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As many businesses are moving to a largely remote workforce during the recent pandemic, some employees are experiencing a prolonged work from home situation for the first time in their careers.

Thoughts of working on the couch in your PJs, no commute, and cuddling with your dog while you respond to emails dance in your head, but then the reality hits, and you might get kind of bored or stir crazy and yearn for those little chat breaks you get organically when you work in an office.

Picture of a dog working behind a computer

So, how can you stay productive (and sane) while you work from home? We asked our coworkers for their best tips!

Set Up a Dedicated Workspace

When you’re working from home, it’s important to set up a dedicated space to work in that you can leave once your “workday” is done. This is what Blake Jackson, an account manager for strategic healthcare accounts, does to keep his day structured and productive.

“I like to keep my workspace and my living space separate,” said Jackson.

It’s okay if you don’t have a home office — you can set up shop at your kitchen table or island. As long as it’s a place you can leave at the end of the day so you’re not transferring from one spot on the couch to the other.

Create a Desk Set Up that Mirrors Your Office One

If you feel really productive at your desk at the office, it can be hard to transition to a new location without all the comforts you may find at work.

Dan An, an account manager, created a set up at home that closely matches his set up at the office, with two monitors, a space to take notes, and an area for his phone.

And, if you don’t have access to two monitors at home, our coworker Elizabeth Fuchs, from the content and experiential marketing team, has a great solution — Duet Display (get it here).

“This desktop app makes your iPad or tablet a second screen with a single click. All you have to do is plug your tablet into your laptop with your charging wire!” said Fuchs.

If a dual monitor isn’t what you’re missing, there are tons of other tools out there that can help you maximize your work from home experience.

Avoid Distractions with a Set To-Do List

When you work from home, especially if you’re not used to it, it can be easier to get distracted. You see a pile of laundry or your gaming system calling to you, and you want to step away from your work.

Ro Arroyo, a manager of client advocacy, combats this with a more structured workday and a set to-do list.

“You have to have self-discipline, or you won’t achieve those necessary work milestones while you’re working from home,” said Arroyo.

Establish a Routine that Works for You

Similar to creating a set to-do list, it’s also important to create a structure for your day. Heidi Hickman, a brand manager, gets up early and accomplishes some household chores, like making the beds, emptying the dishwasher, and planning dinner before the workday starts.

“I’m a neat freak, and I know those things will distract me during the day if they’re not done,” said Hickman.

She also stresses that it’s important to find the routine that works for you. Some employees go to the gym before the workday starts so they feel refreshed and energized throughout the day.

Others take a lunch break to go on a walk, like Tracy Oswald, VP of Content & Experiential Marketing.

“I find that starting my workday early and taking a break around noon to walk around my neighborhood gives me the energy and inspiration I need to finish out the day strong,” said Oswald. “Plus, it’s great to get some vitamin C when I’m spending most of my day inside.”

Stay Hydrated & Healthy

When you work from home, it can be easy to sit at your workspace without any breaks for snacks, water, or just to give your eyes a rest from staring at the computer.

But those are all important things for staying sane (and healthy!) while you’re working remotely.

Jack Urquizu, a software services consultant, is working from home for his first time and finds that it’s harder to take those short breaks.

“I typically would get water with my coworkers so we could catch up and stretch our legs,” said Urquizu. “But now that I’m home, it’s harder to remember to do that.”

Obviously, staying hydrated won’t keep you from getting sick, but it does have a number of health benefits that you don’t want to miss out on.

Change Out of Those PJs

We know, this isn’t the most popular tip, but many of our coworkers agreed that getting up and getting dressed just like you’re going to the office can help put you in the right headspace to be productive throughout the day.

“I’m a big fan of yoga pants and sneakers, which I would not wear to the office, but my top, jewelry, hair, make-up is all office-ready. That way, I’m prepared for a video conference call or dashing out at 5 to take my son to basketball,” said Hickman. “I find that it helps set my intention for the day and makes me more productive vs. staying in sweats.”

Jackson agrees. “I have to change out of my PJs in the morning and into work clothes. It really helps get me into the work mindset.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and have a productive, happy, and healthy work from home experience.

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