Working from home is great for comfort, but it can be problematic regarding productivity. There are too many distractions, and other inhabitants may not take your work regimen seriously.
Other than this, working with deadlines and having flexible work hours can lead to procrastination. This is also something that you’ll have to deal with.
At the same time, this is an amazing opportunity, and it would be reckless not to take advantage of it.
Offices are either switching to the fully-remote or hybrid business model. Moreover, there are remote jobs out there that you would never even imagine existing. There’s no limitation, from reading tarot cards online to ghostwriting profiles for dating sites.
With all of this in mind, here are some tricks to help you stay productive at your remote job.
1. Set your work hours
In some lines of work, you don’t have set work hours. Sure, as a customer service representative, you may have to be present 9-to-5, as you would in a traditional workplace, but copywriters, marketing specialists, etc., won’t necessarily work this way.
Just because you don’t have work hours in a traditional sense, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set your own rules. Why is this important?
- First, you’re more likely to procrastinate if you can work whenever you want. After all, there’s no harm in moving the task by an hour or two, is there? Why wouldn’t you take a break to watch the latest House of the Dragon episode? Before you know it, it’s one hour until midnight, and you still haven’t submitted your task. By setting work hours, you’ll reduce the chance of this scenario.
- Second, you’re not alone in the home. It’s fine to ask your friends and roommates to keep the volume down while you work. Still, this is not OK if you work all day. It’s their home as well, and you can’t expect them to be tiptoeing around the place 24/7.
- Third, it’s excellent for your work-life balance. Postponing work and working all day can seriously dent your social life. Even when not working, you’ll feel the pressure of incoming deadlines and think about dropping your current activity to return to work. With traditional working hours, you’ll avoid this.
So, what’s the point if you still have to have work hours? You have the freedom to choose when this is. You can choose the length of your breaks and work from the comfort of your own home.
2. Take breaks
One mistake that remote workers commonly make is skipping breaks to finish work sooner. Because of the lack of traditional work hours, there’s an illusion that you’ll have more time if you finish work more quickly. Now, rushing impacts the quality of the result, but this is not the only problem.
Some remote workers try to cram more work into their schedules to avoid rushing. This makes them skip breaks, which seriously ruins their productivity. So, how can you handle this issue?
Interval working and Pomodoro technique
One of the most successful methods is the so-called interval working. Take, for instance, the Pomodoro technique which is a great time management technique. Here, you work for 25 minutes and rest for 5 minutes. Every fourth interval, you take a longer break (15-20 minutes). This may seem wasteful on paper, but this is because you have a misconception about your effective work.
There’s a difference between working for 60 minutes and working effectively for 50 minutes. This difference is definitely in favor of the latter.
Interval working is quite popular with those who have standing desks. While this sounds uncomfortable, various studies have proven it can positively impact productivity. Not only that, but your posture and BMI may also benefit.
Use your days off
Remember that regardless of whether interval works to be your cup of tea, you still need to take breaks.
Speaking of taking breaks, vacationing and taking some days off is vital for your mental health. You need to recharge your batteries to achieve peak productivity. While you may fear the loss of income, getting overworked is probably worse. The former is a minor setback, which may seriously impact your career and mental health.
3. Invest in your work
As a remote worker, you’re your own boss in many different aspects. This is why it’s so important that you know how to invest in your work. What does this mean? Well, you’ll probably get access to a platform like Trello or Basecamp from your boss. They might even pay for your Grammarly and Ahrefs; however, there are some tools that you might want to consider paying for some tools on your own.
If you need something and your employer is unwilling to purchase the license, why not do it on your own? This should be a win-win if it’s not too expensive and helps you save time and achieve better results.
You also want to self-improve. Again, they might provide you with some basic training and pay for some courses, but this responsibility shouldn’t be on them alone. After all, each course enhances your CV and benefits you even when you decide to leave their employ. Why not set a budget and develop a habit of self-improving this way?
Integration of different tools
The use of tools is not enough; sometimes, you need to make your digital toolset. Integration of different tools is mandatory and can occur in many different ways.
For instance, Levity and Make integration make a logical and potent pair for most remote workers. While Make is an excellent no-code platform, Levity enhances your AI integration, making the work process much smoother.
In fact, when choosing tools for work, you can always check their integration potential with other tools. This way, you can get the most value out of these pairings and considerably boost your workflow.
Set aside a budget for courses
There are so many excellent courses online. Some of these issue certificates are highly valued in your industry. Others have guest lecturers among some of the most esteemed people in your industry. Learning materials that you get from these courses (or even notes that you take) could prove to be invaluable in your future work.
All in all, it’s worth the money invested.
However, these courses are not free. While actively looking for available courses is not a bad idea, having a budget for courses is better. This way, if you encounter a fantastic offer, you can take the opportunity without hesitation.
4. Prepare your home office
Another misconception about working from home is that you can do it in your underwear, from the living room sofa. While this is technically true, it is also an extremely inefficient way of working from home.
What you need is an actual home office.
Having a home office may make you eligible for some significant tax deductions. This, however, only works if it’s a single-purpose room. Bedroom offices or closet offices don’t count. You need a room designated for work and a space you will use exclusively for this purpose.
Second, there’s a reason why traditional offices are the way they are. Investing in ergonomic office furniture is not a luxury. It’s necessary for everyone who wants to get maximum value out of their home office. So, you might need to think seriously about getting a better desk chair.
Aside from this, you should invest in a great computer (desktop or laptop) and spend some money on good peripherals. People who type a lot (like copywriters or programmers) could spend more on a mechanical keyboard. People who spend much time in meetings should get a better camera. Lastly, everyone can benefit from high-end noise-canceling headphones.
5. Eliminate distractions
The biggest drawback of working from home is the distractions. There are other people around. Unlike other people in the office, your family members and roommates aren’t working. They’re strolling around their homes, trying to unwind after a hard day at the office.
As we’ve already mentioned, you can solve this with better headphones. You might even want to soundproof the home office further. You can:
- Install acoustic panels
- Buy a thicker curtain
- Add a rug
- Purchase a draft stopper for your door
Most importantly, you need to have “the talk” with other people in your home. You need to set some clear rules but also be fair and understand their side. This goes much better if you give them the exact time you’ll be working.
Also, you need to talk to your friends and family and explain one crucial concept. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re available. You can’t hang out or hop to the store to get them that one item they just remembered they needed.
Working from home can be a blessing if you play your cards right
Like any other good thing in life, working from home is good only if you make it so. You have more freedom, but you also have a few downsides to deal with as compensation for this privilege.
It would help if you borrowed some principles of working in a traditional office and, for instance, adopted working hours.
You also need to eliminate distractions and improve your working environment. Buy ergonomic furniture and invest in your hardware. Most importantly, since most of your tools are digital, you must choose carefully and integrate what you can.