Many parts of the world went on lockdown when COVID-19 became a pandemic, forcing most people to work from home. One year later, the virus is still keeping us at home, isolating us from the rest of the world. Working in the comforts of your own home may seem like the ultimate work setup, but we think it’s safe to say it’s nothing like working at the office.
Whether it’s the pandemic that caused you to start working from home or you managed to get a home-based job, you’ll need to make some changes to your routines and habits to make your new work setup a success.
We’re not going to lie. Working remotely isn’t easy. You’ll find many hurdles, such as creating boundaries between work and personal life, determining when and where to work, and procuring office equipment.
To help you get past these issues while working at home, we came up with WFH tips to help you lead a better and more productive remote working life.
5 Working from Home Tips for a More Productive WFH Lifestyle
Whether it’s your intention to work from home or you were forced to because of the pandemic, you need to make your new setup work. You need to find ways to stay productive and focused on your work, but that’s easier said than done. Even people who’ve been working from home for a long time still experience challenges while working remotely.
Here are five best practices for working from home to help you adjust to your new normal.
1. Maintain regular work hours
One of the many challenges of working from home is separating your work time from your personal time. Flexibility is one of the many benefits of working from home, but it could also be a drawback. Many remote workers have difficulty keeping a regular schedule. Some even find themselves working a few hours one day and then pulling an all-nighter the next day.
Setting rules for when you should work and when you should call it a day will help you stay productive while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For example, if you’re a live streamer, set a schedule for your work and stream hours and commit to it.
We understand some interruptions can’t be avoided, such as family obligations, or something you really have to check that box off your to-do list for. Your client or employer may also suddenly require extra hours. The important thing is you should do your best to set and stick to your work hours. Leave work on time whenever possible and avoid constantly checking your phone or email. That way, you can enjoy the rest of the day guilt-free.
2. Plan and structure your workday
Not everyone has the same body clock. Some people are more productive in the morning while others in the afternoon. Structuring your workday can help maximize your efficiency. If you have a flexible schedule, use that to your advantage. Follow your body’s natural rhythm and work during your most productive hours. If you’re a live streamer, you may first want to learn about the best times to stream and set your schedule around that.
When organizing your tasks, we recommend you start from the most important to the least urgent. Shutting the door to your home office (if you have one) can help prevent other household members from disturbing you.
3. Set a designated work area
Do you know why experts recommend using your bedroom for sleep only? It’s because it trains your brain to set your bedroom as a place for sleeping and relaxing. The same analogy can be used when working from home. If you work at the same spot every day, your brain immediately puts you in work mode whenever you sit there.
You can use a spare bedroom if you have one. If you don’t, placing a desk in the corner of your living room or working at the dining table will do. Just remember, consistency is the key. Make sure your workspace is comfortable and functions efficiently for you.
Surround yourself with things that make you happy and inspire you, such as plants, pictures, and music. But really, it’s your choice. Whatever gets you going, make your workspace your own personal nook you enjoy going to every day, and everything else will follow.
4. Avoid distractions
There are always chores to do and errands to run at home. With no boss or colleagues nearby to hold you accountable, it’s easy to become distracted. Put off household tasks, like doing the dishes and laundry, until you’ve finished your workday. You should also make sure to keep away from online distractions, such as social media and other online activities unrelated to work.
Stay focused on work throughout your work hours. Set a timer on your computer or phone if that works for you. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that can help you maintain consistent productivity.
For example, Clockify helps keep track of your time and gives a more detailed report of where all that time has gone, providing you insight into your overall productivity.
If that doesn’t work, you can also use an app, such as Freedom, to block entire apps or websites that distract you from work. This way, you won’t be tempted to browse YouTube or Facebook and unknowingly slip down that rabbit hole.
5. Take breaks
An hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks are the standard break times employees working full-time in the US and many parts of the world. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the same privileges as a remote worker.
Find out your company’s policy on break times and don’t be afraid to take them. If you’re self-employed, make sure to take breaks throughout the day. Step away from your keyboard. Savor your lunch and have a midday meal, even. Don’t deprive yourself of this basic right.
And don’t shortchange yourself. If you have one hour for lunch, take it in its entirety. You can set your timer to keep track of your break time. Of course, this goes both ways. Don’t go under or over your break schedule.
Remote work is nothing new, but learning how to be productive while working remotely is something most of us are still trying to figure out. Fortunately, you don’t have to do that on your own. If you want to learn more pointers on how to successfully work from home, you can take inspiration from other people in the same boat. There are several online communities of remote employees you can join for support. Once you’ve mastered these tricks knowing full well you’ve done your work for the day, you’ll have a more satisfying rest in no time.