Lately more and more offices are becoming “global” and allowing employees to work from home wherever they are. As a result, lots of people are taking the option of working from home at least part of the time and, according to this Stanford study, increasing their productivity.

If you’re considering it, don’t let the fact that you’re living in a small apartment deter you. Not everyone needs a home office to be productive, but here are some things you WILL need to do:

Listen to Podcasts

It’s tempting to turn the TV on just for background noise, but pretending Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe are you co-workers is a BAD idea. Seriously. It’s way too easy to look up for one minute and realize you got sucked into a plot line twenty minutes later.

Instead replace the chatter of television with a podcast. If you’re doing a project that requires little mental focus, choose an engrossing series like Radiolab or This American Life. Both offer gripping tales that keep you from getting bored without having to look away from your screen.

If your work requires you to focus on creating, I love podcasts like Stuff You Missed In History Class and Pop Culture Happy Hour. They’re easy to tune in and out of, plus you pick up a few interesting facts to use next time you’re gathered around a real-life water cooler.

 

Make a to-do list that includes distractions

On the occasion that I work from home, physical to-do lists have made it so much better. I suggest sitting down and writing one out at the start of the day that includes personal to-do items, like wash the dishes or take out the trash.

Honestly, one of the best perks of working from home is that you can take a quick 5 minute break to do something productive. However you don’t want to let these mental recesses distract you constantly.

I get around it by setting goals, like if I check two things off my to-do list it’s time to vacuum. Typing it out, that seems like a pretty lame reward…but I’m telling you; it feels good to get little tasks done between real work.

Invest in a good chair

It’s ideal to have a separate desk/work station, but I promise you it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have the space. Using your kitchen table or a standalone laptop stand can work just fine if you have one essential item: a nice office chair.

Despite the delusions of the office truthers, working from home doesn’t mean sitting on your couch all day. In fact, that’s a recipe for all sorts of back and neck problems. Not to mention it’s just actually really hard to type from a reclined position. If you have a comfortable chair it’s easier to settle in and designate the time you’re sitting in it as “work time.”

Look for a chair that does double-duty by accenting your decor and working as a normal dining-room-table chair, but is also really comfortable to sit in for 8 hours. I like this, this, and this.

Have the right setup for remote meetings

Video conferencing is great. Thanks to modern technology you can basically hang out with your co-workers face-to-face even if you’re across the country. I think two things are key for office where people like to video conference:

  1. Good internet. Upgrade your internet to the best available in your area and everyone’s lives will be much better.
  2. A nice place to remote in from. I know I just told you that it doesn’t matter if you have a designated office, but you should at least have a spot in your apartment with a nice background for everyone to look at. It can be as simple as moving your table against a blank wall or you can get a little fancy with a room divider if you have roommates who might be walking by.

 

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Amanda has worked as a journalist, an SEO copywriter, and a social media specialist. Her aim as a Four Walls contributor is to provide something worth reading and create a community for people who lease and love it. She’s also a real person, not just a mysterious internet writer, who loves silversmithing, podcast-binging, and trying to figure out how to fix her rented apartment’s bad linoleum floor (see, just like you!)