At first, it’s fun—working from home. It feels sort of like an endless series of snow days. You wake up, grab your laptop, rock the “business on the top, party on bottom” Zoom attire, and you’re ready to go.
But then reality hits that you might be home for awhile, and all the fun distractions you looked forward to are obstacles keeping you from doing what you’re paid to do. Been there, felt that? It happens to the best of us.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. Increase your productivity working from home with these five tips and tricks.
Tip #1: Reassess Your Internet Connection
There’s nothing worse than a spotty internet connection, especially when you need to crank out that project you procrastinated and the newest episode of your favorite show is waiting.
If buffering is the new norm and you’re forcing everyone in your house to disconnect from the Wi-Fi so you have a clear Zoom call, your internet is too slow. The internet you once used in the evenings after a long day in the office was great then, but does it actually provide enough bandwidth for three kids doing online school and two working parents on conference calls?
You don’t need more excuses to take breaks—make sure slow internet isn’t one of them. Upgrade your plan, check availability in your area, and use this internet speed calculator to determine exactly which speed is right for you.
If you’re ready to be done with slow internet forever, AT&T Fiber is as fast as it gets. With ultra-fast speeds, “success” and “working from home” are synonymous. You can learn more about Fiber here.
Tip #2: Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Next time you find yourself Googling, “How to work from home,” ask yourself if you have a clear schedule. In an office setting, a structured schedule happens naturally. You drive to work, attend meetings, put your head down, and get it all done.
At home, it’s a lot easier to mosey around from task to task and push things off. Before you know it, you’re finishing a project at 1:00 am that should have been finished by five.
Do yourself a favor and establish a routine and schedule. Even if you’re not a “routine” person, become one. The most successful people know how to structure their time.
Tip #3: Create an Office Space
You read that right—no more working in bed. The lines between “home” and “work” get so easily blurred that it can feel almost impossible to switch gears and disconnect for the day.
Creating a space designated only for work will help you differentiate between the two. That way when you’ve worked hard all day and it’s time to disconnect, you don’t need to feel guilty when that last-minute Slack message or email rolls in (and you don’t have to clear off your kitchen table every time you need to eat).
Set boundaries so when you’re home, you’re really home. There’s no reason why an eight-hour workday should suddenly become twenty-four.
Tip #4: Take Breaks
As if you needed to be asked twice. Taking breaks seems counterintuitive, but it’s good for your brain and can actually increase efficiency. If you find yourself staring at your screen willing yourself to be productive as the minutes drag by, you may need a quick change of pace. Go on a walk. Take a shower. Clean your dishes for ten minutes. Eat a snack.
Avoid burnout by giving yourself space to be human and take a break every now and then. You’ll discover little bursts of energy and productivity as you do.
Tip #5: Set Clear Expectations
Read any article about “best work from home tips,” and you’ll find that overcommunicating is key. In an office, it’s easy to swing by someone’s desk and clarify something you’re confused about. At home, you need to go above and beyond to communicate exactly what you’re up to, what questions you have, and what’s just not working for you.
When in doubt, write it out. Set up frequent Slack calls, send an end of day report, ask questions, and inform your team about any obstacles you’re facing. The more you communicate, the more efficient you’ll be.
Next thing you know, you’ll be a working-from-home success story.
Have any other great tips and tricks? Drop them in the comments.