What’s inside this article: Working from home has many advantages, but it can slow down your productivity. Here are some helpful productivity tips for working from home successfully.
In 2020, NY Times surveyed 2,000 Americans who work from home and found that:
- 66% are concerned about their productivity
- 29% are afraid to take any meal breaks during work hour
- 6 in 10 feel guilty for taking any break throughout the workday
Those staggering numbers show that people working from home aren’t feeling as productive as they want to be and are struggling with a healthy work-life balance. And surprise (or not) breaks and meals are important so you don’t burn out, and skipping these necessities is counterproductive.
But there are many benefits to working from home, and more of us than ever before are choosing remote jobs. So, here are my top 4 tips to maximize productivity while you work from home.
Productivity Tips for Working From Home
1. Communicate expectations with anyone who will also be at home
This has to be my number one tip. For me, there is nothing worse than being interrupted, I really struggle to regain my focus. But, even if you’re great at shifting focus, constant interruptions lead to wasted time.
This is why it’s critical to lay out ground rules with your family members or roommates about when they can and can not enter your workspace.
Any adults in the home should know your work schedule and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if your boundaries are overstepped.
It may be helpful to have a do not disturb sign for your door to notify others in your household about when they can and can’t come to you during the day. You should also let them know that this means not interrupting you with other forms of communication like text messages.
If you have kids at home, plan activities for them ahead of time that are quiet and engaging, have grab-and-go snacks ready for them, and make their lunch the night before just like you would if they were going to school.
2. Set up a designated office/workspace
You might not have an actual office in your home, but setting up a designated work or office space will help improve your productivity.
This could be a corner in your living room or bedroom or even a desk in the kitchen – it doesn’t have to be fancy or take up a lot of room. A set workspace will help you focus on your work versus working on your sofa or your bed, where you also spend your free time relaxing. It sets the tone.
Try to choose a space where you and other people in the home won’t intrude on one another too often and with minimal distractions so you can concentrate on your work.
It’s also important to keep your workspace tidy and have everything you need to do your job right there. Otherwise, you’ll waste valuable time looking for items or gathering items you need from other parts of the house.
3. Create/follow a schedule
You may have set work hours that are determined by your employer, or you might be self-employed and set your own schedule. Whatever the case may be, this is still one of the most important productivity tips for anyone working from home.
When setting your hours or your schedule, think about the following:
- Your workload
- The time of day when you’re most productive
- Regular breaks
- Other people’s routines in your home
Some of us are more productive first thing in the morning, some later in the day, it varies from person to person. Whenever you are most productive is when you should plan to tackle more difficult or time-consuming tasks.
Plan to complete tasks that require less focus and attention during times when you don’t feel as productive or when things are busier at home. If the kids are getting home from school at 3 pm, it’s probably not the best time to schedule a meeting if you’re the only adult in the house.
What this looks like will be unique to each person, so it’s something you need to plan out carefully based on what works for you. And, if something isn’t working, try adjusting your schedule to find the best fit.
Breaks are incredibly important. Schedule frequent breaks into your work day and when it’s break time, stop what you’re doing and leave your workspace.
Make sure you’re taking the time to eat, drink water, and move around throughout the day.
Include a morning routine in your work schedule & a clear end to your workday
When you work from home, it’s easy to roll out of bed, make a coffee and plop down at your desk in your pajamas, but you’ll be more productive if you follow a morning routine and get ready for the day just like you would if you were working on-site.
- Set your alarm for at least an hour before you start working
- Get ready for the day just like you would if you were working onsite
- When you’re done for the day, shut down your laptop and leave your workspace
4. Don’t be consumed by social media
This might be one of the most obvious productivity tips for working from home, but also one of the most challenging to follow.
We spend so much time on different devices, our phones rarely leave our sides, and we are almost always available to the world through text messages or social media. For a lot of us, this is a necessity. Clients and co-workers need us; we have kids who need us. But inside those cell phones are tons of distractions, too.
It’s harder to limit access to social media when you’re at home versus in an office environment, and you may not even realize how much time you’re wasting checking social media.
If you’re opening your social apps a lot during working hours, try logging out of your accounts before starting work. Turn off notifications for distracting and unnecessary apps on your phone and remove social bookmarks from your web browser.
This reduces temptation, but you can still remain available to those who need you during the day.
Benefits of working from home
As long as you remain productive, working from home offers many advantages over traditional office environments.
Some benefits of working from home include:
- Less commute time
- Better work-life balance
- Easier to save money
- Better for the environment
- More flexible work schedule
Implementing these four productivity tips for working from home will allow you to reap the benefits of working from home while getting more work done and having more time to focus on yourself and your family.
Do you have any tips that boost your productivity levels? Share them in the comments.