Remote work tools like GoToMeeting make working from home possible for almost anyone. But a company needs to support remote work culturally for employees to feel comfortable actually doing it. LogMeIn has always had an extremely flexible work environment since I started here over 5 years ago, and it’s really had a positive impact on my life. Whether my day at home is planned (typically Fridays) or unexpected (sick dog, home repair, bad Boston weather), I’ve always felt able to flex my day to stay productive and while living my best life.
That good news aside, we all know how easy it is to succumb to distractions when you’re working from home. The TV, the refrigerator, household chores – for me, it’s my dog! But working from home can bring a huge boost to your productivity if you do it right. Much of our previous research shows that the majority of people even find themselves being more productive than when working in the office. Plus, there are ways you can even enjoy the work more! So whether you’re new to remote work or you just want to start doing it more, here are eight tips to keep you motivated and productive when you’re working from the comforts of home.
1. Establish a Rotating Routine
While a routine might sound like doing the same thing day in and day out, following that definition usually only leads to boredom. Instead, create two or three daily routines for your work week, and vary the days you do them. This mixes things up, keeping your brain more alert and engaged.
2. Create a Timed Checklist
Making a list of things you need to get done each day, assigning a time limit, and setting a timer can work really well for people who have a competitive streak. You are in competition with yourself to get things done on time! Keep yourself motivated by rewarding yourself with that extra time – if you finish something 10 minutes early, give yourself that time to take a walk, channel surf, or make a cup of coffee. Then get back on schedule!
3. Schedule “Lazy Time”
Don’t make the entire day about work. I know, it sounds counterintuitive. But oftentimes regular remote workers find themselves letting work creep into evenings and weekends. Because they don’t have to worry about a commute, they’ll start working earlier, or let a project slide later into the evening because they aren’t seeing their colleagues leave for the day. Be sure to monitor your daily workload – and if you realize you’re putting in overtime, sprinkle in some free time throughout the day to do what you please. This could be walking the dog, meditating, or catching lunch with a friend. These breaks will help reset your mind and prevent burnout.
4. Identify Quiet Hours
Know when your roommates or family members are going to be around and plan ahead. During these hours, focus on less mentally-intensive tasks. Or, use that as your “lazy time”. That’s why some remote workers like to start at 6am while others burn the midnight oil. For those who don’t like either of those options, plan to get the most done based on others’ work and school schedules.
5. Diversify the Work Scene
Same scenery, different day. Feeling uninspired? Take your home office mobile for a few hours each day or a couple times a week. Working from a patio, park, or co-working environment enhances your focus and breaks up the monotony. I often head to the lobby of my building to just get a change of view, which really helps break up the day.
6. Stretch and Exercise
Nothing gets the blood flowing like a little exercise, and working from home gives you more flexibility to get flexible! Start a new routine of a few staircase reps, a stretching regimen, or a daily walk around the block. The physical activity will jumpstart your brain and help break up a long stretch of work.
7. Prep Your Meals
Remote workers can tend to face one of two food dilemmas – they either get lost in their work and forget to eat, or they’re snacking all day without regard to healthy meals. Both can lead to low energy levels and lower productivity. Give your work from home meals the prep time they deserve! Either use free time in the evenings or weekends to make easy-to-reach-for meals and snacks, or take your full lunch break to cook yourself a meal.
8. Turn Off Devices
One Facebook alert comes in, and suddenly twenty minutes have passed since you entered a social media black hole. When you’re home alone, it’s harder to control yourself when your browsing habits are on auto-pilot. Be mindful about your devices; consider an app that will block access to social media accounts for a prescribed amount of time. With nothing buzzing or pinging, you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish.