Here's how to stay productive while working from home

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has a lot of people practicing social distancing. For many, that means working remotely from home in an effort to avoid spreading the virus. While working from home seems like the dream for many, there's a lot more to it than the ability to start your day in bed and go about your day without even putting pants on if you don't feel like it.

There are a lot of perks to working from home, but it can also be much harder to stay focused in that environment. How can you maximize productivity while working from home?

Set up a dedicated workspace while working from home

While it might be tempting to work from your bed or on the sofa, setting up a dedicated workspace that you can leave at the end of your workday can help you stay focused. "It definitely helps if you have a dedicated space for working from home," remote worker Matt Haughey told Time. "I started doing this kind of work sitting at a desk in the middle of my living room of a small San Francisco apartment 20 years ago, and it was a pain to stay on task and not get interrupted."

Not everyone has the space to set up a home office, but you can always turn a kitchen table or a counter into a temporary workspace.

People also recommends sticking to a routine. As cozy as working in pajamas sounds, getting dressed and sticking to set working hours can help put you in a more work-oriented mindset.

Stay social while working from home

Humans are social beings and, while social distancing means we should avoid other people, that doesn't mean we don't still need human interaction. Durham University's Dr. Thuy-vy Nguyen studies the effects of solitude on people and recommends finding ways to stave off loneliness while working from home. She told Time that this could mean calling a colleague when you feel the urge to talk to someone, or maybe getting on a video call with a friend.

People recommends setting some ground rules if you have roommates at home who will inevitably be in your workspace. While having people around can help things feel less isolating, it can also be a distraction. If small talk during your workday is a no-no, make that clear. Also establish boundaries from the beginning, like how loudly you can play music during work hours.