Series: Work

Working From Home Tips: How to Be Productive at Home

Posted on May 29, 2020

Between kids, deadlines, and incoming phone calls—working from home (wfh) can be distracting. If you’ve recently taken things from the office environment to the remote work realm, we know what a big transition it is.

And we’re here to help.

Thankfully, with a handful of simple working from home tips, your remote day job can be easier, less stressful, and more productive.

From creating a routine that works to finding a rhythm for your desk exercises, we’ve rounde d up our top tricks for getting work done and feeling good during your time as a remote worker. Bring your day planner, your laptop, and your homemade cappuccino and let’s dive into productivity.

Take Breaks

Figuring out how to be productive at home means learning how to take breaks. When you’re creating your own schedule, it’s easy to get consumed with work. Try to take a break every hour, even if it’s just for a minute or so to stretch and reset. Clock out and take your lunch break or take a mid-afternoon break for a walk. Little breaks will help to increase productivity during times of work and ensure that you don’t get burned out.

Create a Routine

One of the top tips for working remotely is to create a routine. Establish working hours and set a schedule where you start and end your workday at the same time each day. Starting at 9am and ending at 5pm with one hour for lunch and a walk in between is a great place to start. Creating a routine that works for you will help you stick to your assignments and get your work done.

Find an Office Space

When you’re working remotely, a dedicated office space is crucial. Some people are more nomadic with their approach to an at-home office. It’s okay to start the day at your desk, move to the kitchen table in the afternoon, then end the day on the couch in the living room as the workday comes to a close (especially if you work from a laptop). For some, one specific dedicated home office space works best. Choose your spot, make it feel peaceful, and start crossing things off the to-do list.

Get Comfortable

One of the perks of working from home is that you can wear whatever you want. Of course, we don’t advise staying in your pajamas until noon—unless that’s how your best ideas come to you—but we do think it’s important to get comfortable. Wear clothes that enable you to move around and stretch. If it’s cold in the house, put on some cozy socks and loungewear, kick back, and type away.

Enjoy Mealtime

Without seeing your coworkers and the exciting buzz of the office, remote working can sometimes feel monotonous. Find fun things to do at home that you can do solo or with your family that don’t interfere with the workday flow. One of our favorite at-home activities is cooking. Start your day with a good breakfast that will fuel you up for the day ahead. Pancakes don’t need to be saved for weekends only—if they make you happy and increase productivity throughout the late morning, go for it. Come up with some home lunch ideas that are health y and tasty and give yourself some creative dinner options to look forward to once the day is done.

Eliminate Distractions

Without your boss hovering, distractions are too easy when you’re working from home. If you don’t eliminate these distractions, you’ll fall down the rabbit hole of cleaning, puttering, pacing around, and doing anything you can to avoid your growing workload. A good rule of thumb is to acknowledge your distractions at the start of the day, clear them, and then stick to a work schedule. Are there bills to pay, dishes to wash, family phone calls to make, or other things to get done? Eliminating distractions can prove especially difficult when you’re learning how to work from home with kids. Try quiet time in the afternoon where you can work and kids get to read, do puzzles, or paint. Once you get in the distraction-free flow, work will get done faster and you’ll feel infinitely more focused.

Use Video Call

Video calls help put a face and a voice to remote workers. It’s easy when you’re working remotely to feel like all you do is email—aim for face-to-face meetings and positive interactions with your coworkers. This form of connection, especially during times when you might otherwise feel isolated, will help with your workflow and increase the feeling of community.

Reward Yourself

Team members in the traditional office setting get incentives, like Friday happy hour, a Wednesday morning donut break, or a gift card to your favorite coffee shop. Just because you’re working remotely, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a reward every now and again. Think about the things you love about remote working then create your rewards around that—maybe you enjoy a midday walk around the block or baking a batch of homemade cookies to cure the Monday blues. Remote working isn’t easy; remember to reward yourself.

Stretch and Exercise

One of the working from home tips we can’t stress enough is to stretch and get some exercise in. The days at the computer can be long, so start your morning with a yoga class or end the workday with a good walk in nature. People who work in offices spend time commuting to and from work. When you work from home, one of the added benefits is that you don’t have to do this. Spend that extra time doing something that gets you off your work chair, gets your heart rate up, and makes you feel good. Since you have a flexible schedule, desk exercises, like elevated push ups and in-seat bicycle crunches, are another good option, too.

Use a Planner

The benefits of a day planner are vast and varied. You can use a digital planner or management system—or go the old fashioned route where you physically write down your tasks and cross them off once they’re completed. Start the day with a to-do list where you write everything out. Even the small tasks, like emailing someone back, should be written out and crossed off when it's finished. At the end of the day, it’s good to recognize what you finished and where you stand with the to-do list for tomorrow.

Get Fresh Air

Whether you’re going for a hike or sticking your head out of your home office window, make sure to breathe in the fresh air throughout the day. This is one of the easiest tips for working remotely, but it will leave you feeling invigorated and revitalized for the work that lies ahead. One quick inhale of fresh air and suddenly, the workload seems manageable.

Avoid Social Media

Unless your work involves social media, avoiding social media is one of the top ways to stay on top of your productivity. We know that checking in on what’s going on with your friends, family, and around the world is part of a daily routine. But when you’re working, limit your impulse to grab your phone and scroll. You’ll be more mentally focused on your work and less distracted—sometimes, this might mean having to put your phone in another room so you aren’t tempted.

Fine-Tune Your Productivity

Certain people are more productive in the morning, while others thrive in the afternoon. Some remote workers do better if they work intensely for an hour, while others like to take their time and spread the same amount of work over a few hours. Experiment for a few days to see when your times of peak productivity are. Chart whether you do your best work after your morning coffee—or whether you’re more of a post-lunchtime worker. If you have kids, you might find you’re most productive (and happier) if you work around their nap schedule and after dinner.

From video calls to nature breaks, we hope these working from home tips help you get the most out of your workday. Whether you’re a freelance designer or startup founder, figuring out how to be productive at home can be a challenge.

But once you figure out your flow, you’ll be a remote working pro.

If work takes you to another city, you can always find your home-away-from-home with Zeus. With smartly furnished homes, apartments and studios, we make business travel a breeze. Our spaces are wired for work with fast WiFi and comfortable furniture so you can book with confidence—know that at your Zeus home, productivity won’t be an issue

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