5 Tips for Working From Home in Your Houston Apartment
With COVID-19 in full swing, most of us are working from home as a social distancing measure. But for some of us, catching coronavirus almost seems preferable to the torture of putting in a full workday in a small 1 bedroom apartment. Add kids, a significant other, and maybe a pet (or two) to the mix, and you have got the makings of a long and rough quarantine.
To help you cope, we put together a few pointers for being productive, making the best use of your space, and staying healthy (as much as possible). These are all tips you can employ today. No lead time required, and without having to go anywhere or buy anything…
#1: Do you have bad service? Try wifi calling
Being giant boxes of metal and concrete and other wave-blocking materials, apartments are famously bad for getting a cellphone signal. If you have this issue, try calling via an app such as Whats App or Google Hangouts. But if your conversation partner doesn’t have a particular app or if you just want a simpler solution, try wifi calling.
Wifi calling is exactly like “normal” cellphone calling except instead of the carrier signal the phone uses your wifi connection. All the major carriers offer wifi calling and most modern smartphones are equipped with the capability; you will just need to turn it on in your settings if it is not on already. You will be able to use your pre-existing phone contacts and the call will come through as a normal call from you on the other end.
#2: For your health: Take lots of breaks
If you are new to working from an apartment, it’s easy to forget what you (should) know to be true about your health when it comes to work. In an office, you may be coming and going to and from meetings, taking calls, and hanging by the watercooler…If you are home alone, you’ll be surprised to find how easy it is to plant yourself somewhere and not budge for hours.
You need to be looking away from your computer screen for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes for the health of your eyes, and standing up every 20-30 minutes for all kinds of health benefits. If you need reminders, there are lots of free tools to be found online. Something that works well that also helps you kill two birds with one stone is to do laundry: get up once to start it, once to move it to the dryer, once to fold it, etc. Or mix in other chores such as vacuuming or sweeping; whatever it takes to stretch your legs and shake things out a bit. Or if laundry isn’t doing it for you try and take a few walks here and there. The weather around this time (at least in Texas) is beautiful. Enjoy the fresh air and regroup. It will also make the day go by faster.
#3: For normalcy: Keep to a Routine
Those who work from home even when pandemics aren’t threatening the survival of humanity have long maintained their routines as if they are actually going into an office. When you are working from home, it can be very tempting to wake up 5-10 min before you need to be working. You should still keep your routine as if you were going to the office. For example, wake up, make a cup of coffee (or two), shower and get ready. Now, the most important thing we have learned is work comfortably! If this means sweatpants or leggings, THAT IS OK! (We get it!) Just make sure you look presentable and put together.
#4: For cramped quarters: Convert a closet to a mini office
We’re in uncharted territory with this quarantine stuff, and you may have to get creative when it comes to making your apartment work as an office. Or at least rip off other creative people, like this couple, who transformed a hall closet into a workspace with a few wall-mounted shelves. You might even be able to get by with just one shelf for a laptop and a mouse.
When it’s time to move out (or you finally get to go back to work), take the shelf down and welcome back your closet.
#5: For parents: Meet your neighbors
As you were already aware if you are one, being a parent in an apartment is a special kind of challenge. Now, it’s harder than ever, with school, parks, daycare centers, and other outlets for kids largely shut down and the little ones being stuck inside.
If you’re on social media, there are tons of free “entertainment” resources floating around the web right now, as well as workout and exercise videos for them to burn off some of that endless energy. Personal trainer Joe Wicks’ Youtube channel is a popular source for kids PE videos ranging from 5-15 minutes each, but longer videos are available with a little more searching.
This leads us to our tip: As your neighbors above or below you may be unaccustomed to the sound of children jumping around while they’re trying to work from their apartment, write them a quick note just to explain the situation and what times they can expect to hear stomping or loud music. You might also drop a line to your landlord just in case. Everybody is going through this craziness so you should be able to rely on some grace and understanding, but it never hurts to be proactive. And it’s harder for your neighbor to make a complaint about somebody they’ve met face-to-face than it is a total stranger.
Ready for a change of scenery? Call us today at 713.882.5222 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an apartment tour.