Whether you have just got a remote position or transitioning to work from home, the structure of your day is different when working from home than working in an office. You do not spend time commuting, and you may be able to maintain a better work-life balance. In this article, we discuss 17 tips on how to work from home with strategies to ensure you develop daily habits that improve your productivity and efficiency.
17 tips for how to work from home
Here are 17 tips to increase your productivity when working from home:
1. Get started early
Just because you are not wasting time on commuting does not mean you should start your day late. If before working from home, your typical day started at 8.00 a.m. (considering 1 hour for travel), start your day at the same time, 8 a.m. By starting early, you make sure morning sluggishness or focusing on other tasks such as prolonged breakfast do not dampen your motivation.
2. Stick to your schedule
To maintain a work-life balance, set a schedule and stick to it. You should know when to start your work and when to finish the day. If you have to extend because of the workload or a client meeting, ensure you start early for the day to avoid disrupting your following day schedule.
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3. Use the right technology
Having the right set of tool and technology in place is critical to work from home. Before starting your day, ensure your laptop, mouse, charger, keyboard and other tools are easily available. Try keeping these essential things in one place to save time searching for them.
Additionally, use a high performing router to solve network hassles. When remote working, avoid using an old router as it may be prone to network issues. Also, ensure you have all the software and application installed and working on your laptop. If any software requires an update, do it before starting your day. If your company uses various applications for remote communication and working, ensure you know how to use them. This saves time and does not reduce your productivity and efficiency.
4. Make your to-do list
During work from home online, it may be easy to lose sight of deadlines, priorities and tasks. Start your day by making a to-do list and setting priorities for the day. Stick to your list to ensure timely completion of your work. While it is tempting to get distracted from the list and work at your own will, sticking to your to-do list is the best way to ensure productivity. Also, set goals and time limit for each task so that you do not spend the entire day doing a trivial job.
5. Use a separate phone number
People may want to use the same phone number for their professional and personal use. While it may tempt to keep a single phone, you could reduce your work-life balance or find it difficult to separate personal from work calls. Consider using a separate phone number for communicating with your colleagues. It need not be a separate landline or mobile number; it could be a free VOIP service.
6. Take regular breaks
In some cases, you may experience fewer distractions and become engrossed in your work. If you work for an organisation, review the lunch hour and break time policy. If you are self-employed, take adequate time off from your computer and phone. Typically, full-time Indian employees can take 1 hour of break, including half an hour of lunch break and two 15-minute breaks. Taking breaks is essential for increasing productivity and ensuring proper blood circulation, which ceases when you sit for a prolonged period.
7. Create a dedicated workspace
A dedicated workspace does not mean having an office with closed doors. It is more about creating a workspace that mentally gets you in the work mode. It could be a separate room, a small desk or a small space in your house. Your dedicated workspace should not correlate with leisure activities, as it will reduce your productivity.
Regardless of the area, the workspace must be relatively undisturbed, quiet and should not be accessible by other members of your house. Setting a dedicated workspace is about creating a boundary between your professional and personal life to increase your work from home experience.
8. Log out of all social media accounts
When you work from home, social media could be addictive because it is easy to open and browse. This convenience reduces productivity and efficiency. Therefore, before starting your day, log out of all the social media accounts and remove them from the browser’s shortcut.
9. Stay connected
Working alone can become boring and without social interaction, you are less likely to enjoy the shift to work from home. So, once in a while, chat with your colleagues either through phone or video call. Acknowledge team achievements, hold daily review meetings and celebrate birthdays and other special occasions with your colleagues. This keeps everyone connected, even when you do not share the same physical workspace.
10. Exercise and stretch regularly
When you exercise, you release endorphins, which relieves stress and increases happiness level–two important things required for increasing workplace productivity. Similarly, stretch regularly to maintain a correct posture and prevent backaches. Make sure to exercise and stretch as it positively affects your work from home experience.
11. Dress professionally
Your dressing style has a psychological impact and helps you get into the right mindset for work. When you dress professionally and neatly comb your hair, you can handle any video call with a client or a teammate. Prepare for your remote work as if you were going to the office. It lets you mentally and physically prepare your day.
12. Buy comfortable office furniture
Comfortable office furniture can help you remain productive while working because you spend over 8-9 hours using this office furniture. From an ergonomically designed chair to a comfortable desk, the right office furniture helps you reinvent your office experience at home. Look for a comfortable chair and spacious desk to improve your work efficiency. Working in an uncomfortable and cluttered environment is frustrating and could reduce your motivation to excel at work.
13. Work when you are most productive
Often, people have specific hours they are most productive. While some are productive in the morning, others may be productive in the late afternoon. If you are more productive at late night and less productive in the afternoon, schedule your difficult work for the night and schedule your meetings for the afternoon. When you work from home, you have the flexibility to create your work schedule around your peak productivity hours.
14. Create a reward system
Unlike an office environment, where your colleagues and manager will always motivate you, a home office may lack external motivation. To stay motivated during work from home, create a reward system for yourself. Every time you reach a goal or accomplish a task, give yourself a small reward. It could be grabbing a healthy snack or taking a 5-minute break. Even a basic reward system helps in getting things done.
15. Always assume positive intent
Team chats are short and to the point. They can sometimes fall short of expressing the intent of the sender, and it becomes challenging to interpret the tone in writing. To avoid misunderstanding, focus on facts and always assume positive intent from the chats. You can look for different ways, such as using emojis to support your intent and convey emotions to the team.
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16. Beware of security risks
Just because you are not working in an office space does not mean you are not susceptible to hacking. Your laptop is still vulnerable, and you must follow your company’s network policies. Use VPNs for encryption and invest in anti-virus software to prevent attacks from hackers. If you work with customer sensitive data, close your room’s door when talking about such data. It prevents data leaks and makes you less susceptible to security risks.
17. End your day with a routine
Develop a habit that marks the end of your workday. It could be as simple as shutting down your laptop or saying goodbye to a colleague. Regardless of what you choose, do it every day. Ending your day on a good note with a habit gives a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, making it easier to work for the following day.