From time to time, people wants to work from home for various reasons (e.g. take care of a sick kid, an appointment with an electrician, snow storm…) Many companies have started allowing more employees to work remotely. But in order to stay productive when working from home, this can be difficult for some. So here are a few tips I have on this subject:
Keep your routine (or to have one)
- The point here is that, you don’t change your routine because you are working from home. If you usually go to the gym for a quick run during lunch time, continue that routine when you are working from home.
- Wake up in the morning around the same time as if you are going to the office and get ready like every workday. That means, even though if you are not going to the office, you still shower and shave in the morning, as an example.
Make sure you are comfortable @ the home office
- In my opinion, there are three purchases in life that you should not be cheap on: mattress, office chair and food. If you work from home a lot, make sure you have a comfortable office chair. And make sure the chair has good lower back support! You spend at least 8 hours sitting on the chair!
- Everyone has their own preferences on setting up home office, so spend some time researching those recommended office setup and ergonomic. Here are a few links:
- For IT and software developers, I think having 3 monitors setup seems to be the most optimal setup. If you want to get some ideas, check out Lifehacker’s featured workspace.
Stop the snacking and start walking
- When you are working from home, one tend to eat more compare to when one is working @ the traditional office. When your kitchen is only 10 seconds away from your home office, it is hard to resist. My advice is to keep track of the amount of food you eat usually, buy only healthier snacks and try to avoid temptation!
- Overall, if you see symptoms of cabin fever, you need to go outside more often! For example, instead of taking a 45min lunch, take a 20min lunch and go for a walk for 25min. This also help with your general work productivity!
Set expectation for yourself and other
- People whom work from home 100% tend to spend more time in front of the work computer. Companies which allow employees to WFH, often have employees spread across different parts of the country. In my case, across multiple countries. So set an expectation on which part of the day you like to have meetings or to reply to e-mails. If you mismanage the expectation with your coworkers you may end up working 12 hours a day. For instance, if you are on east coast you may have a few meetings starting @ 6 or 7am with the UK office, then working till 8pm with the west coast office.
Stop the e-mailing
- Emails are distraction for productivity, so block out time in your calendar to do just e-mailing. Close your Lotus Notes or Outlook for the rest of your office hours
- Turn off e-mail sync after your office hour everyday. Your family deserve your time too!!
- Use IM to talk to collaborate on the project. This is much faster and more interactive than exchanging many e-mails. If there is no work IM for you, use a forum or SharePoint to collaborate.
Get a decent headphone
- If you like hearing music while you concentrate on work, get a decent headphone… noise-cancellation ones if you have to. This helps you to get focus.
- Long story short, stop multi-tasking! It helps if you need to get things done within a few minutes or an hour, but it doesn’t help with overall productivity.
- How to Be Environmentally Friendly When Working at Home (brighthub.com)
- How to Manage Employees Who Work From Home (brighthub.com)