15 Tips for Working From Home Effectively
If you’re not a veteran remote worker, it can seem like a distracting and overwhelming change. You might feel like you don’t know how to work from home or how to separate your work and personal lives.
With work from home gaining popularity (and flexibility becomes more and more important), working from home skills are more valuable than ever for remote employees.
Here are some tips for working from home effectively.
How to Work From Home: 15 Tips for Staying Productive at a Work-from-Home Job
1. Maintain a Regular Work Schedule
Habits and routines are important aspects of self-discipline, and self-discipline is essential for working from home effectively.
While flexibility is a fantastic perk, too much freedom can become an obstacle. You might struggle to schedule focused work sessions when there’s nothing guiding you but your own motivation levels.
To combat this, set and maintain a regular work schedule. Start work at a specific time and use a calendar to block out specific hours for projects. If you live with family members or roommates, communicate your working hours and schedule to them.
2. Keep a Dedicated Workspace
Working from home might mean sharing your “office” with toddlers, pets, or roommates, some of whom might also be working. Even if the space is all yours, it’s easy to become distracted by housework and nagging personal tasks.
To prevent difficulties focusing, set up a dedicated workspace for yourself.
If you don’t have room for a space that’s solely for work, give yourself as much privacy as possible. Use noise-canceling headphones to block out environmental noises. You can position your workspace so that it faces a wall to mimic the privacy of a cubicle in your home office.
3. Set Up an Ergonomic Workstation
An ergonomic workstation helps promote good posture, eye care, and more aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
Long periods of sitting can leave you feeling stiff and achy. Good ergonomics make sure your spine is neutral, your eyes get breaks, and you’re comfortable at your workstation.
Office Chair Posture Cushion
If your chair isn’t supportive enough for your back, a supportive backrest may help improve your comfort. Lumbar support helps maintain a neutral spine while you sit for long periods.
Decreasing pressure on your back with a posture cushion may also help you feel more comfortable while you focus on your tasks.
4. Eat and Sleep Well
Rest and nutrition affect nearly every part of your life, and that includes your work. Working from home offers a great opportunity to prepare healthy lunches for your week.
You can even try mastering slow cooker roasts and other recipes that used to take too long to cook since you’ll be at home and able to monitor the food throughout the day.
5. Take Breaks
While working from home, you can take breaks to help yourself stay engaged and avoid burnout.
- Stretch. You might be left feeling back pressure, neck soreness, and tired legs after a day of sitting at your desk, kitchen table, or couch. Take regular breaks and stretch out your muscles and joints.
- Rest your eyes. Working from home often means looking at a computer for several hours per day. Dry eyes and eye strain are common side effects of staring at a screen too long. Give your eyes a break from the screen with the “20–20–20” rule: every 20 minutes, look at an area that’s at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Relax your mind. Don’t turn straight from work to social media during your breaks. Give your mind a chance to relax and breathe in some fresh air.
One method of alternating focused work and breaks is the pomodoro technique. This technique breaks the workday into half-hour sessions. Each session includes 25 minutes of focused work followed by a 5-minute break.
6. Create a Morning & Night Routine
Your work schedule isn’t the only important routine to maintain when working from home. It’s important to pay attention to your morning and nighttime routines, too.
Start your day with a regular morning routine that helps you feel focused and ready to meet what’s ahead. Eat a healthy breakfast, get dressed like you’re going to an office, and set a time when work begins so that your brain knows it’s time to focus.
It’s easy to let the workday drag into your evening but it’s crucial that you give yourself proper rest after a day of work.
Having a healthy work-life balance means separating your work from your personal life, even when they happen in the same place. Don’t forget to spend time with family, friends, and pets and allow yourself to fully unwind so you feel recharged for the next day.
7. Interact & Socialize with Other People
It’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and part of that is socializing with coworkers and friends throughout the day. After work, you can arrange off-the-clock video calls with friends or go out to eat with family members to get fully away from work.
8. Get Some Fresh Air
Just like it’s potentially counterproductive to try to sit and focus for multiple hours straight, it’s potentially limiting to spend the entire day indoors. Weather permitting, spending some time outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight often help people feel refreshed and energized when they get back to work.
9. Make Time to Destress
When you’re working from home, you might feel like you’re all alone with your responsibilities. Unfortunately, being away from coworkers and managers—while sometimes a relief—might also feel like all the responsibility falls directly on your shoulders.
To escape this overwhelming thought, take time to destress.
For some people, quiet time—especially time away from the screen—helps relieve the stress that builds up when projects stall and deadlines loom.
Your stress-relief time could be as simple as spending 5 minutes watering the plants on your porch and feeling the sunlight. Or, if you like exercising, you could schedule a lunchtime workout as an opportunity to destress midday.
There are a few devices that can help promote relaxation and stress relief while you’re working from home.
Handheld massagers, massage wraps, and massaging pads can feel great on sore muscles and help you feel relaxed so you can get back to work feeling recharged.
Many people use sound machines to help them sleep, relax, or meditate. By drowning out external noises, a sound machine may also help you turn the focus away from work-related stress and toward yourself for a few minutes.
One of the risks of working from home—especially when entire teams are working remotely—is miscommunication. Despite the range of messaging, calling, and videoconferencing tools available, remote work presents unique communication challenges.
To ensure your team doesn’t face issues due to miscommunication, aim for overcommunication. Keeping each other up to date more than necessary is better than failing to report an important detail.
11. Interact with Your Team
Just because you’re not spending time around your coworkers doesn’t mean you should feel isolated from them. Find ways to interact with your team outside of project communications.
Use a chat service like Slack or Discord to foster casual team communication. Try scheduling occasional group lunches via videoconferencing if everyone’s comfortable with that.
A combination of real-time calls and staggered communications via messaging apps can help stave off feelings of loneliness.
12. Be Overly Positive in Your Messages
In all your communications with colleagues, clients, and managers, use a positive tone. Especially when circumstances force everyone to adjust to remote work, promoting positivity is a great way to motivate all the people you interact with.
13. Use Your Home Office Perks
The lunchroom, the “water cooler,” the giant coffee dispensers—if you’ve ever worked in an office, you know it has its perks. But so does your home office.
When you’re working from home, you can buy your favorite coffee grounds and use your favorite mug. You can give yourself an office by the window. You can use your favorite loud mechanical keyboard without annoying coworkers.
Take advantage of your home office perks to add a little fun and creativity to your day and let your personality shine.
14. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle. While taking a walk around your apartment or yard is better than nothing, regular exercise can result in a wide range of benefits, both physical and mental.
Walking, swimming, cycling, weightlifting, golfing, yoga—there are so many forms of exercise that you’re bound to find one that you like. The most important thing is to stick with it, to schedule time for your exercise and develop that important habit.
15. Set Boundaries & Ground Rules with Family Members
Working from home can mean working in an environment that’s full of distractions. It’s also possible that family members and other people in your household struggle to recognize that when you’re working, they should treat you like you’re at work.
These are important boundaries to establish, especially if you’re working from home permanently or for a long period.
You can share your calendar with the people you live with, or simply stick colorful index cards to the outside of your door to indicate when you’re available and when you shouldn’t be disturbed.
You Can Work from Home Productively
It might be difficult at first, but as you settle into healthy new routines and follow these tips for working from home, you’ll find what makes you most productive in your home office.
Discover what helps you focus and add those things to your work-from-home habits.
Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.