You may be among the millions of U.S. workers who have been abruptly transported from the office to working from home (WFH). While this may be second nature to many, to others, it’s a brand-new concept. If you’re new to WFH, especially if you share an apartment with roommates, you need to devise a plan to be productive, keep the peace with your roomies and maintain work-life balance. The following are some tips for setting up a WFH space that will work for both you and your roommates.
- Set up a dedicated work area. Since all of you can’t work at the dining room or kitchen table, the best option is to create a work space in your bedroom. That way you can close the door which will signal to your roommates that you are busy and will also shield you from the noise of other people working. You’ll need a desk or table and a comfortable, ergonomically-correct chair. This is one area where you don’t want to scrimp, as you’ll be spending a lot on time in this chair. You could check with your employer to see if they have any kind of allowance or budget to assist their WFH employees.
- Set boundaries with your roommates. Agree in advance about work hours and when they realistically begin and end. For example, if you need to work late for a conference call or to complete a big project, ask your roommates to keep the volume down. You should also have your own office supplies, or create a system if you’re going to be sharing a printer, paper, etc. Be considerate. If you use the last of the printer paper, load up the tray or replace an empty ink cartridge.
- Source the right technology. Make sure that your computer can withstand the extra workload. Is it fast enough? Can it accommodate company-issued software or other products you may need to download? You might also be connected to a company VPN, which is a good idea for keeping work separate from personal and also offers a measure of security. Talk to your company’s IT department to make sure everything on your end is good to go. If you and your roommates are all online during the day, bandwidth and speed might become an issue. It would be a good idea to have a group call with your ISP if you suspect there is going to be an overload.
- Create a schedule. Plan your workday just the same as if you were going to the office. The only real difference is that you don’t have to commute. Get up at the same time you normally would, have your coffee, eat breakfast, check your email, the news, etc. Then, start working at the same time you would as you would in the brick-and-mortar office. Allow yourself a lunch break and close up at shop at the same time you usually would at the end of the workday. Exchange schedules with your roommates. Set some grounds rules such as when is it OK to interrupt each other. Emergencies only? Advice on how to word a sentence in a report? Computer help?
- Schedule breaks. For your physical heath and sanity, schedule frequent breaks throughout the day. First of all, it gives you an opportunity to stretch and rest your eyes. If you can, go outdoors. Take a short walk around the property. This is also a good time to talk with your roommates if these is anything you need to discuss that had to be put aside due to work. Avoid any emotionally-charged issues until after work. You don’t need the distraction.
- Leave work at work. Even if you are just moving from your bedroom to the living room. Leave work behind. One drawback of WFH is called work creep. That is when the line between work and personal time start to blur. This can lead to burnout. If it helps, make a plan. At 5 p.m., make a plan with your roommates that you’re going to watch a show on Netflix, go for a run, start dinner, etc. The same thing can apply to the end of the work week. Plan something to look forward to when Friday afternoon rolls around. A lot of companies now have virtual happy hours. You could join in that or plan something fun with your roommates like ordering pizza or trying a new craft beer.
At Vision Communities, we encourage our residents to make our apartment communities home. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment, but the cleaning and assembly are up to you! With apartment communities near Clintonville, Downtown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family.