In the past decade, telecommuting has increased by 115% in the US. In other words, with or without a pandemic, working from home isn’t going anywhere. The internet has opened the doors for employees to be as productive from their apartments as in the office. Teams can chat via video conferences; managers can share extensive reports in seconds using cloud software, and businesses can save costs associated with office rentals. You get the point. Since telecommuting is here to stay, we’ve arranged some tips for working remotely in an apartment.
Despite its growing ubiquity in the economy, remote work is a new experience for many of us in 2020. And while some are fortunate to have homes with designated offices, many of us must navigate remote work from apartments, often with roommates. Keep in mind that balancing a comfortable apartment living situation with a workplace is entirely doable. By following these suggestions, you’ll keep work productivity high, relations with your roommate healthy, and yourself happy.
Start the day with something you love
Now that your commute is nonexistent, odds are you have some extra time in the morning. Don’t take this time for granted. While many are choosing to sleep in a bit (not a bad idea since getting enough sleep can improve productivity), you can also use the time to, well, be happy! Whether it’s reading, yoga, exercise, playing with your pet, etc., spending time doing something you enjoy in the morning is a great way to start the day.
Try out a morning yoga routine — you can find many options for free on YouTube. A slow and mindful morning yoga flow can help you focus. Are you feeling stressed? Take some time to meditate before you start reading emails.
Working remotely from your apartment can get claustrophobic, stressful, and repetitive. Break up the monotony with scheduled breaks. If you’re able to, get outside and take a walk around your neighborhood. Not only will this help with the mental stress of working from home, but it will be good for your health too. HR Dive explains, “A new study finds that five-minute walks throughout the workday can lift moods, reduce lethargy and improve overall health, reports the New York Times.”
If you have a call scheduled instead of a video chat, take it while on your walk. This way, you can get a little exercise without missing a beat. If you’re not able to go for a walk, close your laptop, leave your work area and do something different for at least ten minutes. For example, open up a book that has nothing to do with work. Just make sure you set a timer on your phone so you don’t get too lost in the story.
Close for the night
Working from home can obscure the line between your living space and working space. Back when it was safe to go to the office, you had a clear divide. For example, turning off your computer, packing your briefcase, and waving bye to colleagues makes it feel like a conclusion. On the other hand, ending the day while working from home can get ambiguous. There’s no commute; you never left your house, so no need to change; you can even hear work email notification pings emanating from your laptop.
A work-life balance is essential, so make sure you stop working as soon as you’ve put in the required hours. Please turn off your computer, organize your workspace, push in your chair, and don’t think about it until the next day. Doing so will make it feel more like the end of the workday, and you can now transition into apartment life mode. Moreover, try getting out of your apartment for a quick walk once you wrap. Doing so will make it seem like you’re coming home, not to an office.
Another reason to shut it down and get organized at the end of the workday is to keep your apartment from getting disheveled. While you’re working, you want your apartment to feel like an office, but you’ll want it to feel like home once you finish. Put away any work you have spread out around your apartment; don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere.
Please turn it off
We get it; no one likes to work in silence. It’s distracting, boring, and even a little creepy. But turning on the TV isn’t the best solution for everyone. While some people can work just fine with the news on in the background, many of us get too distracted. To avoid silence, turn on some music, a podcast, or open a window to hear the birds. If music is too distracting, try out a white noise machine. A friendly reminder to turn the music off once you start a video conference.
Further, keeping the TV off during the workday will make it more rewarding when you turn off the laptop for the day and relax.
Communicate with your roommates
Whether your roommate is working remotely or still going into an office, your new scenario may come with some challenges. While having company while you work is always welcome, there is the risk of getting distracted or butting heads.
If you’re both working remotely, you need to arrange work areas that won’t impede each other. Secondly, you’ll need to make sure you have a good internet service that will allow more than one person to host video chats, download files, etc., at the same time. Finally, discuss your schedules to make sure they aren’t going to cause any friction. For example, if your job requires you to host calls in the evening, then make sure you’re somewhere that the calls don’t interrupt your roommate’s leisure (and vise versa). As long as you communicate and plan, working remotely with a roommate can be a fun way to bond.
If your roommate is still going into an office, make it clear what times of the day you’ll be working remotely. It should be apparent to your roommate that you are working, not housekeeping. The “But you’ve been home all day. Why didn’t you clean it?” reasoning shouldn’t fly. A remote job is the same responsibility as going into an office, and your roommate should understand that.
Look, it’s been a rough year, so if you don’t want to listen to this bit of advice, we don’t blame you. Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where the kitchen is. And what’s in the kitchen? So many yummy snacks. Now we aren’t implying you skip lunch, it’s essential to eat and stay energized, but one or two trips to the snack cupboard can quickly turn into four or five. You might even start doing it unconsciously since, well, the kitchen is feet from your workspace.
One option is to rethink the snacks you are buying. If you fill your apartment cupboards with chips, cookies, and other not so healthy treats, then you’re going to be tempted to eat them. And high sugar content treats can lead to spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, making you feel sluggish and in need of a nap. That’s why we suggest stocking up on healthier options like fresh fruit and whole wheat crackers.
The healthier you eat, the better you will feel as you work. Check out this list of the best foods for productivity.
Please wear pants
We’ll keep this short and sweet. No matter how tempting it might be, wear pants while you work from your apartment. Not only will you avoid a Zoom conference mishap, but you’ll feel like you’re taking your work seriously. Once you finish your work for the day, you can do whatever you want.
Working remotely from an apartment is challenging, but don’t make it more troublesome than it needs to be. Follow these tips and remember not to be too hard on yourself.