Working from home or from a remote location has plenty of perks, but it requires a different mindset compared to working in a traditional office. At DoubleShot Creative, we work from home most of the time, and we know from personal experience that it can take some time for new remote workers to adjust to their new working environment. Here are our top tips to embrace the work-from-home lifestyle and stay productive:
The most common thing we hear from people when we explain that we work from home is: “Don’t you get distracted? I would never get anything done if I worked from home.”
This is a fair concern, as there can be far more distractions at home than in a traditional office. While you may not have a chatty coworker interrupting your workflow, you may be surprised by how many distractions are in your very home. Housemates, pets, and daily chores can all turn into distractions, but how can you avoid them?
Well, there’s no need to throw the cat out or get upset with your roommate or spouse. Instead, communicate with your housemates when you have an important meeting or deadline, so they know to be respectful of the noise level and avoid interrupting you. If your pet won’t stop badgering you for treats or playtime, find a nearby coffee shop or co-working space where you can power through your most pressing work (and then get home to give your pet some well-deserved cuddles).
Limit social media and other internet-based distractions to lunchtime and breaks. If you find that you struggle with this and catch yourself mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, install a Chrome plug-in like StayFocusd that stops you from visiting those sites.
Finally, the best way to avoid distractions is to find a time-management system that works for you. Whether it be time-blocking, the Pomodoro technique, or a Passion Planner, it’s essential to find a way to manage your time and stick to it. We find it’s best to structure your day like you’re going to the office and set daily goals and tasks to keep you on target.
When you work from home, you’re not able to grab a snack from the company kitchen or enjoy lunchtime as a group, and this can lead to two potential issues. On one hand, you could forget to eat entirely if you’re extremely focused on a project, because you don’t have coworkers around you to invite you to lunch. On the other hand, you could find yourself taking up too much time making breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home while you’re trying to meet a deadline.
Luckily, these issues have the same solution: meal-planning. There are different ways to meal-plan, so find what works for you. If you’re the type of person who can take an entire Sunday to make all the food for your upcoming week, that’s great! You can also order meal-kits that take the stress out of finding time to make food throughout the day. Or, you can find creative ways to prepare simple and easy meals that will sustain you throughout your workweek. Katie, our Digital Marketing Strategist, suggests overnight oats as a great way to prepare your breakfast for the next day.
In a traditional office, you can get an answer from a coworker simply by walking over to their desk. When working from home, this can be a little less simple. Whether it be through Slack, email, or text, sometimes you will find yourself waiting for an answer from a colleague longer than you’d like.
To avoid this, set up a weekly meeting where everyone can discuss their tasks for the week and get any necessary questions answered then and there. If a question comes up during the week, be transparent about your schedule and put blocks on your calendar if you will be unavailable during a certain time. For some, creating office hours can be helpful. At DoubleShot Creative, we use our Slack statuses to update each other on where we are. For example, if we are at a vet appointment for one of our many furry friends, we will put a cat or dog emoji on our Slack status and write the time we will be back online.
Another part of team communication is investing in a good set up for conference calls and video chats. Find good headphones and lighting, a quiet space, and a reliable service like Zoom.
- Have a morning routine that gets you centered and excited to take on the day. Whether you like to start your days with meditation, reading, a workout, or a hearty breakfast, find what works for you.
- Set work hours that will allow you to get your best work done, while also being available during the normal 9–5 workday for colleagues and clients.
- Make sure to get up and move around throughout the day! It can be surprisingly easy to sit at your desk for longer than you should, so make sure you’re getting some exercise.
- If you like to listen to music while working, create playlists that will match specific work, and be sure to make them ahead of time so you don’t find yourself looking up new music in the middle of a work day. For example, if you’re working on emails or a blog, we find it’s best to avoid music with lyrics. Need some ideas? Here are a few great work playlists: Lo-Fi Beats, worktime, and Jazz Vibes.
- Schedule breaks into your day to avoid burnout. Take care of yourself!
- Get dressed like you would for the office. This puts you into the right mindset for getting work done.
- Don’t work from your bed. Having a desk is a great way to compartmentalize your work and keep it from seeping into your personal life. Plus, it will probably save your sleep.
- Identify when you do your best work. If your company allows for flexible work times, don’t be afraid to embrace your inner night owl or morning lark if that’s when you’ll create work that you’re proud of. Just make sure to maintain balance.
- Know when to call it quits each day. This is essential for maintaining work-life balance when you’re working from home.
Do you work from home? What are your top tips to stay focused?