How to work from home and stay productive

How to work from home and stay productive

Kaleigh Moore

Many of us would probably prefer to work from home…if we knew we could stay productive. But that’s the catch. How can we take the comforting, relaxing environment of home and make it a place where we can still get work done?

Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic means that we’re all learning how to work from home in new ways. The adjustment isn’t easy for everyone. 

Let’s look at some reasons to work from home and how to optimize your own experience to stay productive and happy.

What are the benefits of working from home?

The benefits of working from home include:

  • Creating a more flexible job environment. A survey from 2019 found the top talent wants flexibility in remote working. 80% said that when faced with a choice of two jobs, they would turn down the one with more on-site demands.
  • More productivity. A survey found that remote workers admit to about twelve hours per week in lost work time. That sounds bad–until you realize that studies in the office environment suggest as many as five hours wasted per day.
  • Less stress. 80% of workers experience less stress when they work from home. Respondents cited the lack of commute, less office politics, and a quieter environment as the reasons for this relaxation.

How to work from home effectively

Working from home will already eliminate many of your office distractions like water cooler conversations and colleagues who “drop in” at random times that distract you during your most productive work. We know each of these distractions can cost as much as 23 minutes in recovery time. If you can focus on deep work for chunks at a time, simply eliminating these distractions will make you more productive.

But how?

One crucial step is to use your home sanctuary as a place to focus on the most productive work. Don’t do “busywork” you might otherwise do to pass time at the office, like checking emails every half hour. 

The Workplace Distraction Report found that the average employee will receive about 304 business-related emails a day. You don’t have to be anywhere near that number to understand that performing “busywork” will get in the way of a productive day–no matter where you’re working.

Ideas for your home workstation setup

How do you minimize distraction while working from home? Start with your immediate surroundings. 

Here are a few ideas to create a productive workstation:

  • Take it easy on your body. Create a comfortable, healthy space for working. For example, Consumer Reports says you’ll minimize eye strain if the top of your computer monitor is at eye level.
  • Work in a space that’s solely for work. One of the chief threats of working from home is the unrestricted use of the Internet. You’re a click away from YouTube and social media. But if you can take your laptop to a separate space in your home and try to keep that space solely for work, you’ll form a mental boundary to reinforce the concept of productive time.
  • Personalize your space. One of the reasons remote work is less stressful is that it gives employees a chance to personalize their space. It’s your setup. You choose how it smells. You choose the music. You choose the temperature. Customize them all to your ideal workflow. After all, a supervisor isn’t going to tell you to do any different
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How do you work from home with a baby or young children?

If you have kids, you might have read the statistics on lower stress at home and scoffed. But there are ways you can stay productive even with a family at home:

  • Keep your calendar updated. Here at monday.com, we’ve asked people to block off “family time” on their calendars so others know not to disturb them at that time.
  • Make the most of your uninterrupted time. Hard as it might be, there is going to be uninterrupted time at home. When children watch a movie or take naps, jump on the opportunity for productive work.
  • Create boundaries. Parents.com recommends a visual sign that mom or dad is at work, which is especially important for meetings that rely on minimal interruptions. Something as simple as a red ribbon on the office door will work.
  • Include them in the process. If your children are old enough to understand these boundaries, try to include them in the process. Tell them when there’s going to be fifteen minutes of “work.” Involve them by giving them a fun assignment like coloring books to play along.

How do you connect your computer to work from home?

A great way to stay connected to the office is to make sure you can connect to your work computer from home. Here are some basic steps:

  • Set up a VPN on your work computer. A VPN makes it easy to connect to your work computer from a laptop at home. Check with your work to see which kinds of software they recommend. They may also have someone in the IT Department help you establish the connection.
  • Install the same software from home. Establish the VPN connection by installing the same software from home. It’s not as important which software you use as long as you keep it consistent for a seamless experience.

You can always learn more about remote work and how you can use this time to enhance your productivity without sacrificing the things you most enjoy about home. 

Download remote work templates for alignment and transparency

Here at monday.com, we’ve found that templates help us work in an organized way – and this organization becomes key when working from home. From tracking work schedules to making sure that projects are communicated clearly, having a digital workplace really helps align teams together, no matter where they are. And it promotes transparency throughout an organization, keeping everyone on the same page. 

We’ve put together WFH templates that will get you and your team up and running in minutes. By clearly outlining projects, schedules, and assigning ownership— your team will be collaborating better than ever.  Check out our remote work templates to cut out the clutter that comes with working from home.

 

Kaleigh Moore
Kaleigh is an experienced writer on all things SAAS at monday.com. She is a Forbes + Vogue Business retail contributor on her free time.
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