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You know the saying, “Don’t bring your work home with you?” Well, when tough times call for it, there might be little choice. While some workers relish the thought of working from home (WFH), it could be a challenge to stay focused when you’re perched on a couch instead of at your office desk. We completely get it, so we’ve compiled a list of tips and experiences that might help you remain productive (especially if you need to work from home for an extended period). 

Make sure you’re as reactive as possible to any Slack messages. This also applies to GChat or whatever messaging platform your company uses for communication. With everyone working from home, it’s not possible to quickly walk to someone to ask a question, so your colleagues might be more dependent than usual on your quick reply to finish what they’re doing. Make sure you have your notifications on and reply in a timely manner.

(Psst – one of the best perks of WFH is that you aren’t restricted to the lunch spots near your office. You can now pop by your favorite neighborhood pizzeria, but be sure to leave a status update so your peers know they should expect a little wait!) 

Be wary of procrastination threats. When WFH, hundreds of distractions threaten to steal away your precious productivity (we’re talking about sites such as Youtube, Facebook, and yes — even the dishes, long-postponed housekeeping tasks, etc. You’ll be surprised at what lengths people take to procrastinate). At least in the case of digital distractions, a useful tip is to block a couple of domains that you can’t resist using a Chrome extension (only during working hours, of course). 

Just in case you need to be reminded: you can’t be productive for 8 hours in a row. We know that when WFH, you might feel the need to always be on. However, it’s especially during these times when it’s extra important to carve out some time for yourself. Make sure you take your time to have lunch (ahem, not behind your laptop) and take short breaks. Set goals and rewards for yourself — for example, if you finish a specific task, you can treat yourself to a nice walk and cup of coffee. 

Show your face! Assuming that your internet connection is good enough, always try to go into meetings with your webcam on. We know, we know, sometimes It’s very tempting to just listen in while doing other stuff at the same time, but hear us out. Turning on your webcam during meetings helps you

    • Be more engaged. Turning on your webcam enables you to be more present. It also holds you more accountable for engaging with meetings. This way, you can’t mask the fact that you’re working on another project and folding laundry all at the same time. 
    • Feel less isolated. Sometimes, the WFH grind keeps you from talking to anyone face to face for hours at a time. When you see a friendly face (or two, or three), it could really help with feelings of loneliness. 
    • Gauge others’ reactions. When the webcam is on, you’re able to gauge how others are feeling, based on their facial expressions.
    • See colleagues’ furry friends. We don’t know about your company, but ours has a lot of adorable dogs. Seeing a friendly critter boop their way in front of a webcam always helps to brighten up your day. 

Create a dedicated “office space.” Your work environment can strengthen interpersonal relationships and do wonders for your productivity. This is why it’s particularly important that when you’re not in an office, you’re comfortable in your working space. So, whether that’s placing a plant on your dining table or closing out the living room as your “office space,” do whatever you need to feel “at work.” 

Get comfortable. When you’re working from home, feel free to wear pants! 😉In fact, it’s highly encouraged.

It’s OK to change your work environment. Take the term “working from home” loosely. In between meeting blocks, it’s sometimes super nice to head down to a coffee shop and grind away at a project (or even lounge poolside if there’s excellent wifi available). Just be mindful of the noise levels in case you need to make any calls. 

And lastly — be positive! When circumstances lead you to work remotely full-time, it helps to stay upbeat. So, break out those emojis and exclamation points (😊!) when socializing with colleagues. Participate in fun, non-work related conversations in general channels and post photos when your teammates call for them. 

When Life Gives You Lemons…

You can make some really, really good lemonade (while working from home). If you’re new to working remotely, we hope that these tips from a home-office pro can help you create balance and maintain your productivity. 

For additional reading around how your business can prepare for a new normal, download your copy of Tips for Acquiring and Retaining Customers Through Economic Change.
Bram De Jonge
Author