Now is a great time to shift from the mindset that working from home will be just for a while to this will be my new normal.

The long-term work-from-home arrangement occurs for many workers, even with the global pandemic subsiding and more workers going back into the office.

It is becoming more evident that working from home will continue. Most companies will shift toward a hybrid model of one or two days in the office and the rest of the week working from home.

Companies such as Facebook, Spotify, Microsoft, Salesforce, Twitter, and Slack all have plans for a long-term remote workforce beyond this year.

That’s why this year is critical to do some things to make sure that work from home feels good for you, and you become productive in the long term.

If you struggled to work from home during the pandemic and as this setup becomes more permanent for you, you must plan for a thriving work environment.

These five tips will help you officially settle into the new normal of working.

1. Establish a Daily Routine

A productive daily routine positively impacts your mental and physical health. Routines lower stress levels, help you get better and more sleep, boost your productivity, and encourage healthy habits.

A repetitive, consistent daily routine can help you boost your work performance and give you the motivation you need to succeed. There are 20 little things that you can add to your daily routine that are easy to adopt. Creating rituals is an excellent way to build structure into your day and stay disciplined while you are working from home.

One of the most critical parts of your day in the morning. It would be helpful if you train your brain to have a better morning routine so you are not a zombie during the day. It’s good to re-evaluate your morning routine every once in a while; you have the mental and physical energy you need to conquer the day.

A critical part of establishing a daily routine is building high-quality habits because when a habit is formed, your brain goes on autopilot and stops making decisions. With more than 40% of the actions we perform every day being habits, it’s essential to develop good ones.

2. Act Like You Are Going into the Office

The mental shift for permanent remote work is critical to your success. It is helpful if you are in the right state of mind as you make work from home permanent. It would be best if you acted like you are going into the office.

There are three critical parts you should think about:

  • How to prevent social isolation
  • How to separate your work area from the rest of your house
  • Why getting dressed and eating breakfast every day is critical

To prevent isolation, force yourself to organize coffee or lunch meetings with family, friends, and colleagues.

Shift your workplace from the couch, kitchen table, or bedroom and find a separate room in your house that makes it “feel” like you are working. Research says 43% of employees find that a dedicated work area boosts their productivity at home.

To help you get in the work “state of mind,” it is essential that you get dressed like you are going to work and you eat breakfast — the most important meal of the day.

3. Take Many Breaks Throughout the Day

When you work and live in the same place, it’s straightforward not to go anywhere for hours. You stay in the same place for a while without moving. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure you get the recommended amount of exercise of 30 minutes a day and take frequent breaks.

This will help you reduce stress, increase focus, sharpen retention, and improve your creativity. You need to get up and move around during the day. Set alarms during the day, take a walk around the neighborhood, do push-ups and sit-ups, and stretch. There are many ways you can take a great break from work and improve your physical and mental health.

4. Create a Conducive, Separate Physical Work Area

Working from home blurs the lines between work and home life. You may not know the difference after a while. Therefore, it would help if you created a separate space from the other parts of your hours. This should be a “special room” that is dedicated to working.

Once you have a conducive work area, make sure you have all the resources you need at work, such as a big enough desk for your monitor, phone, printer, or other tools. You may also want to invest in a standing desk. This type of desk reduces back and neck pain lowers your risk of heart disease and obesity. Research shows that employees with standing desks are 45% more productive.

Separating your work and home life is more than just physical separation; it also helps you establish mental separation for specific hours of the day. You will be less likely to lose discipline, you’ll remove distractions from other places in the house, and you’ll feel more comfortable working.

5. Time Block

Time management can be a challenge working from home. An average American works 8 hours a day, according to research by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, most people are not working much of the time, according to the research of almost 2,000 full-time office workers. The top three unproductive activities during the day are reading news websites, checking social media, and discussing non-work-related things with colleagues.

It’s ok to be non-productive during the day as long as you time block your day. It will make you more productive. Time blocking is time chunking where you plan out your day in advance and dedicate specific times of the day to certain activities such as interacting with colleagues, checking email, taking a break, doing deep work, and spending time with your family and friends.

When you have a dedicated amount of time to do something, such as 15 minutes to write, 10 minutes to check email, and 20 minutes for socializing, you’ll give the activity more concentration and be more productive.

Bringing It All Together

Now is an excellent time to get settled for the long-term work-from-home setup. If you establish a daily routine, act like you are going into the office, take many breaks during the day, create a separate workspace, and time block, you’ll be successful.

Preparing for this long-term transition is about getting you mentally and physically ready, so you start to love working from home. Working from home permanently doesn’t have to overwhelm you. You can feel good about it, and you will become more productive at work.