Are you currently working from home or are you a newbie in this particular remote work culture and arrangement? Then be aware that the work-from-home setup has many benefits.
You just have to make sure that you are ready for it. This means knowing exactly how to maintain balance and stay productive.
Benefits of Working from Home to Remote Workers
During the last couple of years, there is a sudden increase in the number of employees who are working remotely or from home. The main reason behind this is the pandemic that affected the entire world.
Regardless if you are a beginner or someone experienced in the work-from-home setup, you will get to enjoy the following benefits:
Better Work-Life Balance
Working from home can benefit you in the sense that you will enjoy a better work-life balance. The main reason behind this is that the remote work setup is more flexible plus you no longer need to commute to and from work.
You will have more time to accomplish your work responsibilities since you no longer have to spend some time on transportation. You can even use your extra time to take care of yourself and exercise.
Upon finishing your work remotely for the day, you can immediately spend quality time either with yourself or your loved ones and other family members.
The work-from-home setup also has the advantage of superior flexibility. It is so flexible that fitting in your life after working or during your days off is no longer necessary. Now, you can fit your work based on your life.
Remote work also allows you to work anywhere, not just at home. You can work in a café, garden, or anywhere you can think of. The flexibility that this setup can give you at work can empower you to build your work in such a way that it revolves around your life and perfectly fits your lifestyle.
Working from home also allows employees or workers to finally have minimal social distractions from their colleagues or co-workers. This can boost workplace productivity.
Workers also get the chance to take short break times whenever they need them, thereby ensuring that they can go back to work feeling more motivated and energized.
Higher Job Satisfaction
This benefit can be attributed to the fact that remote work involves a higher level of freedom and flexibility for workers. Most also feel happier and more satisfied once they get to adjust to this specific work environment.
Allows workers to create the ideal work environment
By working from home, you no longer have to dress your office in a particular way. You do not also have to use specific desks and home office equipment and stay in an environment not suitable to your needs.
The setup provides an opportunity to work however and wherever you desire. You can make the ideal and most pleasing work environment for you if you work remotely. It is also okay to organize your office setting in such a way that it fits what you truly want.
For instance, you can set it up with a nice desk, the most suitable temperature and light for you, and a chair that can support your back. You also have the option to work in peace and quiet or along with a podcast or your favorite music in the background. Employees work better with this kind of freedom offered by working from home.
How to Succeed in a Work from Home Setup While Enjoying your Personal Life?
Now that you are aware of some of the many advantages of working from home, you should learn some tips and pieces of advice that will surely help you succeed in this setup.
#1 – Begin early
Try to begin your shift as early as possible. Note that when working in a traditional setting, the requirement is often starting your shift at a specific time in the morning.
If you start to work from home, you may be tempted to remain in bed longer, which results in you starting work later than usual. This is something you should avoid if you want to stay productive even at home.
Begin your workday right after waking up to avoid sacrificing your productivity. By doing that, you can improve your progress while having the motivation as you progress on your work day.
#2 – Ensure you have everything you need
You can’t expect to work efficiently at home if you don’t have the proper equipment. Request your office to provide you with what you need, so you will turn out to be an efficient and productive remote worker. Among the usual equipment that work-from-home employees need are the following:
- A personal computer, monitor, or laptop
- Work phone
- Webcams that you can use for meetings
- Any software that promotes ease in working remotely
Request such things from your company right after realizing your need for them. Fortunately, several companies are willing to pay for specific things and equipment that their workers need to be effective homebased workers.
Note, though, that if the period that you require to work from home is only short, compromising on a few purchases may be highly likely. Be willing to compromise and ensure that you only request those you need in a short span of time.
#3 – Designate a workspace
Another of the most effective working from home tips is to designate a particular workspace in your home. By doing that, you can get rid of all possible distractions while increasing your productivity. It would be ideal to create a home office or designate a certain area at home for your work.
However, ensure that you keep your personal and home life separate from your work. In other words, you have to set a designated area at home that is separate from those where you spend some time for leisure. That way, you have a lower chance of mixing your work with unnecessary leisure and recreation.
#4 – Set up high-quality technology
Note that while working remotely is extremely beneficial not only to employees but also to employers, it also has some flaws. One of them is the possibility that the technology you use and install at home is not top-notch.
Yes, the setup makes you feel happier as it lets you work at your pace. The problem happens when you are dealing with an outdated system or poor internet connection. You never want to lose internet connection or deal with a crashing system while you are in the middle of a crucial meeting, do you?
This situation can put you in a bad spot, not to mention kind of embarrassing. It may also have a poor reflection on your professionalism. This is the reason why you have to search for the best sources of tools needed by remote employees.
Among them are a working PC system and excellent internet connectivity. To gain access to a long-lasting and reliable system as well as a strong network, research on speed, price, and specifications of certain plans. Your goal is to find the best out there, so your work will not be disrupted by sudden malfunctions of your system.
#5 – Set and implement ground rules with family members at home
This tip is not only for your family members but also for other people who are part of your household or share your working space. For instance, if you have kids, be clear on the things they can and can’t do while you are still working.
When sharing a particular space with other adults who also work from home, negotiate and compromise meeting and quiet times as well as any equipment you share, like chairs and desks.
In addition, remember that even if you are at home, you can’t let your friends and relatives come and go to your home as they please. Make them understand that they can’t just barge in anytime they want since you are working even when you are at home.
#6 – Invest in comfortable furniture
If you don’t have office furniture yet, it is time to invest in them. Consider your available space then invest in a large desk, comfortable office chair, and probably some quality bookshelves.
There is no need to choose highly expensive furniture, like chairs and desks. You can go for affordable ones that you can easily set up and arrange in your home office. Invest in a powerful monitor arm, too, so you can maximize the desk space.
Keep in mind that you will be working here throughout the day. This makes it necessary to prioritize your comfort above all else. Pick functional and comfortable furniture, like those with good ergonomics.
#7 – Try to get dressed
A work-from-home setup gives you the freedom to wear anything you want, even your pajamas. There is no need for you to stick to a dress code, which is often implemented in companies.
However, this does not necessarily mean that you can no longer get dressed if you want to for the day. Try to dress well as this can make you feel like you are in a real office, giving you the motivation to work.
Dressing well even if you are just at home can also make you feel good. It puts you in the correct mindset once you start your workday. In addition, it prevents you from responding to a spontaneous video call while you are still in your pajamas.
#8 – Take your work outside every now and then
You are also allowed to bring your work out of your home office. This is the beauty of being a remote worker and you have to take advantage of this privilege every now and then.
You may want to work in a library or local coffee shop from time to time, so there will be a change of pace. Just make sure that your chosen outdoor environment is compatible with your level of productivity. Choose spaces with Wi-Fi, too, if your job needs you to use the internet.
#9 – Determine your most productive hours
This is important so you will know exactly when you should schedule your work. It would be ideal to schedule the most difficult and challenging tasks during your most productive working hours or periods.
For instance, if you consider yourself a morning person, complete most tasks during the first half of the day. Schedule meetings in your morning hours, too, since your mind is most likely clearer at that time.
In case your productivity seems to be at its peak in the evening, work at that time. The goal here is to schedule your work hours at a time when you are most productive, so you can finish a lot more.
#10 – Create a to-do list
You also need to create your own to-do list, allowing you to handle and manage work-related priorities efficiently. Dedicate a specific period of time to every task so you can remain on track.
Create a list of priorities in advance for even just one day. This offers the advantage of making you feel more organized thereby encouraging you to finish vital tasks on time. You can also boost your productivity even further if you stick to the same schedule based on your to-do list.
As much as possible, begin your day by reviewing all your priorities. This will help remind you of what you and others expect of you once you start your shift. While working on your list, do not forget to cross off all completed tasks, thereby allowing you to see your progress.
#11 – Utilize a planner or calendar
Aside from creating your to-do list, a planner is also a big help if you want to succeed in a work-from-home setting. You need a calendar or planner, so you can monitor your deadlines, appointments, and meetings.
Your planner is also beneficial in organizing your day. It allows you to organize your many different responsibilities efficiently. In addition, it can give you a visual aid that you can use in monitoring your deadlines more effectively.
#12 – Schedule breaks
Do not forget to nourish yourself and relax by taking a break. Include a few minutes of break in your daily work schedule. You need to step away from your home office even for just a few minutes, so your brain will receive its much-needed rest.
Your break will also let you go back to your work with a much higher level of energy. You can use your break time to have a quick walk outdoors. You may also spend it with your loved ones who are part of your household but ensure that it is away from the space you designated for work.
#13 – Eat healthy meals and snacks
Make sure that you prepare highly nutritious meals and snacks every work day. You need to eat healthy to remain energized throughout the entire day. During your lunch break, eat something healthy.
Choose foods that can restore your energy, so you can take on more tasks once you return to your home office. Instead of cookies and chips, choose healthy snacks, too. Some examples are almonds and carrots that can boost your productivity, health, and wellbeing.
#14 – Prepare meals ahead of time
Speaking of foods, take note that doing your meal preparations in advance is beneficial for work-from-home workers. When at home, there is this constant temptation to make yourself an elaborate meal – be it breakfast or during your lunch break.
It would be much better if you set some time one night before to prepare the meals. By doing that, you can spend most hours of your day focusing on the work at hand, instead of wasting too much time during lunch breaks since you still have to prepare your meals in the kitchen.
#15 – Include exercise in your daily routines
Even if you are just at home, you still need to make sure that your body receives sufficient exercise. What’s good about doing your regular exercise is that it can increase the level of your endorphins, thereby improving your mood.
It will help you have a more positive attitude throughout your workday, making you even more productive. Let your body move for several minutes a day. You should at least do some daily stretching to maintain a good posture or improve it.
#16 – Stick to regular work hours
Another of the most valuable and important working from home tips is setting a work schedule and sticking with it. By having set working hours, your work-life balance will become even better.
For instance, if you have a work from home life, you may be tempted to respond to emails even after your regular hours for work. You may also be tempted to accept a request for a meeting when you already clocked off just because the other lives in another time zone.
Avoid this as much as possible as it may ruin your balance, leading to burnout in the end. Stick to your work schedule and you will surely become a happier and more satisfied remote worker.
#17 – Use a different phone number for work
It can also help you to use another phone number for phone calls and other forms of communication with clients and colleagues. This means separating your work and personal life by using different phone numbers for them.
There is no need for you to invest in a second phone or a landline. You don’t also need another SIM card. You can just use a VoIP service for work communications, like Skype or Google Voice.
By keeping a separate phone number for work, maintaining an excellent work-life balance is highly achievable.
#18 – Utilize a VPN
Ensure that you are also using a VPN every time you connect to a network that is out of your control. One example is public Wi-Fi, which you can often access in cafes, airports, libraries, hotels, and co-working spaces.
Some organizations have a VPN that remote workers or off-site employees can use in accessing specific websites or servers, particularly those with information only designed for use internally. If you are in the same situation, having your own VPN at home can also help.
VPNs are security measures that will protect your systems and equipment from harm as you work from home. You can also combine the use of a VPN with other steps in increasing security for homebased workers.
#19 – Lessen and limit distractions
Working from home can expose you to a lot of possible distractions. Some get distracted by the need to clean, cook, and eat snacks. If you are distracted by the mess, it helps to clean before officially starting your day and after finishing your work.
Avoid using cleaning as your excuse to delay doing your tasks, though. It also helps to prepare quick snacks and meals. As much as possible, do them in advance so the need to prepare meals will no longer distract you every day.
Turn off any electronics and gadgets that may distract you from work, including your television. When working, skip the news and just commit to catching them up later. Limit your personal use of social media during work hours as they are among the biggest distractions for people nowadays.
#20 – Socialize with your colleagues
Your goal here is to connect with your work team out of your work hours. Yes, it is vital to communicate with your team about matters related to work. However, you also have to spend time creating a strong relationship with them that does not strictly fall within the scope of work.
You can have a small talk or casual social interactions with them online every now and then. Encourage team bonding by being part of a company lunch or outing. This is crucial for team building, which is the key to finding a higher level of job satisfaction while promoting ease of communication during the hours you specifically scheduled for work.
#21 – Ensure that you have a stress-free space
You will also have a higher level of success working remotely if you dedicate a spot in your home, no matter how tiny, where you can relax. Note that despite being just at home, this setup can be extremely exhausting at times. There are even those who have a difficult time leaving the work mood.
If you are one of them, do not beat yourself up as this is totally okay. Just create a small stress-free area where you can relax in any way you want. If you find it hard to get out of the work mode, you can integrate one hour for relaxing and being stress free to your daily schedule and do it in the dedicated space.
#22 – Create the same routine for both your mornings and evenings
Another very effective work from home tip is creating a routine for both morning and evening. During the morning, for instance, your routine could include jogging or walking after waking up, showering, eating breakfast, getting dressed, preparing coffee, then starting your work.
Stick to this routine every morning. You need to have a set morning routine so you will be fully prepared mentally for the tasks that you need to do for the day. Aside from the morning routine, it also helps to create an evening or end-of-day routine.
Your routines at the end of the day do not have to be grand. It could be simple but make sure that you adhere to it consistently, so you will feel completely relaxed after each work day.
Among the routines you can set for the evening or end of the day are creating your task list for the following day, walking your dog, or shutting off your PC. It could also be reading a book or listening to your favorite music or podcast. It should aim to make you feel relaxed after an exhausting work day, so you can enjoy a proper sleep schedule.
#23 – Dedicate a space for making and receiving video calls
You also need a video call space, especially nowadays when business meetings and other work matters are often conducted online. This space is even more important if you do several video calls every day as you are working remotely. It could be one part of your home office or you could have a separate place for it.
Ensure that the space has a camera that faces the wall as it has a more professional look. Your wall also acts as a backdrop in such a case. Ensure that the backdrop comes in a single color, too.
For instance, you can set your wall that serves as your backdrop as entirely gray, instead of putting some wallpaper with pink leopard prints. Avoid some crazy prints in the background, too, as they tend to appear unprofessional and are kind of distracting.
Pick a quiet space where you can take your video calls. Too much noise and distractions may only cause you to have a hard time deciphering your video and conference calls and concentrating on the meeting. It also seems unprofessional.
#24 – Clarify some expectations
Be clear in terms of the things expected of you, especially if you are still a beginner in the remote work setup. Determine your work priorities as well as the means of communication you should use.
Ask for more information about your shift hours, too. Do you have to align them with your colleagues or can you choose your own hours? You also have to be clear about the time, especially if you have co-workers who are in different time zones, so you won’t end up having problems with time whenever there are meetings and conferences.
#25 – Use a project management app
As much as possible, stick to only one app to avoid confusion. A project management app is perfect for you if you are not that fond of using a planner or to-do list. Use one of the many modern project management apps at present perfect for WFH setup.
Some examples of these apps are Asana, Freedcamp, Trello, and Basecamp. The good thing about these apps is that they often provide mobile and web-based versions, allowing you to use them both on your PC and phone.
There are even those you can integrate with other apps, promoting ease in collaborating with your team. Most apps are also free. With the help of these apps, you can easily break down large projects into smaller and easily achievable tasks. You can even delegate some of these tasks to your team remotely.
#26 – Use your sick days and paid leaves
Working from home does not necessarily mean you are no longer entitled to sick and paid leaves. If you don’t feel well, make it a point to take some time off. You have to use your sick days, especially if your compensation package includes them.
In case you are self-employed and you don’t have any paid sick leaves, you may have to deal with the temptation of powering through your illness and continue working. Avoid this as much as possible.
Keep in mind that it is still more important to stay focused on your long-term health, wellness and productivity, so rest whenever needed. Start working again once you have completely recovered and you feel like you can already fulfill your duties at full capacity.
#27 – Communicate often
The WFH setup requires you to overcommunicate, which means that you have to communicate to everyone on your team as often as possible. Ensure that everyone in your team is frequently informed of your availability and schedule. Avoid assuming that all of them will remember.
Upon completing an important task or project, inform all who need to know. The need to overcommunicate here does not mean you should always draft long essays explaining each move.
However, it means that you have to repeat yourself. That way, no one will get lost regarding the status of your work. It is also the key for you to stay connected.
#28 – Set up a rewards system
You need to be able to motivate yourself every day to complete your tasks, and you can make that possible by setting up a rewards system. By giving yourself rewards for a job well done or even for your little progress, you will be inspired to get things done – even those tasks that you have been putting off.
Your rewards do not have to be expensive, grand, or elaborate. It could be just a quick 5-minute to 10-minute break that you can use to stroll around your neighborhood or enjoy some fresh air and natural light.
You may also reward yourself with a healthy and delicious snack. Choose rewards that truly make you happy. That way, you will be inspired to fulfill your duties and responsibilities while feeling genuinely contented and happy.
#29 – Use a vision board
This tip can help you a lot if you have already worked from home for a few years. If you are in this setup for a long time already, there is a high chance that it will turn out uninspiring and boring, causing you to have difficulties enjoying your job.
In that case, you can take advantage of a vision board, a board that is useful for writing notes and posting pictures of your aspirations and dreams. The board has a visualization aspect, which is also a powerful and effective mind exercise. It allows you to feel whatever it is you intend to feel.
This can give you a kind of inspiration that will take you out of a slump as you work from home, creating a path to success and productivity. Ensure that your vision board contains your personal and professional goals and aspirations.
Make it a habit to look at your vision board every day, too, as it can inspire you to use the WFH setup to take a step closer to your goals.
#30 – Do not neglect your professional growth and development
This means you should always look for learning opportunities and undergo training. This is an important work-from-home tip as there are instances when remote workers neglect the need for skills development and training courses often taught in person.
Note that you need to continue doing your best to improve and educate yourself. You need this to grow professionally. Aside from top-down training, try requesting in-person or online courses, coaching, and training if necessary.
You can also access a lot of learning sites online that teach and train people about software skills, programming, and business soft skills, among many others. The goal here is to continue improving your skillset, so you can continue to adapt to the constantly changing times.
Ensure that you also have a supportive community – one that will help you whenever you want to learn something or receive guidance.
Possible Challenges When Working Remotely or from Home
In addition to the work-from-home tips we have provided, it is also necessary for you to be aware of the possible challenges you may encounter while you are in this work arrangement. You need to know what challenges are ahead, so you can respond to them properly.
In most cases, working from home makes you deal with the following drawbacks and challenges:
Workers may experience and feel social isolation, especially if they no longer interact with others every day just like when they were still working in an actual office. This social isolation may affect the morale and mental health of workers since everyone wants to feel connected.
Prevent this from happening to you by keeping in touch with your coworkers. You can take advantage of communications technology and solutions, such as Zoom, to stay connected. Use online communication tools, too, and try not to limit conversations to stuff related to business.
For instance, there can be a channel that encourages employees to share personal stuff, like discussions about weekend plans, social events, and trips. This can prevent social isolation and its possible negative effects on mental health.
Tendency to overwork yourself
Overworking is a possible challenge when it comes to working from home. Contrary to what others believe, you will not be underworking in this setup. You will not just sit at home, watch TV, eat snacks, or lessen your workload because there is no boss who will be personally watching you.
You will even be at risk of constantly overworking at home since you will most likely tend to throw yourself into your tasks. It could be in the form of adding a few more hours to finish your tasks or checking your work messages and emails before bed.
It could also be that you accidentally spent thirty minutes writing a response to a client that would have been okay to put off until the next morning. This may lead you to spend a lot of your day at work and improperly manage to unwind and switch off.
If you find yourself overworking consistently, start pacing yourself to avoid burnout. You can lower your risk of overworking by sticking to a consistent routine, tracking your time especially at work, taking a few breaks, and scheduling an activity in the evening.
Minimal direction and supervision
While it is natural for employees to gripe about their bosses, the latter still, no doubt, serves a vital purpose – one of which is to provide supervision and direction. Aside from giving you ideas on what you should do, they are also there to offer feedback.
You can’t get that much direction and supervision once you begin working from home. It is as if you will have to your own business. You can’t expect your boss, or even your clients, to provide you with as much direction and guidance as to when you are working in an actual office.
This could be challenging for you, especially if you are one of the many remote employees who are desperately in need of guidance to remain on track. In that case, it helps to keep your communication open with your boss and supervisor.
Communicate with them all the time and ask about the projects you have to prioritize and their expectations regarding the milestones you should reach within a specific period.
Make it a habit to connect with your bosses at least once weekly to tackle not only your progress but also the challenges you are facing. Discuss ideas that can help in addressing such challenges. The goal here is to make sure they stay in the loop, allowing you to receive better direction and feedback.
Working from home has a lot of benefits for both employees and employers, including more flexibility and freedom. However, it also has a few downsides and you have to be aware of each one before starting this setup, so you will know how to deal with them.
Hopefully, the tips included in this article will help you have a smooth and productive journey as you transition from being in an actual office into a home office or remote working setup.