Work from home seems fantastic, you wake up, and you don’t have to hurry. All you need to do is turning on your computer and get connected. As long as you are working from home daily, you are aware of all the inconvenience that may happen, like an uncomfortable workspace or your neighbor doing noisy works. Most of us have some solutions for those kinds of situations, by experience.
But what if you are a work from a home newbie?
Recently, probably also you had to start working from home, as most people had to. Some of us many know that it will be a hard time because maybe you have kids running around and need some attention, or your home space is not home office-ready.
Maybe you miss socializing with your coworkers and feeling isolated?
As I was working from home sometime before the crisis happened, I already have some proven methods to deal with most of the not nice things that may occur.
In this article, I’d like to share with you a few proven methods I use to really love my home office time.
P.S. And of course, check out the video version of the article on our Youtube channel.
Let’s make your work from home the best experience ever!
1. Set up your working hours
I don’t know what kind of person you are, but it happens to some of my friends that if they won’t set up clear working hours, they just won’t start working until the afternoon. And then they need to stay longer, which makes them totally overwhelmed and tired.
If you work with the team, that it may be a little bit easier as you have to show up on the meetings, which are very often in the morning. But if you are more a self-organizing employee than it’s totally worth to take this as a rule number 1.
Just set an hour, for me 8 am works the best, and be at work at that time, ready to start. It will help you to stay focused and get things done.
2. Work when you are the most productive
So, if you are selecting the hours to work, remember to choose wisely, because the better choice you’ll make the better your work results will be and the happier you will be.
In my opinion, there’s no worse feeling when I feel really tired and need to do a few tasks more. It’s like torture.
So, when I realized that in the morning just after the training I’m full of power then the choice was simple. I’m starting my work in the morning and everything is much easier, and things are done much faster.
3. Make yourself an office space
Even if I’m working at home I need to have a comfortable space to put my computer. Also, I think one of the most important things is a comfortable chair. Your back will be grateful.
Working on the kitchen table or on the catch shouldn’t be even a temporary solution, because you just can’t focus on your actual tasks if you don’t have a place to put your things.
Besides that, companies have a reason to invest big amounts of money in the office space. Working is definitely a pleasure if your workspace is nice and clean.
4. Prepare your food one day before
If you are cooking your meals by yourself, it’s a great idea to prepare your food one day before and just reheat it.
To cook a proper lunch you need about an hour, and it’s a little bit too much to make such a break during the work. It will break you away from the tasks you are working on right now.
If I have my meal ready, I can avoid eating unhealthy snacks, because it’s enough to reheat a tasty, homemade dinner.
And remember, that good food feeds your mind as well!
5. Prepare yourself some tasks
Do you know this chaotic feeling when you want to start working but you have no idea where you should start? It very often takes about an hour to figure out what’s the plan then.
I prepare my tasks one day before, so when I’m finishing my workday, I take a quick look at the priorities and make a quick list of tasks to do the next day.
6. Take care of good communication with other team members
If you used to work with your team closely when you are in the office it can be a little bit tough to communicate right now.
That’s why it’s a great idea to overcommunicate. Ask twice if you are not sure, set up a call if you need some clarification, or ask for an email with the description or confirmation of what you have to do.
It’s always better to ask even three times that do your task wrong because of miscommunication, right?
7. Take care of the internet connection and prepare your equipment
I know, it shouldn’t be any issue those days.
But it happens that there may be some issue within your provider, for example, so you should be able to quickly reconnect for example using your mobile data.
Also, you need to pay attention to your software, if it’s updated if you can use the camera for the meetings if your microphone works properly if everything you need to for work is enabled and installed.
It makes other people crazy if you can’t join the meeting because you didn’t prepare your equipment earlier, so think about your coworkers and don’t ask them to wait.
8. Turn on the music or the silence
Sometimes I get crazy when lots of things happen around me, and I hear tons of voices and noises. It’s just impossible to work then.
Luckily, I’ve already solved it.
When I need to focus I turn on my favorite focus playlist on Spotify or Youtube and put headphones on. The best ones are those, which allow me to turn off all the sounds from outside.
Then it’s possible to turn on even the silence if you don’t like music.
9. Turn off notifications
New email… text message, hm if I’m checking my mobile, maybe I’d took a quick look at my social media, and a news portal, for sure something happened.
And that’s how half an hour passed.
Since I can see how much time per week I spend doing nothing important on my mobile, I just know that turning off all notifications while I’m working is the best possible option.
Also, I turn off everything that can distract you on the computer. There are some apps that you can use to block some websites like social media during your work. I think Self-Control(MacOS) or Freedom app is cool.
10. Divide your day as you’d go to the office
The other important thing is to divide your day for working hours and free time. It’s much easier when you know when you have to focus and just get things done and when you can start resting.
Another great option is to finish everything you need to do the current day and start your free time earlier. It’ll have a very positive impact on your productivity for sure.
11. Set the rules
If you have a family, kids, or living with friends you need to set some rules. There are a lot of stories when people who have kids can’t focus on work or their kids appear on the online meeting.
I believe that you need to set some clear rules, for example, if you are sitting in your home office room and doors are closed kids shouldn’t come in because you are working, or tell your family that from 8 am to 4 pm you are not available so they can’t ask you to make them a sandwich.
12. Take breaks
If you were able to set your work time, you also need to decide about breaks. It’s recommended to take about 5 minutes of break each 1 hour.
Your eyes need some time out of the screen and your mind needs a few minutes of destruction.
We can focus and keep the productivity about 15 minutes at once, so making small breaks will your productivity for sure. You can go for a glass of water or coffee during that time.
13. See other humans offline
Now, we are not able to leave our homes a lot, but normally when you work from home, you should remember about living your place and meeting some real people.
Socializing is very important, so meet some friends after work or go fro a meetup or to the gym and spend some time with other people. Spending time with people will increase your happiness.
14. Use a VPN
Every time you are connecting to the unknown network, which you can’t control you should use a VPN to make your data secure. Especially if you have a company files on your computer you should every careful when connecting to coffee shops, libraries, or airport public wifi.
If you are using a company laptop, then most of the companies provide a VPN and allow you to connect to the company servers only using it. But if you don’t have one it’s not a big investment to get one and your data safety is priceless.
15. Be active on the meetings
Do you also have this feeling that some of your coworkers sleep during the meeting or doing something else, especially when you don’t have to switch on the camera?
That’s why you should be active in the online meeting, to prevent others to think the same about you.
You are still working as a team so you should discuss important topics together.
16. Be positive
Communication without the visual part can be difficult. If we don’t see others face, expressions its tough to correctly get the message.
It’s even worse if the communication is only written because we can’t relay even on the tone of voice.
Then, it’s pretty difficult to guess if another person is angry, sad, happy, nervous, etc.
That’s why I always try to stay as positive and friendly as possible, to avoid misunderstandings and breaking a positive relationship with the coworkers.
17. Enjoy your time
The biggest benefit of the work from home is the time you can save on commuting.
Did you know that we spend about 5 hours a week commuting? It gives us about 20 hours a month! That’s a lot of time!
So, when you work from home you can think of a better way, to spend your 20 hours a month. Maybe you can spend more time with your family and friends, or maybe you could find a new hobby?
There are a lot of possibilities, and each of you will find a better way of spending time than in the traffic jam.
Work from home doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what to do to improve it. Like for every change you need to prepare, so to start working remotely you need to set up a dedicated place, set some time frame for work and finish at the proper time to not get overworked, set some rules with the ones you live with.
But you can also enjoy the benefits which come with working from home, like an additional time saved on commuting or the possibility of living further from the city center.
If you are interested in increasing your productivity there’s another article I created some time ago so feel free to check it out: https://www.blog.duomly.com/10-tips-and-tricks-to-improve-productivity/
What are your tricks for smarter work from the home environment?
Thank you for reading,
Anna from Duomly