Working remotely comes with a lot of perks, but it’s not perfect. You have to deal with the distractions at home, communication issues, and internet problems — not to mention mastering your work-life balance.
Have you been working remotely for a while but haven’t quite nailed how to make it work for you? Many people are in the same boat. Having no commute is a dream come true, but things start to get a bit more challenging when it comes to actually making work happen. Here are a few work from home tips to help you become more productive:
First, establish a designated workspace. While some people can get all of their projects done from their couches, others need a specific work area in their homes to help them get in the zone and differentiate work from the rest of life.
Where in your home is the most suitable for lots of computer time? If you don’t already have a home office, it may be worth investing in a desk or simply using your kitchen or dining table. Either way, try to keep that space separate from when you’re not working (even if all you do is sit at a different seat during dinnertime). Your mental health will benefit from this because you’re drawing firm lines between your job and home life.
Have a little fun and decorate it, too. Office workers personalize their spaces all the time, so fill (or don’t fill if you’re a fan of minimalism!) your work area with tools that keep you organized, like wall calendars and desk shelves. Keep a plant close by, too — greenery relaxes you!
Do you live with your family or roommates? It’s important to set ground rules with the people you live with, so they don’t disturb you while you’re working. Maybe tell them that they can’t enter your workspace unless absolutely necessary during prime work hours or that they should wait to communicate with you about anything non-essential until you’re done.
On a related note, set some boundaries for yourself. It’s tempting to be online all the time, but it’s necessary to log off from job-related activities at the end of the day. Do your best to follow your own rules for a healthier work-life balance.
One of the most significant caveats of working remotely is potential background noise. Playing children, loud construction next door, heavy traffic, passing trains, faulty air conditioners, and all sorts of other sources can create distractions. Not only does excess sound make it difficult for you to concentrate, but it also makes virtual meetings extra challenging when everyone else has to listen to it, too.
Most methods for quieting your surroundings are simple, and none are guaranteed, but you can make sure your workspace is away from as much noise as possible and lean closer to your microphone when speaking. You could also consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones that include special mouthpieces for dimming background noise when you talk.
One of our favorite tips for working from home is to leave your home! Take your work outside, whether to a park or your own patio, and soak up some Vitamin D.
Plus, it’s important to add movement to your daily routine. Walking through your neighborhood or nature benefits your mental health and boosts creativity, so do whatever work you can on the go — especially meetings. Instead of sitting on video calls all day, the Spot app enables you to get your heart pumping and creative juices flowing while you communicate with your colleagues.
Have you ever forgotten something said in an important meeting and wished you had it recorded? Or maybe you have a recording but don’t want to search through an hour of audio to find the right moment? In that case, take advantage of tools that both record your meetings and transcribe them into notes. Now, you can easily refresh your memory, and all of your colleagues can reference the dialogue when they need to.
While on the subject of tools, the software you use is critical, but so is the hardware. Besides walking, another way to promote your well-being while working is to use a standing desk. Make sure you have plenty of natural light for your eyes’ sake. Set up a second monitor so you can see multiple browser windows. Do whatever you need to make working from home as comfortable as possible.
One of the most important work from home tips is to take regular breaks. Not just two-minute breaks—real breaks, five to 10 minutes throughout the day, with at least half an hour for lunch. Taking breaks refreshes your mind and gives you time to look away from your screen.
Remote work can be rewarding, but it takes some time to get used to if you’re accustomed to working in an office. Keep these tips in mind to stay productive while avoiding burnout when working from home.