Boost Remote Work Productivity Using Top 10 Home Office Tips
Working from home is a new experience to many. It’s easy to relax and lose track of your deadlines. Achieve more in less time by following these ten home office tips to boost productivity.
“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” — Jim Rohn
Congratulations to those who are working from home these days! You no longer need to commute for hours to reach your Office, don’t have to wear ironed clothing, and not have to look for silly (often funny) excuses to give to your HR manager on why you are late by a few minutes.
You have embraced the flexibility of Remote working. You can work in your PJs all day long (okay, try to avoid that one), and create your schedule to work at your own pace. Minus office distractions and time-wasting gossip, you are likely to be more productive from home office environments.
However, not everything is rosy with remote working, no matter how convenient it may seem to some working professionals. Remote working carries its unique challenges, which can hamper your Productivity and morale in a big way.
The comfort and temptations of a home can so easily make people lose focus on work, which makes many employers and managers uneasy as they fear low productivity. There can be distractions in the form of — pets, kids, laundry, cleaning, cooking, noises, unnecessary phone calls, checking emails, watching TV, too much sleeping, overwork, etc. Your work-life balance can easily go for a toss and you may feel overly stressed during the workday.
But with some efforts, working from home can result in increased productivity, as the research from Stanford has found out. If you want to be a successful remote worker, you would need an ample amount of discipline.
This post is going to shed light on some easy “tried and tested” tips for working from home effectively that can help remote teams combat challenges of remote work and deliver top-notch work, much to the delight of their employers and managers.
Let’s take a look at them:
1. Have a Dedicated Home Office Space
Remote working does not mean working from your couch, bed, or sofa all the time (occasionally, it’s ok). But you need to have a dedicated space for a home-office, in a quiet corner of your home, fully equipped with the right gadgets, furniture, and tech to give you that “professional” feel of a regular office.
To achieve this, identify the least trafficked area in your house, paint the walls in a soothing color (green would be great), place some plants, stick some motivational posters, and make sure your space has everything you need to get work done. Having a dedicated home office space will also help to mark boundaries between work and personal life.
2. Create a To-Do List for The Day
Time is precious and you can save it when you have already churned out a to-do list for the day before starting work. Whether it’s remote work or traditional office, you need to have a clear idea of tasks you want to accomplish in a day. You might not be typically a list person, but it’s so easy to get off task while working from home.
Using top-rated task management software, you can jot down what you want to accomplish in a day, so you don’t find yourself jumping from one project to another. Having a checklist of things you are supposed to do will help you keep track of your progress besides giving you a sense of purpose for each day.
At the same time, looking at it will also make you alert about pending tasks, so you can step on the gas when required.
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3. Take Breaks
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, as the age-old proverb goes. Taking regular short breaks during work hours has been found to be one of the most effective ways to boost productivity for remote workers. However, you do not have to take so many breaks that it ends up disrupting your workflow.
Grab a healthy snack, make yourself a coffee, listen to your favorite song, walk around your home, whenever you feel tired or distracted. You can also consider using the Pomodoro Technique for taking breaks. This is how this method works:
- Work on a task for 25 minutes
- Put a checkmark on a sheet of paper after 25 minutes are up
- Take a 5-minute break (It marks the completion of one “Pomodoro” sprint.)
- After every 4 Pomodoro sprints, take a longer break
- Follow this method throughout the day, until your work is over
4. Choose The Right Tools
It’s very important to use the right tools that simplify project planning, task management, and team collaboration. You need to work hard and smart to achieve more in less time, and using the right work management and collaboration tools can help you and your team to simplify project management and achieve high organizational efficiency at work.
There are so many tools specifically designed to help remote teams with task management, collaboration, planning, organization, and the sharing of information. Every tool is unique and has its special features, so you should zero in on a tool that meets all your work management requirements.
Using an all-in-one project management collaboration software like ProofHub that has built-in powerful features can help remote workers and team managers to stay on the same page, that too with unlimited users and unlimited projects.
5. Communicate Consistently
One of the main challenges of remote work is that it takes out in-person interaction with coworkers, managers, and even bosses. Unlike regular office environments, there are no daily team meetings, group discussions, one-on-one meetings with managers, or even a quick stroll to your colleagues’ desk.
With in-person discussions (within the team and with other departments) out of the picture, many remote workers end up feeling isolated, demoralized, and left-out from the rest of the pack. Using different team communication tools can help team members stay connected with each other easily and instantly on a daily basis.
Video conferencing is a great way to interact as you can see other people and read their body language as well. A quick phone call during a lunch break to a friend can make you feel good. Instant chat with an individual or group can make communication easier and simpler.
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6. Stay Comfortable
That doesn’t mean napping more than working, but taking a well-deserved, much needed rest from work if your eyes and back are stressed due to continuous staring at the screen and sitting in one posture for long periods. However, staying comfortable does not imply taking breaks alone.
Investing in a comfortable office chair to sit in an ergonomically right posture at your desk, using noise-canceling headphones, having an air conditioning unit, a coffee machine, etc, will help make you feel at ease while you work from a home office. Even adding an anti-glare screen on your PC can considerably up your comfort level, helping you focus on tasks in hand.
7. Let People Know Your Work Hours
Many remote workers face this problem when some of their family members or friends think they can call or pop in anytime they want to, just because the former is working from home. They just don’t seem to understand that working from home does not mean you don’t have work to do!
It’s time you give them a gentle but firm reminder to not to disturb you during work hours. You do not need to be accessible 24/7 to people. When in the middle of your work, don’t pick a call, don’t reply to messages on Whatsapp or Facebook, or turn up at the door when the bell rings.
Let people know not to disturb you during work unless it’s something urgent. Set your boundaries for you, because no one else will do it for you.
8. Dress Like a Professional
Working from home does not mean getting up straight from the bed in your boxer shorts, grabbing a cup of coffee, and heading straight to the computer. You can shower later, right? Once in a while, it’s ok to be casual, but don’t make it your daily habit. You would still need to make a daily routine and follow it wholeheartedly.
Wake up early in the morning, take a shower on time, get ready as you would do for the office. This way, you will not have to panic when you get a random video call from your manager or go somewhere. Moreover, dressing like a professional makes you feel like one and gives you a sense of purpose to your work.
Put those well-ironed pants and shirts on!
9. Set SMART Goals
Keep yourself on track by setting realistic goals and deadlines. Schedule enough time for work in a day so you can complete to-do tasks in a day. You still have to show your productivity to your managers at the end of the day, so having SMART goals will help you optimally utilize time and energy.
Specific- Set specific goals for a day or a week. For example — setting a goal of writing 5 articles in a week or increasing sales by 10% in 90 days will give you something actionable to focus on.
Measurable- How will you measure your progress toward achieving a set goal? Do you have numbers to show for it? Choosing a measurable goal usually involves setting “measurable” objectives that can be calculated realistically.
Achievable- It’s wonderful to dream of becoming the best digital marketer overnight, but is this achievable? Certainly not if you want it to happen overnight. Set achievable goals and then plan how you are going to achieve them.
Relevant- Pick goals that are relevant to your overall success and long-term objectives rather than spending time and energy on goals that take you nowhere your desired results. ncy to finish tasks at the end of the day. It will also help you keep accountable. For example — I should be able to wrap up a 1500-word guest post by the end of the day.
Time Sensitive — Set deadlines; you need to have a sense of urgency to finish tasks at the end of the day. It will help you become accountable, responsible and more productive at your work.
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10. Practice Self-Care
At the end of the day, you will have to take good care of personal well-being so that your emotional and mental health stays at its best. Make space for breaks in your daily schedule, eat healthy and nutritious food, do not overwork to the point of burnout, meditate or exercise, spend quality time with family and friends, etc.
Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial. Dedicate time to work and life in a way that both don’t overlap with each other. Staying stuck in front of a screen all day can be detrimental to your productivity. Go out on weekends, soak in the sun, the wind, breathe fresh air, and give your mind and body adequate time to rejuvenate.
And The Bottom Line Is…
Working from home calls for a lot of self-discipline. You can’t take flexibility for granted. If you have never worked from home office before, it may take you some time to find your flow. When you implement these ten tips to boost your productivity, you’ll find it a lot easier to maintain work-life balance as well as deliver quality work. Good luck!
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Ten Best Home Office Tips To Improve Remote Work Productivity was originally published in ProofHub Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.