1. Set and Commit to Regular Work HoursIt’s easy to give in to the temptation to sleep in later in the mornings, especially when your desk is mere moments away from your cozy bed. However, it’s best to create a typical on-site work experience as much as possible. Set your alarm clock to allow yourself enough time to get up, exercise, take a shower, dress for work and stop by the kitchen for a healthy breakfast on the way to your “office.” When it’s time for a break or lunch, step away from your workstation as you would at the office. When the workday is over, shut down your home office. Establishing and abiding by these set work hours is one of the top tips for working from home effectively. It can help you stay productive while at work and enable you to maintain a healthy work-life balance under such unusual work conditions.
2. Establish Clear-Cut Work Boundaries With Family, Housemates and FriendsLong-time independent freelancers can tell you plenty of stories of friends, family and housemates who often think that since you are home, you are available to them during work hours. It’s understandable to a degree, especially if you have not clearly let them know that you have set work hours, productivity and deadline requirements, and professional goals. To help limit distractions, let everyone know as soon as you have received your employer’s remote work order that you are setting strict boundaries. This can help avoid confusion and reduce the need to repeatedly explain your professional circumstances.
3. Take Breaks Outside Your HomeOne way that remote workers can quickly learn how to stay motivated while working from home is to take frequent breaks from your work and desk. Standing up and stretching is a great technique to reset your body and kickstart your brain. A trip to a local café or co-working station or a walk in the neighborhood with a friend could boost your energy and help you finish the day strong.
4. Set Up an Ergonomically Friendly WorkstationWork with your employer to ensure you have everything you need to work in a safe and healthy environment. One way to do that is to request ergonomic equipment, such as a chair, keyboard and mouse. If you already have those items at home and don’t mind using them for work, by all means, use them in your workspace. They might be better or more comfortable than what your employer can provide.
5. Invest in a Hands-Free HeadsetWhile you want to set up and spend the bulk of your professional time at your designated workstation, you may also need to get up for leg stretches, coffee and restroom breaks. A hands-free headset can help. If you are in the middle of a conference call and need a breath of fresh air, you can conveniently get up and step outside without interrupting the call or missing any valuable information.
6. Shut Out Ambient SoundsIf you’ve spent most of your adult life at school or in the workforce, you might have forgotten the daily sounds of life in your neighborhood. Many employees struggle with how to stay focused while working from home, especially when experiencing a symphony of sounds. You might find yourself distracted by barking dogs, garbage pickup trucks, lawnmowers and weed eaters to the point that you can no longer focus on your tasks or crucial phone calls. When working on your own, turn on a white noise channel or mobile app to minimize ambient sounds. For important phone calls, find the quietest space in your home or take a drive, and park in a nearby lot or park for temporary silence.
7. Protect Your Home TechnologyYou will likely work with your employer to protect your computer and company data, but if not, you need to make sure to create strong passwords for your wireless connection. Additionally, invest in a virtual private network (VPN) — especially if you are connected to a network you do not control, such as one at a co-working space, café or library. Here are some more ideas to secure your home technology operations:
- Set up firewalls
- Use an antivirus software program
- Secure your home router
- Use encrypted communications
- Lock your device
- Install updates regularly
- Back up your data
- Stay alert regarding phishing emails and questionable websites