I’ve been working from home and remotely for the past three years, and I have family members and friends who are in the same boat. Everyone faces challenges, especially when you’re surrounded by distractions around your house. So, you’re not alone. There are many resources out there that can teach you some of the best tips for working from home. Articles like mine are perfect foundations you can and should turn to while you embrace this new (and hopefully temporary) type of life.
Everyone who works remotely and from home needs to find out a schedule that works for their personal life, how to separate work from home/family life, and, most importantly, how to drown out distractions and stay focused. In my own experience, if you can solve those aspects of working from home, you’ll likely see an improvement in your productivity.
These 10 tips for working from home and living a remote-working life come from personal experience and conversations with successful colleagues.
1. Work Regular Working Hours
When you’re office is in your home, it’s extremely easy to want to start early and stay on the clock late. In my experience, I’ve found that working regular hours is one of the most foundational pieces of finding success in working from home. So set a schedule and stick to it. I’ve found that using calendar alerts helps me stay on top of starting and ending my workday at the same time.
If you have children or family members to care for, be sure to set a schedule around those needs. Also, bring this up with your manager or company, it’s likely they’ll be understanding during these times while COVID-19 is forcing us to work in environments with more distractions.
2. Utilize a Separate Office Space
While not everyone has a million rooms in their house to make an at-home office, there are still many ways to achieve something similar. However, if you do have spare rooms at home, you should look into converting one into a temporary office space. This will allow you to block out any distractions that may happen around the house.
If you don’t have an extra room, that’s okay. It may be worth your time to set up a temporary desk in your bedroom. While it’s not the perfect solution, it works a hell of a lot better than working from your dining table with all the chaos of home life flying around you.
3. Take Regular Breaks
When I first started working from home, I found myself never leaving my office chair. This was a big no-no. While you may think you can’t take a break from work, I ask you to drop that notion. It’s extremely important to work in regular breaks…and actually take them. Whether your break is five minutes or 20 minutes, it’s important to get your head out of your screen for a small bit of time.
I even go the distance of setting alerts in my calendar. Even as someone working from home for three years, I still find it easy to forget to take my eyes off my screen and take a breather. These alerts help me make sure I actually take my afternoon break. Try this tactic out and see if it works for you, too.
4. Tell Your Family You’re Off Limits
One of the most common issues people have while working from home is the number of distractions other people in the house cause. If you’re working from home and you have family around, let them know you are working. It’s understandable that they may think you’re an open book because you’re at home. However, that’s not usually the case.
Give your family members (children especially) times when you’re off-limits and give them times when they can bother you. Both will be important for your work and personal life.
5. Connect With Coworkers Often
Working from home can 100% make you feel isolated, especially if you’re transitioning from a large in-office setting. Just because you work at home does not mean you have no coworkers. Utilize Zoom, FaceTime, Slack, or any other messaging platforms to help you stay connected with those people you work with. Making sure you don’t feel like you’re along is important to enjoying the remote-working life.
6. Get Dressed Like You’re Going Into an Office
Sweatpants, sweatshirt, and slippers are definitely a common working attire for those who work remotely. However, it’s not always the outfit that makes you feel motivated and energized for your day. While there are some days I slack off and just throw some sweats on, I typically prefer to dress as I was leaving the house for the day.
Although getting dressed seems like a very small step into working from home, I swear it helps you get in the working mood and helps you become more productive.
7. Don’t Focus on Family Jealousy
Just because you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean that everyone else at the house is also working. To your best ability, it’s crucial to drown out any family jealousy or fear of missing out (FOMO). Family members may be doing things that interest you during your working hours, and that’s just the reality of working from a home office.
Set time in your day where you can break from work to spend time with your family if you’re experiencing some of this jealousy. You can also dedicate your entire evening to family time and come up with activities everyone can look forward to doing together.
8. Turn Your Cellphone Notifications Off
Social media, news channels, and text messages are one of the easiest ways to get distracted. How do you solve this? Turn them off or take your phone out of the room. When I am working on an important task, I typically turn my iPhone on “do not disturb,” which helps ensure I don’t lose my train of thought or focus.
9. Once You Finish Work, Don’t Go Back
Once your day is through, don’t go back to finish something up or check on something. It will most likely be tempting because your work computer is within reach, but don’t do it. Make sure you’re able to disconnect at the end of the day so work doesn’t feel as if it’s taken over every hour of your life.
When you close up shop for the day, treat it as if you just left a real office. Work is done and family/home time begins. Be sure you’re taking care of your personal life while you’re working from home.
10. Honestly, Some Days Will Be Full of Distractions
Some days are going to be full of distractions and that’s okay. Remember you’re working from home and these types of situations are bound to happen. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having trouble staying focused or on task. When I encounter situations like this, I like to step away from work, catch my breath, and regroup. This helps me come back with fresh energy and do my best to stay on task.
Working from home is on the rise with the spread of COVID-19 and the reaction of not only our nation but the world. It’s important to set yourself up during this transition and focus on these 10 tips to help you understand how to work from home. If you have any questions or need additional pointers, please leave a comment below, and I will give you an answer.