10 Tips to Effectively Work From Home

If you’ve never worked from home (WFH) before, the idea of having the option of working in your pyjamas is either super strange or extremely exciting. Well, from experience we can tell you it’s no easy feat and it gets old real fast. For those of us new to the WFH lifestyle, after a few days of staring at the same four walls, some of us will be begging for those water cooler convos.

So, how do you maintain your focus and stay productive while working from home? Here are 10 tips to help you stay productive:

  1. Maintain your regular routine. Get up at your usual time, get dressed and make yourself some breakfast. Working from bed in your pyjamas may seem like the comfiest option, but it’s certainly not the most productive.
  2. Set up your workspace. If you don’t have a home office, choose a corner of your humble abode with minimal distractions and have tech support on standby should you have any issues connecting to your company’s network.
  3. Set boundaries with the people in your space. If you have roommates, siblings, children or a spouse at home with you, make sure you set some ground rules. Let them know you’ll need to keep the space quiet and distraction-free. It may also help to keep them aware of your meeting schedule, so they can plan to be in a different room during calls.
  4. Maintain a normal workflow. Continue using your project management software as you would from the office and hold yourself accountable to deadlines. Check your inbox for task reminders and updates to timelines. Consider keeping up with your personal to-do lists and agendas as well.
  5. Stay in communication with your team. Be online and available via your internal communication platform and through email. Where you would normally walk over to coworkers to chat about something, dial into a virtual meeting or give them a call. Keep the lines of communication open for everyone’s benefit.
  6. Keep it light. Chat with your coworkers throughout the day about non-work topics. Share some memes, socialize! Humor helps you to maintain a positive mindset and fosters productivity.
  7. Be available and stay connected. If you have to step away from your workstation, return missed calls or messages when you get back.
  8. Find a quiet meeting space. Nothing is worse than background noise during a conference call. Kids screaming, dogs barking, kitty prancing across the keyboard — it’s distracting for you and your team members. Keep the meetings on task by eliminating any possible disturbances. We aren’t suggesting you lock yourself in the washroom, but if that’s what it takes…
    Quick trick: when on a call, do your best to keep your mic on mute while others are talking to reduce any background noise.
  9. Take breaks. Step away from your computer and take a few minutes to stretch your legs and breathe some fresh air. Make yourself a coffee, prepare a snack and get back to work feeling refreshed. During the pandemic, try to avoid consuming news too often throughout the day. Read headlines, tweets or quick clips to stay informed — don’t dwell.
  10. Maintain regular office hours. If you work 9 to 5 in the office, keep this schedule while working from home. Your body is already in this rhythm, sticking to it offers you more stability and holds you accountable to your colleagues who will most likely be maintaining the same hours. Once you’re in “home mode”, unplug and allow yourself to recharge for the next day.

Most importantly, remember that this is temporary. Self-isolation during a pandemic such as COVID-19 is important to help ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations. If you have any work from home tips, please feel free to share these in the comments!

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