Working remotely is an increasingly popular practice for many reasons. Whether it be out of convenience or necessity, technology has enabled many of us to do our jobs from the comfort of our homes.

If you are currently working from home for the first time, you may run into some common pitfalls. You may find it difficult to focus or avoid distraction, or simply have a hard time adjusting to the new norm.

Here are some solutions to the challenges of working from home.

Maintain Your Routine

Avoid waking up and starting your day in pajamas. It's very important to get into the right mindset when shifting to work mode, so it’s imperative that you start your day as you normally would. Shower, get dressed, and otherwise go about your normal morning routine. If you typically exercise in the morning, find a workout that you can do at home or go for a run if weather permits.

This does not mean that you should get into business attire when working remotely. Even if you are switching from one pair of sweatpants into another, it’s all about changing into a new mindset and separating your relaxation at home from your work.

Find Your Schedule

That said, working from home grants you a certain amount of flexibility, so take advantage of that by noting what works for you. This will take some trial and error, but once you find your ideal schedule you will settle in just fine.

Some people fair best by hitting the ground running. They get out of bed, get ready, throw on a pot of coffee, and sit at their desks immediately. This could mean you’re online and completing tasks well before the typical 9am start of business. This does limit distractions and puts you on task before you can get sidetracked.

Others need to ease into their day. You may need to make a full breakfast and catch up on the news first or do whatever you normally do before your commute. This gets you in the right mindset and can ease the transition from more traditional office work.

Create Your Workspace

Working from your couch or bed does not cut it for a lot of people. When you’re in these spaces, you are typically relaxing, so they automatically put you in the wrong headspace.

If you have the room for it, create a home office. An actual room is optimal, but not realistic for everyone. Even if you dedicate a corner of your bedroom or living room to a workstation, it could make all the difference. A TV tray or card table can even serve as a desk.

The point is to make a space, no matter how small, where your mind can focus on work.

Step Away

You will need to take breaks when working from home. It’s very easy for personal life and work life to bleed together, as they are now sharing an arena.

When you do stop for lunch or even just a 10-minute coffee break, make sure you are doing it in a place separate from your workstation. This will keep those mental barriers up and allow yourself to fully relax during those breaks. It also puts a more poignant stop at the end of your day. Literally walking away from a desk is a very powerful thing.

Communication is Key

We cannot stress this enough: Talk to your teammates. Utilize tools like Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams to do regular calls and video chats with your coworkers and managers. Hearing a voice and seeing a face can help you to combat the isolation that many feel when they begin to work remotely.

While talking about your strategies and tasks is paramount when working from home, do not limit your conversations. You would have social conversations with your team in the office, so make sure you take the time to do so when you no longer share a space. Begin or end meetings with personal catchups. Make sure you check in with everyone, even when you don’t have business updates.

This makes all the difference for both team chemistry and personal mood when transitioning to remote work.

Shut Off Distractions

It is extremely easy to get distracted at home. For example, for many remote workers turning on the television is a grave mistake. It is very easy to start with just one episode of your favorite show, then suddenly fall into a 3-hour binge.

If you find it difficult to pull away, you now know not to turn it on in the first place. Don’t turn the television on until the end of the day, or even put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode. Set timers for your breaks so you have a definitive end.

This does take some willpower and adjustment, but it makes a huge impact.

Be Organized

Checklists and schedules help many workers in an office setting, but they are even more key when working from home. Even if you communicate regularly, you don’t have coworkers nearby to suddenly remind you to hand in that report, finish that presentation, or even attend that meeting.

Day planners or calendar reminders can be essential here. They’ll keep you on task and help you to plan out your day, which also adds structure to your remote working schedule.

For more career insights like this, browse the Michael Page advice section.