Setup a home office - how to work from home effectively

Do you master and enjoy working remotely? Would you want to work from home effectively? The following 10 tips will help you accomplish that.

It can be super challenging working from home. Unlike working from the office, there are tons of distractions, less accountability and insufficient communication. It is however not impossible. There are many ways to maintain productivity while working from different locations.

While you may dilute working from home full-time to working from home a couple of days per week, or even if you’re just working from home while sick, these tips can help you get the most out of remote work hours. It is quite tremendous what you can achieve in a day’s work.

I was reviewing some of the challenges and the corresponding remedies and here are proposals to get you working from home;


1. Maintain regular work hours

Work from home effectively - Keep work time

You may work any number of hours a day, but make sure this is consistent. As first step to ensuring productivity while working from home, you need to maintain regular work hours. It might be quite tempting to allocate flexible start-times, frequent breaks and call it a day without reaching targets for the day. Maintaining consistent work hours makes you accountable to yourself and to your boss or project team. This gives you more likelihood to get all your work done, and the ease to get in touch with you.

Some factors to consider when setting up a work from home schedule include:

  • Distance and traffic challenges traveling to work
  • When your boss needs you to be available
  • Communication with your colleagues and clients
  • Your most productive time of the day

To Work from home effectively doesn’t mean you are under obligation to work 9-5 everyday. On certain days, you may work the hours when you are most productive. However it is an awesome idea to confirm when your boss really needs you to be at work. For example, check your emails each morning, or be available by phone in the afternoons. Other than that, allocate times of the day when you’re likely to get the most work done. Make sure to communicate those hours of availability to anyone that might need to get in touch with you, and your work consistency would be established.


2. Separate work time from personal time

Separate work time from personal time - How to work from home effectively

Just like focusing on work when you decide, it is also important to give yourself time off when you promise to. Avoid the temptation of extending the work day too far beyond your initial plan lest you burn yourself out.

It also helps to keep work time and personal time discretely categorised to as to keep productivity while you’re at work, while also reducing stress when you aren’t at work. Just like you schedule work hours, schedule, communicate and plan when you will not be available to work. For example, if you would spend time with family, ensure that you communicate that you aren’t available for work during that time. This helps you to work from home effectively.


3. Develop a workflow plan and follow it through

Develop a workflow plan - work from home effectively

One of the surest ways to maintain high productivity is to be effective at planning your work day. Do the right thing by listing down your priorities for the day, the amount of time you require to accomplish them, and what your extra time would be used for.

It might be rewarding to take a few minutes before bedtime to plan your work for the next day. That way, you shelf off the stress of panning in the morning while you sleep. If planning before bed time actually interrupts your sleep, try drawing up your work plan in the morning while you take breakfast or run out/exercise before work. All these would give you great insight on how to work from home effectively.

When planning, consider the following:

  • Do the tasks with the highest priority first
  • Your natural energy matters greatly, so plan your day around your natural cycles and do the hardest work when you are most energetic throughout the day
  • Apportion to yourself rewards and breaks throughout the day


4. Break up the day

break up your day - work from home effectively

Let’s consider you followed the last step through. By that, you’ll have successfully planned breaks for yourself throughout the day. Make sure to leave your desk during those breaks; You could get some fresh air, take a refreshing and refilling snack, have a chat with some human being where that is possible. All of these will help you start-over, speed up your metabolism, and ensure you’re all set for the next chunk of tasks.

Plan how you’ll spend your breaks way before time, so you don’t get easily distracted. Also important, plan how long your break will be ahead of time before you take it so you can really focus on the things that matter. You could take somewhere between 10 to 30 minutes for shorter breaks, usually called tea breaks in the corporate world, and 1 – 2 hours for a proper lunch.


5. Dress for work and be smart at it

Dress for work and be smart at it - work from home effectively

Dressing smart is generally inspiring for many and it is generally believed that having a level head yields great returns. Even if you don’t plan on interacting with another person throughout the day, it’s extremely important to dress for success. This includes showering and brushing your teeth! This magically tells your brain that it’s work time, not leisure time, and that will act as an energy booster. Casually dressed might be more comfortable, but might also make you feel sluggish, sleepy, or demotivated.

It’s also one of those rare opportunities to give a new outfit a test drive–risk free!

If motivating yourself seems to be a nightmare for you, try laying out your outfit the night before, or planning an outing during the day so that you have to get dressed. It pays to be smart at it.


6. Setup a home office

Setup a home office - work from home effectively

Often times, you might be tempted to work from your couch, easy-chair, or even from your bed, but this could consistently steal away your productivity. Endeavour to always work fro a consistent room, desk, or chair, to tell your brain that it’s time for work, not leisure.

You’ll certainly feel more alert, more confident, and more organised. Try setting up a desk where you frequently work. Get yourself a comfortable, supportive chair, a spacious desk, and consistent workplace tools. Ensure that you personalise your space – no standard format. After all, you will be spending a lot of time there!


7. No roommates allowed

No roommates allowed - work from home effectively

When you have have that decision to work from home effectively, you should, or perhaps, must be able to keep your boundaries, as previously discussed. If you have a family; kids, spouse, relatives living with you, you will as well have to set boundaries for kids, pets, and your spouse or roommates. Have a proper decisive chat with them to give you your space while you are working so you can maintain focus.

Try to keep the boundaries friendly and playful, but be sure to stick to them. One fun idea would be to hang a sign on your office door that indicates when you’re working and when you’re not.


8. Be your own custodian

Be your own custodian - work from home effectively

Personal hygiene counts a great deal if you plan to work from home effectively. Everyone can work from home, but not everyone has the level of motivation required to make such commendable impact. In an office setting, there is always that cleaner, caretaker, guardian or custodian who spends time cleaning after you, and doesn’t seem to be doing anything. At home, the story is totally different, because you don’t have anyone cleaning after you. Keeping your home office clean helps you stay focused, get organised and productive. Even if you’re not bothered by a messy desk, maintaining a level of orderliness helps ensure that nothing important gets lost in a stack of paper as that could be likely.

However, this tip transcends just keeping your home office clean. Working from a messy home could breed procrastination on work tasks in favour of cleaning which is devastating to productivity.

Planning a weekly cleaning schedule can help you stay on top of cleaning your home, so you won’t be tempted to clean during work hours. As an adage, ensure that you schedule regular tidying of your home office!


9. Hype the inspiration

Hype up inspiration - work from home effectively

One of the greatest advantages of working from home is that you can’t distract your coworkers. You may decide to play an inspirational music, jazz, gospel or whatever inspires you. Play it loud and proud, if that’s what gets you moving. Make your collections carefully and include sounds of nature, instrumental music, or even leave the windows open to let the sounds from outside come out. If the tasks you do are repetitive, an audiobook or podcast may even be what you need to keep moving.

Try a few things to find out what works best for you and get the moments going.


10. Stay in the loop

Stay in the loop

Working in an office breeds collaboration and socialisation. Don’t lose this because you are working from. Be sure to check with your coworkers at least a couple of times per week, whether by email, phone, skype, zoom, or even visiting the office in person.

Keep up on a personal level as well as a professional level. You can do this without taking a lot of time – share the things that are most important, encourage your coworkers to do the same, and remember to encourage your coworkers.

If you can master these 10 tips, you will be a work-from-home guru before you know it. You might even find that the days you work from home are your most productive days! For more tips on working from home, you may consider visiting LifeHack

Also make the effort to look at our professional services and see how else we can serve you.

What are your tips for being efficient working from home?  Let me know in the comments.

Author: Divine

Official account of the System Administrator.

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