Working from home is becoming increasingly more popular and this trend is likely to continue for some time. There are great advantages to working from home but for many, it can be changeling, especially at first. What you need are a few effective productivity and time management hacks.
Are you struggling to remain productive when you work from home? If so, you are not alone. Fear not, we can give you some top tips to make it easier and allow you to be more productive.
A recent Stanford study found that most people worked harder when working from home and were more productive. Based on this and similar studies, as well as world and economic shifts, working from home will become more popular over time.
17 Work From Home Productivity Tips of 2024
We give you 17 Top Tips to be productive when working from home. These hacks and tips will give you a clear path and some handy ideas that will boost your productivity and allow you to get more done in less time. Then you can really enjoy the benefits that working from home has to offer.
Most people are resistant to change and working from home is a dramatic shift from the norm. You have to adapt in order for it to work.
These top tips will help you with the process of change.
#1 Organize your space
The first step is to create a dedicated place to work. You cannot expect to be productive working at the kitchen table or elsewhere. You need a quality desk that is large enough for your needs and a comfortable adjustable chair.
Think about ergonomics so that you do not get tired or uncomfortable when you work.
Ensure there is good lighting and a bit of fresh air does not hurt. Have all the essentials on hand. Remember that you will not have assistants and secretaries when you work from home. You will have to attend to cleaning and other basic tasks that you might previously have taken for granted.
Another important reason you need a dedicated workspace is that it will remind you as well as others that you are there to work. When you are in your home office environment you should not be disturbed or distracted. Without a dedicated space, others will not be sure that you are “at work”.
#2 Have the right tools and equipment
Depending on the nature of your work, the standard laptop that you used for emails and quick jobs in the past might not be sufficient. You will probably need something a bit faster with more power.
A good internet connection is critical so this needs to be carefully selected from a trusted and reliable source. Do not skimp on this as it is your main means of staying in touch with the office, your clients, and your colleagues.
Online meetings have become normal so you will need a decent webcam that is set up correctly. Check your lighting as this is important for good visuals. Also, ensure you have decent audio quality coming in and going out.
#3 Use technology to guide you
Hopefully, the company you work for has invested in the right software tools to help you manage the work-from-home environment. If they have not, or you work independently, you need to investigate the best tools to ensure productivity. There are many options available so look around.
Some will offer a free limited service and many of these are excellent. For the best results, it is worth investing in the right plan for your needs.
Some popular remote work tools include:
- Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets
These are just a few of the many options. Some are more focused on one aspect of your business so it is important to investigate and find the ones that will work best for you and your needs. For larger companies, it makes sense to decide on a few options that everyone uses.
Zoom, as we have mentioned before, is critical for meetings although Skype and other platforms are still useful.
Another aspect to consider is a VPN. This is especially important if you work in public areas and use a shared Wi-Fi connection. You do not want to compromise on security and privacy.
#4 Engage in meetings
We have mentioned Zoom already and some people battle to get used to online meetings. Once you get the hang of it, a Zoom meeting is a fast and effective way to meet up with your team, colleagues, clients, and other parties.
You have to make yourself comfortable with the workings of the software and ensure it is set up correctly. What you should then do is actively participate in the Zoom meeting. Before long, it will feel completely natural and normal as if you have been doing your entire working life.
#5 Plan your work
As you would in a traditional office, you need to plan your day, week, and month. You need to schedule deadlines and work out priorities. You can do this the old way with pen and paper or use some of the many tools available. Whatever you do, ensure you have a plan.
You cannot manage what you can’t measure. Keep setting goals with deadlines so that you stay on track.
#6 Avoid distractions
One of the greatest challenges people face when working from home is distractions. These range from other members of the household, the dirty dishes or laundry, phone calls, visitors, the TV, or your latest book perhaps.
It takes discipline and planning to avoid the temptation but if you have a plan and set clear boundaries, for yourself as well as others, this is something you can manage.
If social media or other entertainment distract you, remove the temptation from your workspace. Allocate free time for personal pleasure. More on that later but commit to working when you are at work. Again, planning and schedules help in this regard.
#7 Explain the situation to family and friends
Following on from the above, it is important that you communicate clearly with your partner, children, and anyone else in the house. This will also include friends that might think it is a good idea to pop over for a visit as you are at home.
Be clear and firm. Explain your situation, your schedule, and the importance of sticking to it without disruption. This will above distractions, keep the peace, and allow you to get your work done.
#8 Have a routine and stick to it
Just because you work from home does not mean you should work as and when you feel like it. The only way to ensure productivity is to have a routine. Set fixed working hours and stick to them. This will help you to stay focused and also reduce the distractions we mentioned above.
#9 Get dressed for work
Another important productivity hack is to get dressed for work every day.
It might be tempting to hop out of bed in your PJs and get to work. This is a mistake. Dressing up for work will put you in the right frame of mind, prepare you for the day, and remind you that you are actually at work.
You do not have to be quite as formal as you might have been at the office but make the effort. It will help. This is always important but especially true if you are going to have a Zoom meeting!
#10 Take regular breaks
You still need breaks. Do not go to the extreme of working flat out from home without any breaks or time to yourself. Take short regular breaks and give yourself some time between tasks and projects. Studies show that workers that take breaks are more productive than those that don’t.
Just don’t overdo it and go on a Netflix binge.
#11 Be aware of your productivity peaks
We are not all the same. Some people are more productive in the morning while others are late afternoon or lunchtime. Be aware of your peak energy levels and adjust accordingly. Within reason, work your schedule around the times when you are most productive.
#12 Avoid multitasking
This is a common buzzword in the modern work environment and many, especially the younger generation swear by it. It is a debatable topic and while it may work for some, many studies have shown that multitasking is counterproductive.
Again, we are not all the same but do not try to force yourself to be something that works against your productivity. For most of us, focusing on one task at a time and getting it done before moving on to the next one is the ideal way to boost productivity.
#13 Consider a separate phone line
This relates to distractions and interruptions. It might well be a good idea to have 2 separate phone lines. One for work and one for friends and family. This will help you to stay focused and avoid disruptions.
#14 Get out now and then
Just because you work from home does not mean that you have to sit at your desk alone day after day. This will soon become a bit lonely and possibly stressful. Every now and then, head out to a coffee shop or other venue for a change of scenery.
Find a conducive environment that will give you a break from the routine of sitting alone at home all day. You want somewhere relativity quiet that hopefully has decent coffee. These occasional beaks could help to improve your productivity.
#15 Do not isolate yourself
One of the dangers of working from home is isolation. By nature, we are social creatures. Even those of us that are a bit shy or reserved benefit from the company of others. Do not allow your work-from-home environment to lead to isolation.
You need to keep in contact with friends, family, colleagues, and others. This can be done face to face if time and circumstance allow or even virtually. Despite the need for a schedule and regular working hours you still need to interact with others. Do not neglect that aspect of work or life.
#16 Allow for sick days
Just because you work from home does not mean you will never feel sick. We all have those really bad days from time to time. Do not force yourself to slave away if you really do not feel good. Take the time to look after yourself and recover. We are not machines.
#17 Appreciate the advantages
There are numerous advantages to working from home and you should value and appreciate them. Firstly, getting to your “office” will take a few seconds. Many people spend hours per week commuting, fighting the traffic, and stressing about the trip. Working from home allows you to avoid this hassle.
You have more freedom and flexibility at home. While this needs to be used responsibly, it does mean a slightly more relaxed environment. You have access to your own things, your own kitchen, and other items that would not be available at the office.
While there are many challenges one must always appreciate the numerous benefits of working from home.
Provided you approach it with a positive attitude and a clear plan and structure, working from home is a great experience. The reality is that it is the new normal for many people and you have to make the most of it. It certainly beats the alternative of not having work.
If you follow these productivity hacks you will find that you are happy and productive working from home. It might take a bit of time to adjust, this is normal. Listen to and think about the tips we have given.
Work out the best way forward for you but understand and stick to the basic guidelines. You will soon find that you can work extremely productively from your home. The sooner you adopt these habits the better your work-from-home experience will be.