How to Work Effectively From Home

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have implemented voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies. That means lots of us have been dealing with an unusual challenge: working from home for the first time, full-time.

These tips will help you make sure that you’re successful, both at getting being productive and at maintaining your mental well-being:

Know the ground rules

Does your employer require a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility? Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi? What technologies do you require, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats? 

It’s important that your employer spells out the ground rules and ensures you have the appropriate equipment, such as a laptop, as well as network access, passcodes, and instructions for remote login. Be sure to test and work out any problems that might interrupt your work.

If your employer hasn’t set out any ground rules, it may be worth suggesting they create a Work From Home policy to share with you. 

Set up a functional workspace

If you’re used to going into an office each day, the separation between work and home is physical, and you want to try to recreate that as much as possible with a designated physical workspace at home. Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s critical to have a private, quiet space for your work. Your workspace doesn’t have to be its own room, but it should feel as separate from the rest of your home as possible. If you haven’t already done so, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities.

Get the internet speed you need

If you have kids, their FaceTiming and Video Game habits are likely slowing your connection and download speeds. Moving as close as you can to your Wi-Fi router can help (devices that are distant tend to draw on bandwidth), or consider switching to Ethernet. 

Minimize Distractions

Consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones, such as Apple’s AirPod Pros to lessen distractions from others around you.

Plan Social interactions

Some folks love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic or lonely after some time at home, alone, staring at the same project for long hours Be prepared for that, and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time, like a lunch date, a video chat with a friend, or an exercise class.

Get Dressed

It might seem like a simple tip, but it’s crucial. It’s tempting to stay in pajamas all day, but any day you give into temptation can be much slower to start and less productive overall. You don’t need to dress as formally as you might for work, but the simple act of changing clothes serves as a signal that it’s time to wake up and get things done. 

Keep Clearly Defined Working Hours

Just as you designate and separate your physical workspace, you should be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not. You’ll get your best work done and be most ready to transition back to the office if you stick with your regular hours. Plus, if your role is collaborative, being on the same schedule as your coworkers makes everything much easier.

Build Transitions Into (and Out of) Work

Your morning commute not only gets you to work—from one physical location to another—but it also gives your brain time to prepare for work. Just because you’re not traveling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t perform routines that help you ease into your workday. If you typically read or listen to music on your commute, do that at home. At the end of the day, give yourself something that will signal the end of work. An activity to decompress like something physical and fun to ease your mind after the workday.