Work from home office space

March 24 2020

by David Tillson


Staying Productive While Working From Home

So many of us have made the move to working remote in the last few weeks. While some may be excited about this new opportunity to work from home, others may be finding themselves stressed and unprepared for such a new way of working, especially long term. To help with the transition, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to help you stay productive while working from home. 

Create your Workspace

One of the first things you should do when you switch to working remotely is to create a workspace. It may seem like a good idea to set up a workspace from your bedroom or on the living room couch in your favorite pair of pajamas, but this may cause some loss of productivity in the long run. Do yourself a favor and create a separate workspace in your house that can become a dedicated area for working. This will help you to leave work at the door at the end of the day and to help set boundaries for yourself that will keep you more on track during the workday. Given that this time of working remote is for the foreseeable future, put the extra effort in to create an area for yourself that will help you thrive in your role. Add house plants or music to brighten up your workspace and make it more inviting.

When setting up your workspace, it’s also important to make sure you have the tools needed to complete your work safely and efficiently. See if your company has a VPN they will be using while team members switch to remote and set that up from the start to ensure a safe connection. If you are working from a personal computer, having a VPN will help to protect both you and your company.  Working from a personal computer may mean that you do not have some of the tools you frequently use to complete business tasks. Currently, products like Microsoft Office are being offered at discounted rates or for free to make the transition to remote work that much easier. Do some research and see what tools are out there to fit your needs. You may even find a new product or two that you can bring back into the office.

Keep Your Routine

As previously mentioned, it can be incredibly enticing to stay in pajamas all day and work from the comfort of your bed. During this time of working remote, it’s crucial that you stick to a routine to help keep you productive. Get up at your normal time and follow the routine you usually would as if you were going to the office. Use the time that would normally be spent on your daily commute to invest in yourself through personal development. For example, the mindfulness app, Balance, is offering a free one year subscription to their services. 

Instituting a structure similar to what you would have in the office will help to keep you on track with your productivity and create a sense of normalcy to your day despite being in different working conditions. Take advantage of different technological resources to enhance your organizational skills and keep yourself accountable. Tools like Todoist and Evernote offer free versions of their software and are aimed at helping you to keep track of tasks and create stronger meeting notes. Stay organized and create a routine that is going to work best for you. The biggest takeaway here is to not the comfort of your home distract you from the cadence you would normally have in the office.

Communicate Often

For many offices around the world, this is the first time business is being run remotely. Many of the little connections that normally take place in the office like water cooler meetups and short conversations in passing are no longer happening. Intentionality is going to play a huge role in your productivity at home, especially in the category of communication. With many of us remote for the foreseeable future, keeping in touch with colleagues, clients and point of contacts will be vital to keeping your sanity in check. Opt for video calls when possible and touch base frequently with your teammates on projects and tasks. Tools like Zoom are great for hosting online conferences or quick syncs with co-workers. May of them often feature fun add-ons like virtual backgrounds or chat boxes to make the meeting a little more engaging. You’d be surprised at what a difference this can make to company morale.

Communication tools for team collaboration can also help to take the place of those break room chats we are all so used to. Our team loves using Slack and have seen a huge increase in our messaging at this time. Slack offers a wide range of apps that work with the program to take communication and team unity one step further. Apps for Slack like Donut create the opportunity with team members each week to have 1 on 1 meetings and to connect over virtual coffee or lunches. While you’re upping your team communication, remember to check in with one another on non-work topics too. If you’re going stir-crazy from being remote, chances are, they are too!

Additional Resources To Increase WFH Productivity

We understand that for many employees and leadership teams, transitioning to remote can be uncharted territory. Staying aware of your needs as well as the needs of your employees will carry the most value and make the largest impact on team productivity while working from home. For leaders in need of a guide to aid in transitioning your company to remote work, Gallup has created an incredibly helpful resource to help management navigate this path with informed confidence.

Lastly, take care of yourself during this time. Transitioning to remote work after working in an office for 40+ hours a week can take some getting used to. Pay attention to your needs and what areas of your life you may be feeling overwhelmed in. Mental health plays a large role in productivity. If you’re not on top of your own personal wellbeing, trying to be productive in your work can feel nearly impossible. This downloadable resource page from Workplace Mental Health for example is a great place to start to educate yourself on practical ways to keep productive and mentally healthy while working remote. 

Working remote is no easy feat, but know you’re not alone in this boat. Find a strategy and routine that will work best for you during this time and stay in constant communication with your peers and colleagues. Putting your best foot forward each day and holding yourself accountable to the plans you’ve created while working remote will be the key to staying productive.