7 Essential Tips to Work from Home
For better or worse, many of us have been forced to work from home due to the pandemic that swept the world and irreversibly changed the way workplaces operate. Since we know that this transition can be challenging, we’d like to present some top tips to work from home in this guide!
If you are one of the many workers that have been swept up in the wave and find yourself working from home now on a daily basis then read on for a variety of tips for working from home effectively.
Basic Tips to Work From Home
To boost your work from home productivity, you will first need to organize your environment in a way that is conducive to productivity.
What does that mean exactly?
Well, first things first you need to check in with anyone you share the house with to set boundaries.
1. Set boundaries
If you don’t set some time aside to talk with your partner, kids, or housemates before you start working from home, then you might run into issues when you’re in the middle of your workday.
To avoid disrupting your day’s work, let others in your household know when you plan to start and finish work so that they can plan their days around your schedule. Fail to do that and you might be interrupted by any number of things.
If your partner always offers you a cup of tea around 1 pm when you’re at home, then they might do so when you’re at home for work. This might not seem like a bad thing, but they say it can take up to around 23 minutes to recover from a distraction. That’s a lot of time to spend not working.
2. Prepare your meals in advance
If you’re wondering how to be more productive at home, one thing you may not have thought of is meal times.
When you’re at work in the office, you probably have a routine when lunchtime rolls around. Maybe you grab something from the lunch cart when it makes its way around to you. Or you go to the cafeteria or a restaurant down the road to pick up a salad.
Whatever the case, your eating plans will be altered when you work from home.
Regardless of how fast you think you can make lunch, it’s important to prepare your meals in advance – ideally the night before.
Why? Because the last thing you want is to stop work for a relaxing lunch break, only to realize that you don’t have turkey for your sandwich or that you need to boil the water first before you can tuck into your pasta salad.
Preparing food takes time, and this eats into the time you have to rest before your afternoon shift. As such, it’s a good idea to have some kind of meal ready to go before you show up to work. For those among us who aren’t in love with long hours of cooking, this home cooking survival guide for a busy work week could be a life saver:
Working From Home Tips to Optimize Output
So you’ve set boundaries with others in the house, and you’ve prepared your lunch in advance. You’re off to a great start.
Now it’s time to take a look at how you can optimize your output so that you can prove to your boss that you’re capable of high levels of productivity wherever you are.
1. Clear communication
Just like you need to talk with your spouse or anyone else sharing your home, you also need to communicate with your boss.
While it may seem intimidating, establishing expectations for your work straight from the horse’s mouth is a surefire way to get ahead and produce your best work.
Ask what is expected of you, and how you can contribute from home, be it by attending meetings, using software to chat with your team, or simply focussing on the tasks at hand.
Miscommunications tend to happen more frequently when the medium is email or text chat so make sure you know exactly what it is you need to do before you get started.
2. Minimize distractions
Distractions can be the death of productivity.
Plus, they are even more likely to happen at home than they would be at the office. Not only do you have others in the house that could potentially distract you, but you also have the allure of your mobile phone and other technology nearby.
You’re at home, so the temptation to kick back and relax can be strong, but this of course won’t help you produce your best work.
To avoid distractions, set up a dedicated workspace in your home (preferably outside the bedroom) and leave all of your gadgets and gizmos in another room. You can even hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door if you’re worried about interruptions.
Work From Home Best Practices
If you want to stay consistent and deliver quality work from home, here are some best practices to adhere to:
1. Start early
Just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean that you should resort to sleeping in on workdays.
Unless you absolutely need the extra sleep to function optimally, we strongly recommend that you aim for an early start. If your work schedule is flexible, then you could potentially start early and get your work done before the evening, giving you more time to relax and enjoy your free time.
If you don’t have a flexible schedule, then chances are your boss expects you to show up at a certain time anyway so you want to be ready for that.
2. Define the work day
Just as it’s easy to start work late, it’s also easy to finish late.
If you haven’t defined your work hour, you could end up finishing at 5.45 when really you don’t need to work past 5.
Why let your work intrude on your free time if it doesn’t have to?
3. Include a commute
One of the main perks of working at home is that you can just get up, roll out of bed into your work clothes, and you’re ready to begin.
However, spending so much time indoors can be detrimental to your health and easily become habitual.
As such, it’s a good idea to try and integrate a “morning commute” into your workday. This could be as simple as taking a walk around the block. That way, you get the blood flowing around the body and prepare your mind for the day ahead.
It’s a good practice to get into the habit of doing, and it breaks up the monotony of spending your whole workday and leisure time in one indoor space.
Tips to Work From Home: The Bottom Line
We hope that you found these tips to work from home helpful. While the trend towards remote work may have already been picking up pace, it is now a reality for most office workers. According to the data, remote work became far more common after the COVID-19 outbreak, with an estimated 44% of US workers working from home five days per week post-COVID-19 compared to just 17% before. And, according to many, the trend might be here to stay.