Work from home master class: How to stay productive

Working from home sounded great when you could do it occasionally, but now just about everyone is in full-blown WFH mode amid the spread of the coronavirus.

If you’re lucky enough to work from home all the time, you’ve got it down. But If you’re a newbie, working from home can be fraught with challenges. There’s no tech support down the hall, and there’s no chatting up your colleague when you’re bored. If you live alone, your place might be quieter than a meditation retreat, but if you and the fam are stuck inside, it might be louder than a rock concert. Remain calm.

To help the uninitiated, here’s an insight on how to adjust to the new work routine.

Make it comfortable

Even if working from home is temporary, consider an inexpensive mobile desk. The Edge Desk is only $399, and a vast improvement over the ergonomic nightmare of working at the kitchen table. If you don’t want to splurge for an office chair, at least make your current seating comfortable.

Surround yourself with what makes you happy

Have fresh flowers on your desk weekly, use incense sticks to relax or an essential oil diffuser and a foot massager. In short make a nice environment around you.

Splurge on nicer beverages or good lunches for yourself since office mates aren’t going to steal your food. (Well, maybe the kids will.) Treat yourself to a pretty water bottle to stay hydrated.

Get better tech

Sharon Angelus, a web analyst in Woodridge who has worked from home for about 10 years, said having bigger monitors and higher internet speeds are a must. She also uses an external hard drive for backing up data; Seagate has a version with 2 terabytes of space for about $90. Cloud-based data backups are another option, and many WFH vets use both.

Jason Patterson of Bucktown works in software and has had a home office for four years. He said better routers, such as Google Nest’s Router, and Wi-Fi extenders are critical. “Home connectivity is extremely important because you’re not going to be at your desk all day. You’ll probably walk around the house to take a call and you might work on the internet in a different part of the house.”

For noise, from the loud neighbor to the everyone’s favorite, the sound of a jackhammer on the street, Patterson swears by noise-cancelling headphones. Look into a wireless set that also has Bluetooth capabilities for phone calls, like the ones from JLab Audio.

Control your day

Part of working from an office is camaraderie, and working from home means no water cooler chitchat. While sometimes that break is good, other times it can be distracting, especially when you’re trying to get work done. Keep a work schedule and include some stretches, short walks and smart HIIT routines in between those busy calls. (source:

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