According to Global Workplace Analytics, 4.7 million employees in the U.S. work from home at least half the week. Additionally, 44% of employees say that part of their team is full-time remote (Buffer). This shows how remote work has become part of the modern work culture.
So, if this is all new to you, just know that many businesses across the world have remote workers and still get the work done to move their company’s bottom line.
We are listing statistics and tips to help you get ready to take on your new temporary work situation with ease.
Before we get into the details, let’s talk about what working from home really is and isn’t.
Working from home is when you are an employee that works in the office on a regular basis, but your business allows you the flexibility to work from your home occasionally.
Also, it can be required in certain situations, such as a sickness, where your company asks employees to or needs to set it up so that all employees can work from home.
An employee working from home doesn’t mean they are a remote worker. Working from home is a benefit companies offer and it’s also a privilege in the more serious situations we mentioned above.
Remote workers’ regular workday is from a remote location to that of their company’s office. They aren’t employees who just aren’t in the office for the day or short amount of time. Remote work is a way of working.
Below we included a few productivity statistics about working from home and remote work to give anyone who is apprehensive some hope.
Remote work comes with benefits such as better work-life balance, increased productivity and better focus, less stress, and avoiding commute.
For those who are not remote workers but have to or get to work from home we have listed some tips on how to navigate it below.
Here are some tips on how to work from home.
1. Start Early
On a normal workday, you wake up early to get ready and commute to work. This helps you wake up and feel ready to start working when you roll into the office. Without that time to transition into work, it will be hard to start your day in a productive manner. You don’t want to let your morning sluggishness take over.
So, wake up early, get ready and start on a project as soon as possible. Pick something on your to-do list that you enjoy, or you know you can tackle pretty quickly.
2. Prepare Like You Are Going to the Office
As we mentioned the transition into work mode can be tough. Also, your mind has an association with work and your office that allows you to be productive.
So, to ensure you are productive, try to get ready in the same way. Wake up to your alarm, make coffee, and change into different clothes. Even just changing from your pajamas into sweats can help you keep with your morning routine.
3. Create a Work Structure that Resembles How You Work in the Office
With working from home, there is less structure and pressure from having coworkers working near you. Additionally, if you’re not having as many meetings to break up your day and set your schedule, it can be hard to focus.
To stay on top of projects, set a structure for how you want to tackle your to-dos. If you normally have a morning meeting at 8am, dedicate that time to you analyzing the projects going on in your team and company or use that time to brainstorm as you would with coworkers. If you normally check and respond to your emails twice a day, keep that structure.
Also, it can be helpful to use Google Calendar or a planner to schedule out times when you should be shifting gears to different tasks.
4. Make a Designated Work Space
Working from home can have its challenges with the blend of home and work. To combat that you can create your own at home office. If you don’t have a room that is or can be turned into an office or a desk, try to make areas of your home your workspace.
Converting your dining room into your office for the day and packing up when you’re done is a great option. Avoid staying in your bedroom or even couch since those are associated with relaxing and leisure.
5. Set Your Phone Aside
With more distractions at home, be proactive about the biggest distracter you have on a regular basis at work: your phone. Set it aside where you can’t reach it or increase your screen time limitations to stop you from scrolling on social media for an hour.
6. Capitilize on Your Most Productive Time
Nobody can be at their most productive for eight hours straight. Most have specific blocks of time when they are productive throughout the day. To take advantage of this, save your harder tasks for your more productive and focused times.
Use the slower times of the day when you feel a bit tired to finish the smaller and less intense jobs. Crossing the smaller tasks when you’re feeling more worn out helps build your confidence and momentum.
7. Plan Ahead of Time
Adding more structure to your workflow and planning around your personal obligations can boost your productivity. If you plan your week or the next few days ahead of time, it will decrease potential downtime of waiting for coworkers or having to postpone a project to help your family.
Having a list of items that you have to get done on a specific day or before a certain time can keep you on track. This doesn’t mean you need to have every minute planned. It simply helps you actually get work done, since you’re working in a different environment with less outward pressure to finish tasks.
8. Stay Connected With Your Team
Your company will likely ensure that teams can use instant messaging and video chat alongside email. Even with those measures, not talking in person can make you feel isolated.
So, take full advantage of those tools and use them when you normally would consult a coworker. If you usually ask your coworker quickly what they think of a design you’re working on, email or send an instant message with the attachment to ask your coworker for that feedback.
9. Use Household Tasks As Your Timer
If you’re working from home for an extended period of time, at some point you’ll need a break from the TV show that you use to help you keep track of time. Laundry is the perfect household chore that can not only allow you to keep track of time but also boost your productivity.
You’ll feel accomplished for getting multiple loads of laundry done throughout the day and finish projects in between the buzzes of the washer and dryer.
10. Take Breaks
Everyone needs to take breaks to clear their mind and reset in order to stay creative. At the office, you take small breaks naturally throughout the day. You go get coffee, fill up your water bottle, take a short walk to deliver a document to someone, head to the printer, chat with coworkers, and the list goes on.
Don’t forget to take these essential breaks. It will be hard since working in your sweats at home may make you feel guilty and like you shouldn’t take a break except for lunch. But your mind needs breaks to avoid burnout and your body needs to move.
Walk your dog, take a walk yourself, make a cup of tea, call or chat with a friend for a few minutes, do yoga for 5-10 minutes, eat a snack, etc.
11. Interact With Other Humans
At the office you socialize with coworkers, grab lunch together, go to happy hour, go to conferences, and company events. If you are working from home for even just a week, the loss of that social time can start to impact you.
If you are being required to work from home due to sickness or a pandemic, the social restrictions and distancing can have a bigger effect on you. As we mentioned above, staying connected with your coworkers is important for work and for your social well-being.
If you live with others who are working from home, make a point to catch up and do activities at-home with them. You can eat lunch together and make a cocktail on the day you usually go to happy hour with coworkers or friends.
Interact with your friends and family as much as you can online. Check on those that are sick, those that are still required to go into work and the ones that are also adjusting to working from home.
Plan times you can Facetime your friends and family members. Working from home allows you the flexibility to work with others’ schedules more easily, so take advantage of this when you can.
12. Keep Enterntainment on in the Background
Having some form of entertainment, whether that is TV, radio, podcasts or music, having some background noise can enhance the at-home environment.
In your normal office setting there is generally the buzz of others talking, some offices have music or white noise to drown out silence and keep people focused.
Not everyone will need this but if you work better with the sound of others working around you, this can help mimic that environment.
13. Prep Your Lunch and Snacks
It may be tempting to spend time preparing your breakfast and lunch either to avoid work or because you don’t always have the time with your regular schedule. This can be a huge time waster and make it harder to stay focused later on.
Preparing your lunch and planning snacks, will allow your schedule to follow a normal day at the office more closely. Additionally, you won’t waste any energy on non-work tasks.
14. Set a Strict End Time Each Day
As we mentioned before, the transition into work can be tough and the same goes for the transition out of work. It can be easier to lose track of time in the late afternoon without seeing other coworkers packing up and heading out at 4:00, 4:30 and 5:00pm.
Setting an alarm, a reminder in the Reminders app for you iPhone users, or even using Google Calendar can help you to start closing down the projects you’re working on. Packing up is an easy way to “leave” work, so pack up your computer, planner, pens, sticky notes, and anything else related to work.
If you don’t have a home office and you are working from a desk or the dining room table, be sure to then put away all work items. Physically putting them away will help you mentally process the ending of your workday.
Having your house back to its normal state and with work out of sight and out of mind, you can get on with your night.
These tips will keep your workdays productive and make the change easier on you and your team. No matter if you are choosing to work from home a couple days a year, a few weeks a year, or if your company is making it mandatory to work from home, it takes a while to adjust to the new environment. So, remember to give yourself and others some grace during the transition.