By Meredith Shubel

For a lot of people, working from home is the ultimate dream set-up: You have no commute; you can work in your pajamas; and you’re in close proximity to your own fridge and an endless supply of snacks. At Caster, many of my co-workers regularly work from home at least one day during the week, and I do, too, when the New England weather is really bad or I’m having car trouble.

But while I certainly love being able to skip out on my long commute, it can feel a bit strange sometimes to work outside of your normal routine.

The next time you have to work from home (whether by plan or surprise), try these 3 tips to help you get connected and stay productive:

1. Don’t wear your pajamas.

As tempting as it may be to stay comfy in your pajamas throughout the work day, if you want to feel as productive as you do in the office, this isn’t the best approach. While some of my co-workers favor business-casual-on-the-top and sweatpants-on-the-bottom to still look spiffy even during video calls, I need to get up and at ‘em in my full, regular working attire if I’m going to really get my head in the game.

Sticking to my normal routine, even when I’m working from home, makes it feel like I’m preparing for a typical work day, which helps me get energized and focused in the morning.

2. Try to empty out the house.

Admittedly, this can be difficult if you live with your family or you have roommates, as they might not be operating on the same work schedule as you. But if you’re going to treat the day like an honest-to-goodness 9-to-5, you need to clear out all distractions.

If you can’t be alone at home, at least make it clear to all parties that, even though you’re “here,” you’re not “really here.” Noise-cancelling headphones? Those are a good bet, too.

3. Make your own “office.”

I find that when I work from home, I want to create—as much as I can—the illusion that I’m really in my little Caster cubicle. I don’t have the space in my apartment to actually have a separate office, but I do the next best thing: I commandeer the kitchen table—at least for the next eight hours.

I load it up with all of my office supplies (I’m a big fan of lots of different colored pens and highlighters) and, generally, do my best to mimic my luxurious dual-screen setup at work. I admit, working on my smaller laptop screen isn’t my favorite, but I try to not give myself carpal tunnel by ditching the trackpad for a real Bluetooth mouse.

The point is that I create a space that’s completely full of work, so that this is no longer my cozy kitchen table—this is my office.

Do you ever work from home? Share your tips for getting into the 9-to-5 mindset with me on Twitter @merryshoebell.

Note: This article was republished with permission from Meredith Shubel – it originally appeared here.

(Header image: CC0 License via Pixabay).

Meredith is Technical Writer/Account Coordinator at Caster Communications, a modern public relations, marketing and social media agency that specializes in helping electronics and technology clients expand their global reach. She writes about FIR thermal technology for autonomous vehicles, open standards for vision and machine learning, and PCB manufacturing and assembly.