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How to work effectively from home for the first time? Try these best practices to stay focused, inspired and connected

Over the last few weeks, several companies have expanded their policies for working from home for employees who may be at risk of contracting the coronavirus (Covid-19). In fact, working from home has become a growing trend for many people in the creative industries, not just freelancers.

Home office vs. Regular office

For artists, there are benefits to both working at home and in the office. If you work in a creative office, you can easily collaborate during a quick brainstorming session, for example. But working from home, you need to look for other sources of inspiration.

For those of us who have just started working from home, we will outline some best practices that help us stay motivated.

Tip # 1: Resist the urge to start working the moment you wake up

When you sleep next to the phone that connects you directly to the office, thanks to communication apps like Slack or Google Hangouts, you may be tempted to dive into your work straight away after waking up. But this is not the most effective way to start your day. Not only do you not give yourself time to wake up, you also go straight from active rest to a thought process. That definitely won’t spark creativity.

Tip # 2: Dress as if you were going to the office

It doesn't take much - a clean shirt, comfortable trousers and proper preparation for the day can make the world look different. Not only do you get the feeling that you are out of your home, but your colleagues will also appreciate how you look when you join the video meeting looking like a pro and ready to get things done. Put on your favorite pair of earrings or that favorite sweater, something that will inspire you to create.

Tip # 3: Clear your mailbox and get rid of all notifications

Get a clean start to begin thinking creatively and working on new or existing projects without worrying about something that needs your immediate attention.

Tip # 4: Make a professional work area

When working from home, it can be quite tempting to work from the most comfortable place you can find. Often this is the sofa but believe us: your back will thank you if you avoid the sofa at all costs.

Create a workspace that shows you have left of your daily home routine and are a work. It is understandable that you may not have an office in your home or even a room where you can go to work. But you may have a favourite spot that inspires you.

This may be a small desk in your bedroom. Place a candle with your favourite scent, a huge bottle of water to help you hydrate, a plant to add some oxygen to the air, as well as your favourite notebook and pen. Find a place where you feel comfortable and focused, where you switch to work mode instead of home mode.

Add something professional behind your back when you join in video conversations with colleagues, whether it's a single-color wall or some bookshelves. You don't want a messy bed in the background when you talk about your latest project, do you?

Tip # 5: Office Entertainment? Welcome to your own household

If you feel like you are stuck in a creative block, it may be helpful to hit the restart button on your “you-time”. Do 60-seconds of meditation, a five-minute yoga routine, or walk the dog around the building. Avoid thinking about work for just one moment to refocus on the tasks you need to accomplish. Although you may not be able to participate in office fun, working at home can have its benefits.

Tip # 6: Write down your intentions for the day

Working from home means being self-motivated. It may take hours before you speak with a colleague. Or maybe you work completely independently. One thing that helps you concentrate and motivate yourself is to make a list and then number it in terms of priority for the tasks you need to accomplish.

A to-do list is a great way to check what you're doing and motivate yourself to keep going. We often forget how much work we do in a day when we work from home. Don't be afraid to keep a checklist of all the things you accomplish during the day. We guarantee it's probably more than you think.

Tip # 7: Chat online with colleagues and freelancers

If you work at home, find a way to communicate with colleagues. Use office communication applications like Slack or Basecamp to keep in touch with the people you work with. Don't be afraid to send a fun meme or two to develop relationships, even with your colleagues abroad.

If you are a freelancer and do not have a dedicated team, look for freelance groups that you can be a part of in your creative industry. There are many clubs and resources created for freelancers to meet and share tips to stay motivated, connected and build a business.

Tip # 8: If you are struggling to focus, seek help

You may be reading this because you have to work from home temporarily, potentially because of the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19). If this is the case, this is an entirely new experience, and it can be quite a hassle.

While this list of best practices for working from home may be helpful for some of you, everyone works differently, and it's important to do your research and find out what works best for you.