Remote work is a concept that’s here to stay. Even before the pandemic struck, more and more Americans were choosing to telecommute at least part of the time, but working from home presents some challenges to productivity. So it’s time for us to tackle the top tips for working from home effectively!
Whether you’re working from home 100% of the time, or you only go into an office or workplace a few days a week, you want to be productive. Prove to your employer and yourself that you can be just as valuable when working from home. Maybe even more so!
This post has been written by our staff writer, Kate Underwood.
Designate Your Workspace
In order to effectively work from home, you need a designated work area. Setting up at the kitchen table may work temporarily, but it’s not a long-term solution. (Trust me!)
Even if you can’t spare an entire room for your home office, it’s important that you find an area of your home where you can work uninterrupted. This may be a corner of your bedroom or living room, as long as you can set up your work materials and tech and keep your family out of it!
Another one of our tips for working from home effectively is to make your office comfortable for working long periods of time.
Office Equipment You Might Need:
- Comfortable chair
- Sufficient lighting
- Necessary tech (laptop, printer, work phone, etc.)
- Ergonomic keyboard/mouse to protect you from muscle strain
Don’t use this as an excuse to spend a bunch of money to outfit your office; just be strategic in finding what you really need to be productive.
Follow A Schedule
One of the most common tips for working from home effectively is to create—and follow—a work schedule. Laura Vanderkam, an author and speaker who has worked from home for nearly two decades, says that keeping regular hours improves her work productivity.
If your employer dictates your work hours, of course you should adhere to that schedule. But if you’re completely freelance, decide what your working hours will be and stick to that plan.
Dress For Success
Anyone who talks about remote work usually includes the importance of getting dressed. It’s easy to do, though you may be tempted to stay in pajamas all day. You don’t have to wear formal business attire when telecommuting, but be sure to get dressed.
I don’t “dress up” for remote work, but I know I’m more productive if I:
- Put on my contact lenses
- Wear clothes I wouldn’t be ashamed to wear in public
Getting dressed serves as a signal that you’re in work mode, which leads me to the next of our tips for working from home…
Have a Starting and Quitting Routine
Routines are essential in any list of tips for working from home. Establish a few basic routines that signal to you the beginning and end of your workday.
Some suggestions for starting routines:
- Turn on your laptop and get yourself a cup of coffee
- Give your kids and/or spouse a hug before closing the door to your office/workspace
- Look over your planned schedule of tasks for the workday
Suggestions for quitting routines:
- Tidy up your desk and office area for five minutes
- Listen to a song that signals your work day is over
- Write a list of the primary tasks you’ll complete on your next work day
Routines help trigger responses in us that help us to get into “work” mode or back into “personal/family” mode. When working from home, it can be hard to separate work from personal life, but these routines should make it easier.
Aim to increase your productivity by incorporating a few scheduled breaks throughout the day. Breaks offer us numerous benefits, such as improved physical health, increased motivation, and replenished mental capacity.
In an eight-hour workday, you might have a short morning break, a short afternoon break, and a longer lunch break.
- Take the dog for a quick walk.
- Grab a handful of almonds or a healthy snack.
- Do a couple sets of pushups.
- Stand up and stretch.
Taking breaks is a great tip for working from home because it actually improves your focus. You step away and get some distance from the problem or task at hand and return to work refreshed.
To be productive when working from home, set up barriers to common distractions. Try apps that restrict your Internet use. Make sure your family knows your work schedule and not to disturb you. Leave your phone in another room or turn off notifications. Get noise-canceling headphones to drown out certain distracting sounds.
Other distractions to watch out for:
- Social media
- Street noise
- Kids (get childcare if your kids are at home!)
Organize Your Day
Plan your work days with a reasonable number of tasks so as not to overwhelm yourself. Plus, if you can do your most intense work during your most focused time of day, it’s a benefit. (Save email and administrative stuff for later in the day, when you’re not as fresh.)
Of course, this sometimes isn’t possible (hello, pandemic!). But regular childcare or school for your kids will help ensure that you get uninterrupted work time.
Whatever the circumstances, you’ll be most productive in your work if your children are occupied. You may have to be creative with solutions to this issue. If both you and your spouse work from home, for example, you could split the days and while one works, the other watches the kids, and vice versa.
One of the popular tips for working from home effectively is to disconnect properly when work is done. It’s tough to do during this digital age, but protect a portion of your day as tech-free or work-free.
Make this simple for clients and colleagues by adding a simple tag onto your auto-respond email or voicemail message that explains your business hours.
Success in Working From Home
You can achieve success and productivity as a remote worker. You’ll discover some great benefits to the work-at-home lifestyle. By implementing these tips for working from home effectively, you can strike a better balance between work and play, and keep your career on the right trajectory.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.