Crystal Valley Blog

Tips for Working From Home

POSTED March 31, 2020

In a matter of weeks, everyone’s life has turned upside down, thanks to COVID-19. If you’re lucky enough to still be working, chances are you are doing it at home, possibly while sharing your new workspace with your kids. If you’re yearning to feel as organized and professional as you did in your office, we’ve compiled some tips that move beyond the most popular suggestion: do not wear pajamas all day, even if you aren’t scheduled for a video conference. 

It Starts With the Space 

No matter the size of your home, it’s important to designate one area as your office. This boundary is as important for you as for the rest of your family.  Even if you have to refurbish a walk-in closet or use one corner of a room no one frequents, the effort will be worth it. 

Many of the basic things a home office requires are obvious, like a computer and a desk. My Nourished Home goes even further, listing small but essential items like a large paper calendar, a good desk lamp, and a comfortable desk chair. If you need to buy any office necessities, check out local office supply stores, like Office Depot in Castle Rock, that offer free next-day shipping and curbside pickup.

Zoom has been making the viral rounds on YouTube as musicians use it to offer concerts and churches and other groups take advantage of its video options.  also offers audio and video conferencing services so you can have your daily and weekly meetings without losing a beat.

How to Get Stuff Done

In theory, it sounds great. No commute, no one looking over your shoulder. But working at home requires some real discipline, and even the most strong-willed will find themselves tested.

Real Simple magazine suggests setting some basic rules for yourself like no working on the couch, making sure you have good lighting in your work area, and taking regular breaks—including going outside for a walk around the block. If you have a family, letting them in on your schedule—including which part of it makes you available to them—is essential.

For those who have deadlines, getting motivated can be self-propelled by necessity. If your work isn’t time sensitive, productivity can take intentional (super-human?) effort! Business Insider offers a slew of tips on how to stay motivated, from the best tech gadgets to improving communication and managing loneliness.

Martha Stewart (of course) has the six items in your real or makeshift office you should clean regularly – and all the time – not just during a pandemic.

Working with Kids in the Picture

Regardless of your kids’ ages, working from home while littles, tweens and teens are around is an enormous challenge. Experts agree that one of the most important ways to help your children adjust to sheltering at home is establishing a schedule for them to do their own activities or school work. This schedule is also paramount to your success of working at home.

The Today Show offers many tips for helping school-age children keep themselves busy, during which time you can be busy as well. Just make sure to take breaks throughout the day to connect as a family—maybe a short bike ride outside or playing a game together. All work and no play is no fun for anyone!

For younger children, you may need to be more direct—and more imaginative. suggests giving them a visual cue about when you are working and should not be disturbed—they suggest wearing a tiara or tying a bright red ribbon on the doorknob at times when you are unavailable.

Working Online from Home

It’s the new normal—from interviews on TV to your work meetings, everyone is showing up on video without the assistance of the people who make these appearances appealing. The New York Times outlines some of the basic dos and don’ts of online meetings, including becoming familiar with your equipment prior to the meeting.

Compose a Great Frame

The image you send out to the world in video meetings and chats requires some attention. Presenting yourself in a sloppy or unflattering way on video is comparable to walking into a business meeting in clothing you slept in the night before. Here are some tips from the experts at Videomaker to help you present yourself in the best light.

Some basic ways to frame your video image include making sure the background is pleasant and uncluttered, paying attention to lighting (no bright window behind you to put you in silhouette), and spacing yourself the correct distance from the camera to allow for your head and shoulders—no more, no less.

If you aren’t happy with the way you look on screen, Real Simple has some beauty tips about looking your best for video meetings. If you are able to position yourself so that natural lighting is on your face, this will be the most flattering lighting. Some video chat applications like Zoom let you air-brush your appearance and even choose an alternate chic background!

Working at Home in Crystal Valley

Home has become more important than ever as many people are now working from it. For a wide variety of exceptional new homes at Crystal Valley, check out models from Kauffman Homes, Century Communities, D.R. Horton, and Richmond American Homes. Set in wide open natural surroundings with easy access to nearby amenities, there’s a floor plan to fit every home buyer — in ranch and two-story designs, priced from the $300s. 


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