Tips on how to work productively from home

February 4, 2020

Working from home can be great, but it can also come with its fair share of distractions and obstacles. Read on to see what tips we recommend for a positive working from home experience.

1. Get started early.

When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring.

Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up.

2. Pretend you are going to the office.

The mental association you make between work and an office can make you more productive, and there's no reason that feeling should be lost when working from home.

When working from home, do all the things you'd normally do when going into work: Set your alarm, make (or get) coffee, and wear your work clothes.

3. Structure your day like you would in the office.

When working from home, you're your own manager. To make sure you stay on schedule, segment what you'll do and when over the course of the day. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks.

4. Choose a dedicated workspace.

Just because you're not working at an office doesn't mean you can't, well, have an office. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the couch -- spaces that are associated with leisure time -- dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work.

5. Commit to doing more.

Projects always take longer than you initially think they will. For that reason, you'll frequently get done less than you set out to do. So, just as you're encouraged to overestimate how much time you'll spend doing one thing, you should also overestimate how many things you'll do during the day. Even if you come up short of your goal, you'll still come out of that day with a solid list of tasks filed under 'complete.'

6. Work when you're at your most productive.

Nobody sprints through their work from morning to evening -- your motivation will naturally ebb and flow throughout the day. When you're working from home, however, it's all the more important to know when those ebbs and flows will take place and plan your schedule around it.

To capitalise on your most productive periods, save your harder tasks for when you know you'll be in the right headspace for them. Use slower points of the day to knock out the easier, logistical tasks that are also on your plate.

7. Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you.

Possible one of the most important. Of course, you might be working from home but still have "company." Make sure any roommates, siblings, parents, spouses, and dogs (well, maybe not dogs) respect your space during work hours. Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you're home.