Today's world, the amount of remote workforce is increasing. With the recent Covid-19, companies are forced to deploy their workforces remotely , abandoning their office environment.
As fun as working from home sounds, it brings a different set of productivity challenges. Many home workers ( such as I ) rely on the web to discover ways to improve working at home.
There are so many guides and tips for working at home on Google. Unfortunately, all the information is scattered on different sites.
We realized that we could help merge all these tips in one place. To help remote workers such as yourself, we combed the internet searching for tips and tricks of working from home.
And we plan to constantly refresh this page in the future. We hope this collection is useful to you!
Tips for Productivity
The following are tips on improving your productivity during work at home hours.
🕗 Maintain regular working hours
At a very young age, our lives have revolved around a timetable. Waking up at 7 am, getting to school by 9 am and recess at 1 pm. We never had the choice to decide the time schedules ourselves.
Weirdly enough, we seem to excel with a fixed schedule. Probably, having a fixed routine made daily decisions/choices easier.
The routine applies to work at home. Keeping fixed working hours (such as 9 to 5) is an easy way to help maintain a work-life balance.
Dedicated working hours act as a time divider to call it a day which helps avoid overworking yourself.
Your clients and coworkers would also appreciate regular working hours especially if they live in different timezones.
Applying this tip is easy. All you need is an alarm ( phone alarm would do as well ) and decide on your working hours.
🛌 Take breaks regularly
Taking scheduled breaks during your working hours is very beneficial.
Regular breaks can help:
- Maintain your focus, clarity, and increases creativity.
- Reduce stress.
- Move your body to avoid health effects from sitting too long.
- Avoid fatigue at the end of the day.
- And most likely, you can get a lot more work done with more breaks.
There are different techniques and tools to help you take a break. The Promodoro technique is one of the popular options for taking breaks.
The Promodoro technique can be applied with the following steps:
- Work on a task for 25 minutes.
- Take a short 5 minutes break.
- Every 4 Promodoros take a longer 30 minutes break.
Avoid multitasking home chores
Multitasking is never a good idea, even when you are in the office. Multitasking breaks your focus. And it takes a long time to get back into the zone.
Chores like doing the laundry and cooking lunch during work will only distract you. Thus it would be better to schedule home chores on non-working hours.
If you pack food before going to work, then apply the same habit for working at home. Pack your food before starting your work at home.
If you have a repairman visiting to fix a broken pipe, take a half-day off rather than juggling work and watch the repairman.
Plan your tomorrow before bed
It is no surprise that successful people practice good habits in their daily lives. One of those key habits is what they do before going to bed (besides brushing their teeth).
Successful people reflect the days' successes and failures. And follow up with a plan to maximize their tomorrow. Since the daily goals have pre-planned, we avoid decision fatigue in the morning. We all know how difficult it is to choose what to wear for the day.
This is an easy habit to achieve. And some tools can help you with planning your day. Here are the tools that we use or have used before with success:
- A simple journal - Old fashion pen and paper
- Trello - Easy to use Kanban board
- Notion - involves a bit more work to setup up.
🌄 Create a Morning Routine
Morning routines or morning rituals. One of the most common habits among successful people.
Morning routines are essentially the first thing that you do in the morning. These tasks can be small and simple. But they are powerful enough to make you feel like you have seized the day.
Here's an example of a perfect morning routine:
- Drink a glass of water
- Stretch for 30 minutes
- Mindful meditation
- Write in a morning diary
- Take a shower and get ready for work
Achieving each one of these tasks in the morning makes you feel productive even before work. Even when everything in your day goes bad, knowing that you have completed your morning routine makes you feel like an achiever.
How to implement a morning routine:
- Choose 4-5 tasks.
- Wake up at the same time.
- Complete each task in sequence.
- Do this for the next 30 days.
Doing morning routine every day is vital. If you skip one day, make sure you pick up the routine tomorrow.
Create a dedicated home office space
Your home is designed for many purposes, but never as an office space. That is why working at home is difficult. Dedicating an office space will help improve productivity.
A home office space is a distraction-free area in your home. Distractions such as TV, bed, and gaming consoles should be out of reach.
A dedicated room with a door as office space is preferred. A door helps keep distractions away. If there is no extra room to spare, unused corners of a room are ideal working space. Your distraction-free corner only needs a table, chair, and a good pair of headphones.
Finally, be creative with your office space. If you have a garden, feel free to utilize your garden as an office space.
🎧 Invest in good quality headphones
Headphones are the cheapest way to increase your focus. If you have kids or live next to a train station, noise cancellation headphone is a must to block all auditory distractions.
Low-quality headphones is not recommended as: 1. They breakdown easily. 2. Become uncomfortable to wear for longer periods. 3. May cause ear damage
We recommend investing in good quality headphones since you will be wearing them for long periods.
If you have video conference meetings, we suggest using wireless earbuds for those meetings. They make you look better for your audience. And you can freely use your hands without accidentally tripping over headphone wires.
Tips for Motivation
Tips to get you pumped up for work.
Dressed up to win the day
Getting dressed for work can help keep you motivated. As suitable clothes can have an impact on your mood.
Dressing up for work signals a shift in your day ( especially when you are not leaving the house for the full day). This transition tells your mind that you're in work mode. The same rule applies to exercise. Sports attire psychologically makes you feel like a marathon runner.
There is a term for this - enclothed cognition. A psychological condition where a boost of confidence if related to what you wear. So wearing the right clothes may be to your advantage.
Even though you may not leave the house during the day. You might still have unexpected visitors - like deliveryman or repairman. You wouldn't want them to see you in your pajamas.
Clothes make the man. But we are not advising you to work in a full suit or dress at home. Our guide for choosing the right attire is:
- Comfortable clothes.
- Clothes that you would leave the house in.
- Fun and stylish clothes.
After your working hours are over, feel free to jump back into your home attire - to help signal the end of your day.
Create work transitions
If you recently started working from home ( due to a pandemic ) and find it hard to get into working mode, this could be because you are missing your commute.
Working at home saves time since you don't have a 30-minute commute. Though this commute not only gets you from home to work, it also allows your brain to prepare for work. Regardless of whatever mode of transportation, without the commute - it becomes hard to start working.
The good news is that you can adopt/replace your commute with new ceremonies. Getting dressed for work is an effective way to transition into work mode. If you often read on the metro - you could adopt a 30 minute reading time before starting work. Or you could work out at home before starting work.
Transitions work at the end of the day too. You will need to decide for yourself what kind of activities work well as an end of day signal. It could be anything that helps you wind down like crossword puzzles or "candy crush".
The bottom line, create signals and transitions to let your brain know when to start and end work.
Tips for Health
Working at home can lead to sitting down more. Sitting down too much is bad for your health. We recommend exercising at work and stretching through the day. Not only can you burn more fat during the day but help maintain your health.
Exercising at work is hard if you are in the office. Being at home means you can take a 5-minute break and do some quick exercises. At home exercises do not need to take hours. You can achieve a great workout in just 3 minutes.
Some quick exercises to do at home:
- jumping jacks
- mini yoga