Working from Home: Tips and Tools to Keep You Productive

With COVID-19, aka the Coronavirus, spreading around the world, more and more businesses are asking employees to work from home. However, if you’re used to going into the office every day, suddenly being stuck in your house and trying to be productive there can be a challenge.

There are four potential problems with working at home that you won’t experience in person:

In-Home Distractions: Whether it’s your cat jumping on your lap, your toddler screaming for attention or your partner asking you to just take a minute to do the laundry, people and / or animals may be asking for your attention. The environment of your home could be a distraction too, as it’s filled with items like your TV, your snack pantry and your video game console.

On-computer Distractions: Even when you’re in the office, it’s a challenge to avoid checking social media or reading the headlines on a news website.
Isolation: When you’re at the office, you have coworkers to talk to throughout the day, but at home, you’re staring at the wall. That gets kind of depressing.

Lack of tools: At work, you may have a have a fancy office chair, multiple monitors and a good keyboard and mouse. But perhaps at home, you don’t have all of that.

Tips for Working at Home

Here are some tips to help you deal with these problems and be your best.

Lay down the law with family / roommates:
You may have to practice some tough love, but tell them know that they cannot ask for your attention at all during the workday.

Find a dedicated space for work:
The ideal situation is to have a home office that’s a separate room with a door that closes. However, even if you have a studio apartment, you can probably find a corner to designate as your workspace. Go into this space at work time and leave when work is done or for breaks.

Dress for work:
Do not work in your shorts. To get in the mindset for productivity, take your shower, brush your teeth and put on work clothes just as you would when going into the office.

Keep a set schedule:
To maintain work / life balance, log on at the time when you would have arrived at the office and log off at the time you would have left.

Notify co-workers when you log on / off for a long time:
If you’re going to be at lunch for an hour or logging off for the day, it’s good practice to post something in chat to let people know you won’t be around. It’s also good practice to tell your team when you log on in the morning so they know you are available.

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