4 Work-From-Home Essentials for Rookies

Because of the 2020 quarantine, teleworking became the new normal practically overnight. While working from home is short-term for some, others may see a more permanent shift in their work culture as organizations see the benefits and success of remotely working.

But with the perks come the pitfalls too, from diminishing productivity to a disappearance of work-life balance. You know the work-from-home fundamentals: shower and dress for the day, break for lunch and create a happy and functional desk space (hello home office tax deduction?)

Once you have those down, you may still be asking, “What else can improve my work-from-home experience?”

Arsenal of Time Management Tools

Distractions that steal your time, like kids or your phone, are the enemy of productivity. Without good time management, procrastination can settle in, or you may work into the evening to meet that deadline, blurring the line between your job and your personal life (which is two thumbs down for your mental health).

If managing your time well isn’t a strength, a time management toolkit can help keep you on track and structured from morning till night. Our recommended tools include a no-fail alarm clock, a to-do list/task tracking app, and game to help you focus, to name a few.

Designated “Vital Stations”

Imagine your house as a vessel in space, like in the “Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You” video. Within this vessel, your physical environment determines what you do. This is why it’s important to divide your physical space into vital stations so you can operate different tasks optimally. For example, turn your desk into a no-snacking work zone; noshing is for the kitchen only.

If your home is on the smaller side, try reshaping a space to fit its function for that time.

  • Is your home office also your bedroom? When it’s time to go to bed, shut down your computer, clean off your workstation and even replace the desk lamp with a plant to give off relaxing vibes.
  • Is the living room where you need to work out before or after your 9-to-5? Transform it into home gym by rolling up the floor rug, moving furniture (if you can), bringing in a mirror or equipment (stored elsewhere), and setting a framed motivational quote on the TV stand.

Best-of-the-Best Office Chair

There’s a rule of thumb that says: “Don’t skimp on anything that separates you from the ground.” The big three are your shoes, your tires and your mattress — and why not add a high-quality office chair to the list? Think about how many hours you spend chained to, err, sitting in your chair. If you’re going to be sedentary, why not live your “best sedentary life” in a comfortable seat? New York Magazine’s “The Strategist” helps readers “shop the Internet smartly” and recommends the best ergonomic office chairs to invest in, according to chiropractors and an orthopedic surgeon. One of these chairs could be your work-from-home life-changer!

Daily “Commute”

What?! Isn’t not having a commute one of the best perks of working from home? We couldn’t agree more, but one silver lining of a commute is the transition between your work-self and your home-self. This is time reserved for when you can mentally prepare for the day ahead in the a.m., and clear your mind by listening to a podcast or music in the p.m.

A fake commute is a boundary, marking a start and finish to your workday. Don’t take this in the literal sense, as in aimlessly driving your car around town (now isn’t the time to waste gas...) It could be a walk outside, and you know that when you return home it’s either grind mode or unwind mode. A walking “commute” is also a great way to get some activity and fresh air in your day.

Working from home is a luxury in theory, but over time, cons can start to reveal themselves. These four necessities can help any remote employee who struggles with home office life. For more tips and tricks, check out Create and Cultivate’s Q&A with WFH experts. These pros make TV and the couch off-limits, commit to cut-off times, connect with colleagues (who can become an accountability buddy!) and divulge other ways that help them win at working from home. Lifehacker also offers a library of WFH articles!

The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.