We've curated the best work from home tips from experienced remote workers and listed them below. See which ones work best for you...
1. Swap your commute
Swap your commute for a walk, at the start and the end of the day. This allows you to mentally prepare for the day ahead, or to help switch off after a busy day.
2. Step away from the phone
Put your phone on the other side of the room. This means you increase circulation by moving more throughout the day.
3. Go where people know your name
Become a "Regular" at local neighbourhood places, so you can develop human relationships with people you see on a regular basis. Feeling isolated is one of the major downsides to remote work.
4. Wear shoes
Wear shoes during the day. It gives you a feeling of being "at work" and allows you to symbolically unwind at the end of the working day when you remove them.
5. Plan your day in batches
Plan your day into set tasks, and stick to your plan. This is super effective for managing communications / email / messages throughout the day. Try to minimise immediate reactions, and "batch" communication to set times each day. Plan your day into set tasks, and stick to your plan. This is super effective for managing communications / email / messages throughout the day. Try to minimise immediate reactions, and "batch" communication to set times each day.
6. Maintain regular working hours
Maintain regular hours, and stick to your schedule. If you're inclined to work late one evening, you're more likely to give yourself permission to slack off at a later date. In the long run, this disciplined approach makes it easier to switch from work mode to home mode.
7. Fail to plan, plan to fail
Create a morning routine, that allows you to document all of your thoughts for the day ahead, and organise them accordingly. This "ramping up" activity can help you get a head start on the day.
8. Establish "House Rules"
Set ground rules for people at home. They need to respect your need to work, and the space from which you work from. Setting clear boundaries early on helps everyone involved understand what is and is not acceptable.
9. Schedule breaks
With limited distractions, it's easy to get absorbed into deep focus work, but be sure to schedule set breaks for yourself. This is good for your energy, gives your eyes a break from the computer screen and gives you a chance to eat and stay hydrated.
10. Ask for help
If you work for a distributed company, its easy to fall into the habit of waiting for your "weekly call" to ask for help, but if something is genuinely blocking you from making the progress you need, make sure you ask for help straight away.
11. Don't have work stuff on your personal mobile phone
Separate work from your personal mobile device. This is easy to say and hard to do. If you work all day, but continue to receive work notifications and messages into the evening, you are constantly on alert and never give yourself an opportunity to mentally relax. This is a fast track way of burning out, and something you want to avoid.
12. Make time to chat with colleagues
Instigate a "water cooler" call each week with your fellow remote colleagues. There will be plenty of opportunities to talk business throughout the week, but creating some time to connect with your team mates on a more personal level will facilitate better relationships. Have a structure for the call, like what box sets you're watching, which websites have caught your eye recently, current events etc.
13. Over communicate
Working remote is all about trust and communication. A popular technique is to state what you've understood on the back of the call, and the next steps you think you need to take and by when. This gives everyone on the call an opportunity to correct false assumptions, and save anybody from working on the wrong thing for a few days.
14. In emojis we trust 👋
Use everything you've got to communicate how you're feeling. Punctuation, emojis, GIF's...whatever it takes. When your only form of communication throughout large parts of the day is through direct messages, do whatever you can to share how you're feeling.
15. Meal planning
Plan your meals a week in advance and stay away from the fridge. It's all to easy to mindlessly snack on something every time you make a hot drink throughout the day, so having a fixed meal plan (including snacks) will give you some structure to follow when you're craving something sweet.
16. Avoid the bedroom
Don't do any work in your bedroom. Ever. Your bedroom is your place to relax, rest and recover. If it becomes a place to think about work, you will never get the rest you need, which will again lead to burn out.
17. Choose a playlist
Use background music to avoid your home feeling too quiet. Music without lyrics are popular with home workers, as it's less distracting.
18. Join on mute
Always join the group call on mute, and wear headphones for the call. Excessive background noise can grind you down if you're on dozens of calls per day.
19. Sun & air
Go outside at least once a day to get some sunlight and breath fresh air.
20. Join a class
Push yourself to join a class or a club of some kind, to develop healthy relationships with people face to face, to avoid becoming too isolated.
21. Get physical
Pick a physical goal to pursue throughout the next quarter (3 months). It will give you something to focus on other than work and the exercise will be great for you too!
22. Don't always work in the same place
Give yourself different places to work throughout the week. Maybe work from a local coffee shop one day, and a public library another.
23. Avoid distractions
Make it hard to get distracted. Log out of all your personal social media accounts during the day. This puts a small barrier in the way of you mindlessly checking social media multiple times a day.
24. End your day with a list
Create a "To Do" list for the next day, before you finish work for the day. This helps you review progress on the work you have completed, and allows you to mentally offload the things that need completing next. This reduces the amount of brain power you will use throughout the evening, when you should be relaxing.
25. Push yourself
When creating a "To Do" list, give yourself "stretch" tasks. These are tasks that don't have to be completed, but if you get everything on your "must do" list completed, what else could you do to increase productivity.
26. Understand when you do your best work
Many people agree that mornings are for creative work, afternoons are for management related tasks. It's not the same for everybody, but there are certain times of day when you will be more productive completing certain types of work. Figure out when that is and manage your time around it.
27. Don't try and ride two bicycles at the same time
Focus on completing one task at a time. Do it well. Do it once. Then move on. If you're feeling under pressure, remember the saying that Navy SEALS use... "Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast"
28. Set alarms
Set multiple alarms throughout the day, to remind you to stand up, walk around, stretch and have some water. It's easy for 8 hours to go by without realising. Likewise, set timers to limit how long you work on something. If you've only got an hour to do something, then the alarm will let you know.
29. Oversharing is good (sometimes)
Share things with your team that might be of interest, like an article or a tweet. It will stimulate conversation that's not directly linked to ongoing tasks, and forge better relationships
30. One written document is better than 10 phone calls
Encourage everyone to write things down and share what they learned. One of the biggest "time sucks" in remote work is person to person communication. One to one calls quickly turn into multiple one to one calls, which then turns into multiple meetings. By encouraging "one to many" communication, by writing things down, complex ideas can be shared and understood quickly.
So what now?
You should realise that what works for one person, doesn't work for everyone. Try a bunch of different things when working from home and see what works for you.