When you work from home, the biggest plus point is the increased flexibility. But this luxury can often turn into a missed opportunity if not handled carefully. Keeping that in mind, we bring you some essential work from home tips you can easily follow at home.
They say work-from-home can be the litmus paper to your productivity. Most people believe that efficiency is somewhere lost due to the comfort that remote work provides.
But this is not necessarily true. You do not lose productivity because of that, but rather due to failing to master the basics.
Many would also argue that intrinsic motivation is essential when working from home to complete tasks efficiently and on time.
When you work from home, you are less likely to step out of your home and go through a typical work routine.
You must get your basics right to follow a well-organized routine and avoid compulsions.
Here are the 23 tips that will help you get going when you are working from home.
1. Get Ready for Your Work Day
What is your favorite outfit when working remotely?
Is it pajamas? If yes, we aren't judging you at all. It's the ideal work-from-home outfit for staying in your comfort zone while still getting things done. And dressing up is something that people do not bother about while working from home.
But that's not how it should be. You must get ready for your work as you usually do. Casual dresses or pajamas are great, and they give you comfort and a sense of freedom. But donning sweatpants may not help you to stay productive if you wear them for 48 hours straight.
Screenshot Source: Twitter
While it is not necessary to dress as formally as you would for work, but simply changing your clothes will signal you to wake up and get to work.
Our brains are wired in such a way that when making a decision, it takes cues from our social and personal outlook. When you dress up for your work, you give the brain a reason for doing it. It's like a natural alarm that can keep you alert throughout the day.
Getting dressed includes all the appearance-based tasks — taking a shower, doing your hair, and minimal makeup. These factors make you look presentable.
Besides, working from home does not mean that people cannot see you. You might be asked to show up for video meetings which are very common these days.
You are all set!!
2. Choose a Proper Home office
What is the best thing about working from home? Most probably, the level of comfort you can get by working from anywhere, like the living room or the bedroom.
But do you know that this comfort can come at the cost of lost productivity, focus, and target goals?
Homeworking is convenient for many as they can coop up in their bed or couch. But with our messed up sleep schedules, it becomes really hard to focus or even resist falling asleep.
That way, you can either give in to your lethargy - which is highly demotivating - or decide to come out of the enticement of your typical home setting. The latter is always better and more productive.
Screenshot Source: Twitter
You might sit at any place, start working on your task list, and all of a sudden, a movie or an ad plays on TV. What is your instant reaction?
You turn around and take a glimpse, thus creating a distraction. It is likely possible to happen every now and then if you choose a random spot to work. Distractions in remote working flow in every way.
Therefore, having a particular space all to yourself will do a great deal.
A dedicated workspace will enable you to keep yourself oriented to your work by providing an office-esque environment.
Because in the end, concentration is the key to effective outcomes.
3. Install Quality Technology
Working remotely can have its pros and cons.
As much as we love working at our own pace, a poor internet connection or an outdated system can get frustrating.
What happens if you lose your internet connection or your system crashes while attending an important meeting?
It can be a very embarrassing situation that reflects poorly on your professionalism.
Good internet connectivity or a working system are the ultimate tools for remote workers. Just like a poor wifi connection, if your machine crashes and starts disrupting your work every now and then, it can break the momentum.
However, to obtain a strong network or a long-lasting system, it is best to conduct thorough research on the specifications, speed, and price before deciding.
The rules are pretty simple.
- Do thorough research on all plans provided by the internet providers
- Look them up on various e-commerce sites
- Study the requirements
- Get recommendations from friends and peers
- Go through with the purchase
- Invest in an affordable device from a genuine brand of technology with good features
- Make sure it possesses the latest version of the processor and operating system
- Keep it with utmost care
See? It's not that tough now, is it? Just a minute study on the quality of the technology you use at home.
Quality is the pride of workmanship. ~W. Edwards Deming
4. Maintain consistent Working Hours
How often do you lose track of time while working from home? Almost every day, right?
When your mind is completely focused on work, you may be unaware of the passage of time.
However, this is an unhealthy practice. Being a workaholic is good, but only during working hours. You should try not to overdo it.
A good work-life balance is a very important factor when working from home. Your personal life is just as important as your professional life.
You should always make a routine of your workdays and working hours, and it has to be prepared so that you can follow it with ease.
You may have days when you need to complete a large amount of work. In that case, you can either request an extension from your manager or extend your work timings for that day.
But doing this daily can be harmful as working overtime can stress you out, both physically and mentally.
Like they say," All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"- do not let yourself become a Jack.
Working tirelessly every day past your work hours to meet deadlines and depriving yourself of social life is detrimental. Flexible work hours are what we all need.
It's the simplest rule yet the toughest to follow.
- Set your alarm for the time one hour before your office hour
- Freshen up and do the needful before settling in your workspace
- Before going ahead with work, set the timer for the end of your work time
- Perform your tasks with full dedication
- Shut your laptop down, as soon as the timer kicks in
- Move away from your workplace and call it a day
5. Eat & Sleep right
One of the perks of working from home is free access to the kitchen. As soon as it is time for breaks, you gravitate towards it to grab snacks. However, this practice does not benefit you in any way in the long run.
Being on a healthy diet is essential when you are a working person. Therefore, you must eat food that helps you function better instead of draining your energy.
When you're at work, you tend to make healthier choices. Eating in the cafeteria or bringing a lunch box makes it easier to make a conscious decision to eat better. However, at home, indulging yourself becomes the norm.
As a result, you should keep yourself in check and be on a good diet.
- Eat energizing meals for lunch- iron (leafy green vegetables), protein (fish, meat, eggs), and complex carbohydrates (legumes & whole grains)
- Include fruits, nuts & berries together with some juice in your diet
- Set daily reminders to drink at least 7-8 glasses of water
Also, one of the most crucial activities which go unnoticed while working from home is your sleep pattern. It might take a toss when you work from home.
Your sleep time often gets compromised between work and binge-watching.
But maintaining a proper sleep schedule is imperative if you aim to deliver the best results. It keeps your head clear.
Save your binge-watching plans for the weekend. And get started with your healthy routine.
- Go to bed at a definite time
- Try to get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep
- Follow it every day until it becomes a habit
Additionally, when working from home, resist the temptation to oversleep and start your day early.
When you have a demanding work schedule, it's common to have a poor sleep schedule. Try to take short naps if that is the case.
So, all you need is the right food to keep your energy high and good sleep to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Sufficient sleep, exercise, healthy food, friendship, and peace of mind are necessities, not luxuries. ~Mark Halperin
6. Set a Morning & Evening Routine
Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being. ~Greg Anderson
If you are a night owl, it surely becomes highly exhausting to wake up early for work. Sleeping for less than 6 hours can make you feel tired and irritated.
Sleep deprivation leads to a loss of concentration.
So, what is it that will help you solve this?
Working on your sleep schedule, of course, that's the first. A night of good and sound sleep is your utmost need.
Also, the next best alternative to use for better concentration is Meditation.
Yoga and meditation in the early morning have always proved to be constructive. It strengthens focus, improves self-awareness, and reduces stress levels.
Here are some ideas that you can incorporate into your morning routine:
- Wake up one hour before your working hour
- Freshen up
- Have some tea/coffee
- Lay a mat on the floor
- Sit on it and fold your legs
- Keep your backbone straight
- Close your eyes
- Meditate for 5-10 minutes
Tada! It's done. Now you can kickstart your day off with a clear mind.
Likewise, meditation is a wonderful thing to end your day with. After a long day of work, both your body and mind are tired, and you crave some relief at the moment.
The clock strikes 6 pm- assuming that you get off work. And it is a time-out!
- Be clear of your work desk
- Drink some water
- Wash your face
- Sit on the yoga mat
- Meditate for 5 minutes
And you are good to go!
Suggested: 13 Mindfulness Meditation Exercises To Improve Your Employees Well-being
7. Prepare a To-do list/Planner
You are surely familiar with the term To-do list. What is it exactly?
It is nothing but an index of tasks to be finished on the following day, organized in order of priority. A planner is more or less the same thing.
Both are two sides of the same coin.
Working remotely recommends you to keep track of how you spend every hour of your day. Self-tracking lets you understand when you are more productive and where you are wasting your precious time.
Creating a to-do list would efficiently keep track of your progress. You can then do the more critical tasks in your precise, productive hours.
You can design the list as per your preference. The critical task should be treated as the highest priority and worked on at the earliest.
As you complete one goal after another, check them off the list, indicating that you are making progress.
This keeps your focus intact, thereby improving your knowledge and making the work seem doable. And you look forward to accomplishing the rest of the duties.
Similarly, a planner or a calendar is an accountability tool- to keep track of meetings, deadlines, and appointments. This way, you do not have to devote headspace to constantly remembering your office chores.
A to-do list and a planner are crucial for positive reinforcement, whether for work or non-work activities.
- Write or type in your To-do list & a planner/calendar because keeping track of multiple details is not easy
- Create it systematically so that it is easily understandable
- Share the planner with your coworkers to notify them of the time you have blocked out on the calendar for official work
Working from home requires holding yourself accountable for every minute of your assigned work. Prioritizing and scheduling your work can help you achieve the best results.
8. Exercise regularly
One way to increase your performance at work is to be proactive. And regular exercise can help you do that.
Adopting the habit of regular exercise is beneficial for your personal and professional life. You increase blood flow to the brain while you work out, which helps sharpen your mind and keep you alert.
The whole concept of work from home has given rise to social isolation, which has affected people's mental health to a great extent. In such a case, staying fit should be considered a topmost priority.
Exercise heightens your endorphin levels which boosts your happiness, contentment, and interest levels- all of which are important for being successful in your personal and professional life.
So, try to take some time out and exercise, even if it is for 15 minutes. Move your muscles or go for a long walk, whatever sounds feasible for you.
- Wake up early in the morning
- Choose a proper wide spot so that it's not congested
- Exercise for 15 minutes
- Repeat the same routine on the next day and increase the time duration
Generally, you might not be motivated to exercise daily when you work from home.
What you need is a push from yourself for your physical wellbeing.
9. Take a few Breaks
Working like a robot for 8 hours straight reduces productivity. You can devote all of your time to work, but if there are no recesses and breaks, you will be unable to deliver the best results.
Because if you don't give your mind and body a break, your energy will be depleted. In the end, you will be physically and mentally exhausted.
When you are in the office, it is really common to yearn for breaks for your mind to relax. But at home, the structure is different.
Your work-time can often get tangled with your break-time for the routine gets messy while working remotely. This is why you should set a precise time for breaks.
Do not drain your brain muscle by constantly sitting in one place for work. The stress can get hold of you anywhere.
Just move around and keep yourself active throughout the day.
Take breaks at definite intervals, walk around, play with your pet or maybe listen to some music. It is purely scientific. Your prefrontal cortex (the thinking part of the brain) needs breaks to avoid decision fatigue and maximize production capacity, along with amplifying your creativity.
- Add a proper break-time schedule to your planner
- Specify how much time duration is assigned to each break
- When the clock strikes the specified time, stop with your work instantly
So, pay attention to how you spend your time and take those brief breaks to refresh and renew yourself. You can even launch a timer on your device's screen in a way that would lock you out of your computer during breaks.
10. Take a stroll during lunch break
Working full time from home can be exasperating for your mind to keep your attention in one place.
You get tea breaks, lunch breaks, and your colleagues to have small talks within the office. But the home office life is totally different.
When you work from home, you tend to focus on your goals for the day, and there is no certain planned break.
Sometimes a heavy workload may lead you to skip lunch and short breaks. If you find yourself in such a situation, make sure to take frequent breaks and not skip meals.
The best suggestion would be to go out or take your pet for a walk on any other normal day. However, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, that would not be very wise.
What you can do, in place of that, is take a stroll on the lawn, home campus, or your terrace.
You are free to go outside, provided you take the required safety measures, maintain social distancing and avoid crowds. All you need is your body to move to prevent inactiveness.
The natural light and fresh air outside are refreshing—something we all need after a long day at work.
When you don't have a reason to go out, lunch breaks can come in handy. You can put those one-hour breaks to good use by running errands or simply going for a walk.
- Walk away from your workspace
- Put on some casual wear
- Grab the essentials (mask, sanitizer, gloves, etc.)
- Head out
It is as simple as it sounds.
11. Make Ground Rules for Family Members
Remote working is easily misunderstood by people, especially those who are not used to it.
Today's generation has clarity about the entire notion of work from home because they have either experienced it themselves or witnessed someone else. On the contrary, the older generation is unfamiliar with this idea. Working from home is more of work without any strict routine for your parents.
There might be days when you do not have much work, and you would just come out of your room to hang out with your family. However, it is not a signal for family members to compel you to participate in other activities during working hours.
As a result, you need to set some rules with them.
Have an open conversation with your family members and explain the expectations of the work-from-home culture. Once they acknowledge this, you will be set on your way. Otherwise, it can often lead to various hurdles in your professional life.
Here is how it goes:
- Invite your family to join you for a small chat
- Explain the nuances of work from home and thee expectations
- Mention your estimated work hours and how you should not be bothered during that period
- Hand the responsibility of controlling the kids, if any, to other family members
This would definitely work!!
12. Leverage Social Media
Social media not only snatches your time, but also teaches you about attention deficiency. ~Neeraj Agnihotri
Admit it or not, there is one common thing all of us can consider as our guilty pleasure- Social media.
Social media can be highly addictive and time-consuming if not handled with care, be it interaction with friends, commenting, or reading news and articles.
It is regarded as one of the top-level distractions from work.
In between work, if you cannot help but check your cell phone, every time a new notification pops up, a moment of interruption appears.
What can you possibly do to prevent this?!? You can either have self-control (which is difficult to achieve) or find another way to achieve it.
Many new mobile apps have been introduced recently to get rid of such distractions. These applications show users how much time they spend on each social media app.
Furthermore, some apps also help you set a fixed duration for each socializing app. Once your limited time usage is over, you are locked out of that app for the next 24 hours.
If you exhaust your time limit at night itself, those apps would be disabled for you to use in the daytime. Hence, It is the most feasible solution.
- Install the time-revealing & time-setting apps
- Observe how much time you spend on each social media app
- Decide on a specific amount of time you want to dedicate to each app in a day
- Develop some self-control and log into those apps only during breaks or post-work schedules
In short, social media can be rendered as a boon and a curse.
Suggested: Best Work From Home Quotes
13. Interact with the Team
Teleworking can get pretty lonely, especially if you are in isolation. Even in the presence of your family members, it is no better as there is no interrelation of your work with them. In a home setting, everyone works differently, from your teammates to your managers. Therefore, sharing information and getting everyone on the same page is often difficult.
You all might have different work schedules, which might give rise to some bumps on the road.
Thus, you need to talk it out with your manager about how it works. Like how often you are supposed to check-in or convey your messages and progress to one another.
The good part is that several tools have been created to address this problem. Several chat channels and FaceTime applications enable you to connect to your teammates, conduct group meetings, and stay updated.
It is not, however, required that you always talk about work. Ordinary conversation is fine if it helps to lessen the social isolation that comes with working from home.
Video call is a great way to stay connected and to have some fun at the same time.
If you are an introvert and are not fond of socializing, take part in a few interactive sessions to be familiar with the team. This helps you to avoid any kind of awkwardness that may initiate among the teammates in the future when you start going to the office.
You have to be more proactive about nurturing professional relationships.
14. Cut yourself some Slack
What does it feel like to work from home?
Working in an office, as you know, can be exhausting. But work from home is no cakewalk either.
Often, it is seen that when people go into full-on work mode, eventually they get absorbed in their work in a way that they lose touch with the outside world.
Working hard is one thing, but being continuously stressed out about it is quite another. Be it for meeting deadlines or finishing the piled work; the main mantra is taking it easy.
Stressing out can pose a mild threat to both your mind and body. When stressed or anxious, your cognitive power is delayed since your brain can't process information properly.
Balance your efficiency with self-care- if you are not mentally well, you cannot give your best. There might be a lot of work to do in a short schedule, or maybe some previous work is left undone.
For this, you have to know how to manage your time and set achievable targets. Do not take on responsibilities if you cannot accomplish them in the stipulated time.
Adding too much to the plate can make things hard. All you require is to-
- Create a task list for the day
- Estimate the time needed to finish each task
- Break down tasks into smaller chunks. It will help you focus and make it seem more doable.
- Take a tea/coffee break in between to stimulate your mind
- Work until the end of your working hour
- Make a note of the tasks that are yet to be completed
So Relax & Chill!
Suggested: At Home Self-Care Tips for Parents During a Pandemic
15. Take Breaks in their Entirety
Make sure you don't cut your breaks too short. Take full advantage of your breaks. You might have pending tasks but never compromise on your free time. Because while work will always be there, what won't be there is time.
Breaks are necessary to get some time off from the otherwise mundane routine. Eat your meals at peace, go for a break and recharge your mind. That is exactly what your mind requires to overcome stress.
Indeed, as previously said, some tools allow you to create a schedule for your activities and keep track of them. RescueTime and SmartBreak, to name a few, are apps that, once installed on your computer, allow you to set a time limit for how long you will be away from your computer.
For instance, if you set 30 minutes for lunch and are done in 20, these apps will prevent you from logging into your computer until it's past half an hour.
You can also use the phone's timer.
- Install time-out applications on your work system or use your phone clock
- Set the amount of time you want to lock yourself out for
- Repeat the process every day
16. Don't hesitate
Working from home is convenient in many ways, but many of us overlook workplace ergonomics. The work from home arrangement is critical to the success of the remote working concept.
It is not advisable to work on your personal computer, even if you have one. Instead, ask your employer to provide the necessary equipment. Nobody should expect you to work on your personal system.
As a result, you must establish a precedent early on that you will not hesitate to request whatever you require, such as monitors, keyboards, and controllers. Working the job comfortably brings productivity, and many companies even have a separate budget fixed for work from home equipment.
Of course, there would be some acceptable and minor concessions on your part as well. Like you must not ask for every single thing which you can manage somewhere from home. On the other hand, work equipment can be requested from the company.
17. Keep a Separate Phone Number
Is it possible that you may receive calls from your coworkers or your boss outside of business hours? Rather than being in that unsettled state, it would be prudent to rule out the possibility for good.
The answer is simple. Keep two phone numbers on hand: one for personal use and the other solely for work. Never give out your personal phone number to your coworkers. Request that they connect with you on the other.
That way, when you log off from the system, you can also log off from the work cell. And this way, you maintain your work-life balance.
18. Make your Presence Known
Working from home might lead to a sense of estrangement from one's coworkers and superiors. Because when the meeting takes place digitally, voices often go unheard.
This could lead to a halt in growth. And what's the point of working for a company that won't allow you to progress?
So all you have to do is actively participate in those conference meetings, interact, and even show your willingness to attend optional meetings. And every time you take such calls, make sure you speak up so that everyone knows you're on the line. If you don't have much to say, simply saying "Hi" and "Thanks, Bye" goes a long way toward establishing your presence.
Communicating more than we need to is often seen as something not worth doing. But when you work from home, overcommunication becomes a lifesaver.
Working from home necessitates that everyone communicates frequently. Also, don't confuse overcommunication with bugging your peers constantly. You might go overboard at times and annoy your coworkers.
Instead, converse with your coworkers and notify them of your schedule and availability. To add to it, start informing them whenever you complete a project or assignment. Simply communicate in a clear, timely, and transparent manner.
Since you can't expect others to keep up with your schedule, it's your responsibility to communicate the necessities. For example, if you are going on vacation, notify your team members ahead of time.
The communication can even be done through messages and does not always have to be work-related. Exchange texts and memes and make each other comfortable. Create an atmosphere that is upbeat and encouraging. The idea is to strike conversations and engage in social interactions.
20. Use WFH to your advantage
Working from home isn't all bad if you approach it strategically, and it has its own set of advantages. Consider a hobby you used to like but can no longer do due to work pressures.
When we have to commute to work every day, exhaustion takes over our mind and body, and most of the time, we are in no shape to engage in other activities. But work from home relieves us from that exhaustion.
Working from home allows you to pursue your passion without sacrificing your work-life balance. If you are into cooking or baking, go for it. Invest time in things you love. If you enjoy playing the guitar, you can do so every day after work by playing interesting tunes or anything else that catches your attention.
But when you work full-time in an office, it's difficult to find time and energy to bake or cook at home, and it's not a cakewalk.
As a result, remote employees must make the most of their time working from home by discovering what interests them. You, as one of them, are deserving of it.
Suggested: Top 102 Inspirational Work From Home Quotes
21. Make it Personal
Before anything else, figure out what works best for you. Because, at the end of the day, if you are working from home and you are not comfortable in the situation, it will be a dreadful experience. Sometimes, you might find yourself struggling to cope, and it happens quite often.
As a result, it's important to sort out your priorities and requirements. There will also be days when your motivation levels drop, and that's when you'll need some help from your coworkers who are in the same situation as you.
Peers might be able to help and support you. Outside of the organization, you may find your supportive community in the form of online and offline friends.
The ups and downs are what make work worthwhile. Or else it gets monotonous. In other words, your routine needs to shake up a little sometimes; otherwise, it gets too routine-y.
22. Keep aligned with the Company Culture
A few small tricks can help you feel like you're in the office even though you're working from home. Continue to do things that are in line with your company's culture. No doubt working from home disrupts the experience. We frequently lose touch with our work-self, who used to be active and commute to work daily.
Since we spend so much time at home these days, we tend to miss out on the minor details of our office days. For example, sending company-related GIFs through email/text, sending memes and jokes, and talking about family matters or sports while standing by the coffee machine. Also, volunteering for an event is now more of a virtual thing.
So continue to accomplish these tasks from home to get work vibes.
Hybrid Work Culture
Due to the pandemic, all businesses were forced to shift work from the office to the home. And employees have become accustomed to working from home now. The feeling of working from their homes was reassuring to everyone. However, now that the workplaces are reopening, people are being called back to work. And this does not sit well with everyone.
As a result, businesses are adopting the hybrid work paradigm. But what exactly is a hybrid work model?
It refers to the work culture where companies offer their employees the choice to work from home and office. In other words, a hybrid approach will allow workers to work from home for part of the week and in the office for the rest.
The hybrid notion isn't new, but it's becoming more popular in light of recent changes in the workplace atmosphere. Moreover, new work from home jobs are coming to light that allows the hybrid work culture flexibility. The aim is to maximize employee efficiency and increase the performance of the workforce.
A hybrid work arrangement is bound to keep employees' energy levels high because they will not be irritated and tired from commuting to and from work.
Suggested: Hybrid Workplace: Is it the new future?
We hope the above tips really help boost productivity for all working remotely.