With the coronavirus forcing people to stay at home and practice social distancing, millions of people are working from home for the first time.
Unlike what many Instagram influencers will lead you to believe, working from home isn’t typing a few emails poolside, in your backyard hammock, or on your couch with Netflix blaring in the background.
Remote work is a skill, just like learning how to code. While anyone can learn how to be effective while working from home, it definitely takes some practice.
In this post, we’re sharing seven tips to help you work from home effectively, including
7 tips to help you work from home
- Create your own systems to hold yourself accountable
- Assume the best intentions
- Prioritize results over “butt-in-seat” time
- Be a problem solver
- Minimize distractions
- Take breaks
Create your own systems to hold yourself accountable
Assume the best intentions
Prioritize results over “butt-in-seat” time
Be a problem solver
One of the most popular remote work tips is to have a set routine for when, where, and how you work each day. While this is a good start, it doesn’t go far enough.
It’s not about simply getting up, doing your morning routine, and being at your home office by 9 a.m. Instead, it’s about creating systems to help you be productive and show up consistently each day without relying on sheer willpower.
The systems you create for yourself should act as guardrails that give you the necessary constraints to keep you focused, productive, and creative.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as writing down your top three priorities for the next day and then having a designated start time so that you can hit the ground running with your most important tasks.
It’s almost impossible to over-communicate when you work remotely. Just like you can’t walk over to your coworker’s desk when you have a question or need to find out what the next steps are with a project, your coworkers won’t necessarily know what you’re working on either.
One small thing you can do is to send out a daily Slack message or a weekly email with the top three things you’re working on, any areas where you’re stuck or need help, and any recently completed projects.
Check out this post for five communication tips.
It is easy to take things out of context when everyone is working remotely. This can create unnecessary conflicts, disputes, and added stress. It’s always best to assume good intentions. If you’re unsure about something, be a grown-up and resolve it over a call.
Remote work forces you to prioritize output and results over butt-in-seat time. You can no longer clock in at 9 a.m., look busy, and clock out at 5 p.m. Instead, you’re evaluated on what you actually did.
While this is definitely an adjustment for many new remote workers, there’s a ton of freedom and opportunity that comes with remote work. You can prioritize your workload based on your priorities and energy levels instead of your time. This means that if you’re super focused one day and get everything on your list done in four hours, you can stop working without feeling guilty.
The best remote workers are inherently great problem solvers. If they run into an issue, they’ll either find a way to fix it themselves or propose a solution.
For example, if you have trouble getting your VPN to work, you don’t have the luxury of just stopping by your IT person’s desk and asking them to fix it. Instead, you need to be comfortable troubleshooting this yourself.
Whether checking social media, reading the news, putting in a load of laundry, or trying to keep your kids from destroying the house (and fighting with one another), there’s no shortage of distractions.
If at all possible, create a designated quiet space — ideally with a door — for your home office. This is a place where you can go and get work done free of any chaos.
In addition, you can use a Pomodoro timer app to work in short, 25-minute sprints and block off any distracting websites such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, CNN, etc.
Remember to get up, stretch, and take a break often. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to power through work and Zoom calls. Before you know it, five hours have passed since you sat down at your desk.
When you’re stuck at home day in and day out for the foreseeable future (#quarantinelife), it’s even more important to take breaks, whether to grab a glass of water, make yourself a healthy lunch, stretch, or try your hand at a new TikTok dance craze.
If you’ve never worked from home before, it’s an adjustment. However, these seven tips can help you become a remote work pro in no time.