for productivity. You’ll be much more productive throughout the day if you set a daily routine. Use this time as a blank slate to create the morning routine you want. This will help you maintain your health and improve your productivity.

As you would with getting ready and going to the office, set a routine for yourself each morning. Wake up at around the same time every day and make time to eat, get dressed (even if it’s in athletic clothes for your at-home workout later in the day) and settle in to begin work on time with a cup of coffee or tea

If your work allows, part of your routine may include regular morning and afternoon breaks. Don’t skip these if they were part of your daily office life. Continue making time to take a break and recharge before jumping back into work.

Create a dedicated work space — and some boundaries.

Much like working in your pajamas, working from bed might sound like a good idea, but try to avoid this, too.

Working from your bed could actually make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. This is because your brain may have a hard time separating your bed/bedroom as a place for work from a place for sleep.

If you don’t have a space that you can dedicate fully to work, set up shop somewhere else, whether that’s your kitchen table or a set up on the couch with a laptop stand or small table. Try to avoid setting up in spaces you use for relaxation and family time to really keep your work from spilling into that special time.

You can also get creative with your desk. Stack some sturdy books on a table to create a standing desk or position an exercise ball in front of a lower table. The possibilities are endless.

Another healthy boundary to consider is setting a dedicated time for lunch and stepping away from your computer. Take the dog for a walk, make a fresh grilled cheese sandwich and sit down at the dinner table to eat. Yes, away from your computer.

This encourages your brain to separate work from everyday life, which can help you improve your mental health and come back after your break ready to work.

Get up and move regularly.

When you’re working from home, you’re less likely to get up and move around. That’s because there’s no need to take a walk over to your colleague’s desk across the room when your options are limited to emailing, chatting or calling whenever you have a question.

Set regular reminders to get up and stretch, walk around the room for a minute, or set a time to call a coworker or friend while you take a quick walk around the block. You may even want to begin your day with a quick walk to replace the time previously dedicated to your commute.

Having a properly set up desk is also important for your body. Use a comfortable, cushioned chair that supports your back. Elevate your computer monitor so the top of the screen is at or below eye level, too. You can stack your computer on sturdy books or buy a laptop stand that allows you to adjust its height.

Communication is key.

If you’re new to working from home, remember that communication is key. Over-communicating with your boss or team is especially important if you aren’t used to working from home.

If you’re working from home for the first time with children, this applies here as well. Communicate with your coworkers that your children may occasionally be heard in the background and let your kids know that work from home means you really do have to work.

We’re all adjusting to these new daily routines, but we’re in this together. Talk with colleagues, friends and family in similar situations about what works best for them — you may even get some advice that revolutionizes your WFH set up.

Next steps:
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