In this critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have opted, or even mandated, that employees work from home.

Working from home, if possible, is the most ideal situation given the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. Social distancing and reducing the amount of people we’re exposed to is critical to “flattening the curve” and thus reducing the amount of people that need hospital beds all at once.

Although the Breakaway PR team is currently working from home full time, we’ve always had a part-time remote work policy, with the ability to work from home Mondays and Fridays. For a small firm like ours, this system works great. It gives us the flexibility to do anything from client meetings to coffee meetings with the media all while avoiding traffic. 

While those things aren’t exactly relevant for all of the new work-from-home employees these days, here are a few tips and tricks to working from home that should help now and anytime:

Come up with a schedule

It’s important to have a routine when you don’t have natural transitions from one space to another. Plus, breaking up your day makes it more digestible and allows for variety so you don’t get bored and are able to stay focused. This is incredibly useful for those who have found themselves with new, four-legged coworkers during this time. Schedules, one of many dog parent productivity tips, can help set a less disruptive standard for your pets, and can make your work from home relationship a great one.  

Take breaks

When coming up with a schedule, fit in a couple of breaks. Some good ideas for breaks include: taking a walk, sitting outside with a cup of tea, 30 minutes of reading, sitting down for a meal, or calling a friend. Looking forward to a break allows you to reach a natural stopping point and relax, then feel refreshed and refocused when you get back to work.

Create a morning routine 

Often when you work in an office, you have a morning routine that involves getting ready for work followed by a commute. When that is eliminated and you’re supposed to get up and “be at work”, it can blur the lines between home and work modes. Creating a morning routine that mimics this process helps you settle in and make a transition from home to work. This can range from taking a shower and getting ready to having a sit-down breakfast or coffee, listening to a podcast, exercising, or whatever best serves you. 

Clean up your space

It’s hard to be productive if your space is not in order. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll get distracted by the temptation to clean or re-organize a space that isn’t quite right. Your workspace should be clean, organized and free of distractions to the best of your ability. 

Create a home office

For those who never expected to work from home full time, then had to make a quick transition into the space usually used for leisure, this could be a challenge. Your home office does not need to have a desk, file cabinet and a desk lamp, as long as it is a location where you can get the work done. For me, this took trying out several spots and finding the area where I felt most productive.

Have everything you’ll need readily available 

It can become distracting if you need to move to a different spot to plug in your computer or search drawers for a highlighter, so think of everything you might need throughout the day and have it in your “home office” ready to go.

We hope these handy, proven tips can help those who have recently and unexpectedly found themselves working from home. Although extreme circumstances have created the home office for so many, we find ease, happiness and comfort from little things like having our pets join in virtual meetings, working in our pajamas if we want and sending important emails from our favorite spot on the couch. For more tips & tricks, check out Inc. Video and NPR’s Life Kit.