With the current coronavirus pandemic, many people are working entirely or mostly remotely for the first time. There’s also a lot of speculation that telecommuting will be much more common once we start getting back to our “normal” lives, as we come to appreciate its many benefits and just how many jobs can be completely or largely performed from home.
While it’s been well established for years that remote workers are often more productive than those in the office, it can still be challenging to adjust to. So, here are some productivity tips for working from home that can help you succeed at your new way of doing the job.
Telecommuting Productivity Tips
- If you don’t have a designated room for it, create as much of a home office as you can. Ideally, it’s someplace where you won’t have distractions like screaming kids or TV shows playing. Check out these tips for designing a good home office, too.
- Put on some clothes. Yes, it’s tempting to work in your pajamas or underwear, but this can mess with your mindset—especially if you’re used to being dressed a certain way for work. Dressing the part helps you feel more professional and get into a productive frame of mind.
- If you have a spouse or partner and kids at home, make a schedule for when each adult is on kid duty, and when the kids are expected to amuse themselves. Just make sure to balance kids’ alone time with attention from the grownups; obviously, it’s good parenting to pay some attention to them, but it also helps them be more respectful of the periods they’re supposed to be on their own.
- Keep a daily to-do list, and prioritize the items on it. It’s a handy way to create a plan for the day and to know if you’re falling short of the goals you need to meet.
- Know when it’s work time, when it’s break time, and when your workday is over. Set alarms as reminders if necessary. And let your boss and co-workers know when you’re on the clock and when you’re not. It’s so easy for the boundaries to blur between work and home life when they’re happening in the same place. But it’s not healthy or good for your productivity over time to let that happen.
- One of the most important productivity tips for working at home may seem a little counterintuitive, but remember to take breaks. You need to get up and move around periodically throughout the day, and to get away from your work once in a while. It’s good for your physical health, and it lets you come back to your tasks refreshed and better able to focus.
- Maintain a clean, clutter-free home office environment.
- Avoid the temptation to go onto social media networks, news sites, or other distracting websites during work hours. It’s even easier for them to suck away all your time at home, where there’s nobody to catch you slacking. Turn off notifications on your phone, browser, email, etc. And if your home computer or laptop browser has tabs open, bookmarks of favorite sites, or fun add-ons, use a different browser while working.
- Make phone calls when you need to talk to someone. You might be surprised how much more efficiently things can get resolved this way as compared to texting or emailing back and forth.
- Use some of these tips for recharging on your days off to prevent burnout and ensure that you return to work refreshed and ready to be productive (even if a few of the ways to do so might be off the table during the time of quarantine).