Working from home offers comfort, flexibility, and freedom from many of the usual office constraints. It also offers challenges and distractions to productivity. But, thankfully, those are not insurmountable.
Discover eight ways to get more work done from home and master the remote work life with ease:
Dress for Work
When the U.S. and the rest of the world went into lockdown in 2020, it was a matter of days before articles commenting on work-from-home fashions made an appearance. Zoom meeting ensembles of business-on-top and pajamas-on-the-bottom became a running joke, and businesspeople and fashionistas alike vowed never to return to uncomfortable attire.
Still, you should avoid all temptation to spend your workday in your pajamas, because you’re likely to stay in bedhead mode for the rest of the day. While you needn’t dress the way you would for a corporate office, you should make an effort to look presentable.
Embrace the new trend of power-casual dressing. Shower or bathe, dress in clean, comfortable clothes, brush or style your hair, and use minimal make-up, if any at all. All those activities will signal to your brain that it’s time for work.
Find a Dedicated Workspace
Whether you live alone, with family, or with one or more roommates, finding a dedicated workspace or home office can help eliminate or reduce distractions. It’s best to keep away from spots where the TV, children, animals, or the usual household traffic will disturb you.
If possible, find a corner with good natural lighting, and invest in a desk and an ergonomic chair. Those typical office features might not seem as exotic or as exciting as a beanbag, but they’re more comfortable and convenient, especially if you work with more than just a laptop.
Keep the necessary stationery, your mug, and other equipment in easy reach. Put a couple of inspiring personal items, motivational pictures, or a potted plant where you can see them easily. Work in your dedicated space to reinforce that you are at work, even though you’re at home. Your mindset will benefit from the shift.
Use Good Quality Technology
Use the best technology you can afford as a means of improving your productivity. If your tech is unreliable or if it’s difficult to use, you might lose valuable work time fixing it, waiting for it to be repaired, or trying to learn how to perform what should be simple tasks.
If possible, install reliable technology and tools that are easy to use. If your internet connection is unstable or slow, take steps to upgrade it—installing a good wi-fi router might be all that’s needed.
Set Regular Work Hours
There is such a thing as too much flexibility when working from home. Set regular work hours for yourself and stick to them as much as possible. You’re more likely to complete all your tasks, you’ll have greater accountability to your boss and to yourself, and your coworkers and clients will find it easier to communicate with you.
Consider the times at which your boss needs you available for work, your most productive time of day, and when your colleagues and customers are most likely to want to get in touch. Use the factors when planning your hours.
If you’re most productive before or after the hours at which you need to be present, structure your times so there’s overlap between your productive period and the times required by your employer.
Organize Your Workflow
Organize the following day’s workflow before wrapping up for the day, or do it before you start the day’s work. Prioritize your tasks, considering the length of time it will take to complete them, and decide what you will do with any extra time you might have if you complete your tasks earlier than planned.
Include coffee breaks and a lunch break, as well as rewards in your workflow for the day. Planning your day can help reduce the stress of not knowing what your workday will bring, and it can help you stay focused on your work.
Establish boundaries if you don’t live alone. Let your family or housemates know that you would rather focus on work during your working hours and encourage them to respect that.
If you live alone, some of your friends may be under the impression that working from home actually means you’re a free agent who’s waiting to be entertained. Let your friends know that you’re unavailable to socialize during your work hours.
Don’t limit your boundaries to people. If your pets become a distraction, you’ll need to find a way to keep them out of your workspace.
Keep Your Workspace Clean
Keep your workspace neat and clean to increase your productivity. You might not be bothered by the sight of an untidy desk, but the lack of organization can make it difficult to locate the information you need when you need it.
Don’t feel daunted by a home office you haven’t cleaned in months (or since setting it up). Cleaning the space and putting everything in order may take a few hours. However, once everything’s neat and tidy, you should find it easy to maintain.
Keep Work and Personal Time Separate
Just like you need to keep your bed for sleeping in and your home office for work, you need to clearly define your work and personal time. There’s little distinction between the two when you work from home. You might get tempted to quickly reply to an email, do some research, or get a head start on a project or the following day’s work when you should be relaxing or spending time with loved ones.
If you don’t keep your work and personal time separate, there is a chance that your work could become all-consuming, and you could burn out. Use a daily planner or diary to help you organize your time.
Choose Productivity at Home
All the above tips are meaningless if you don’t choose to get more work done when working from home.
You can have the most gorgeous home office, the most comfortable clothes, the best tech, and a housekeeping service. Yet if you don’t choose to be more productive, they will get you only so far.
Choose productivity and support your choice by making the necessary changes.