10 Working from Home Tips to Boost Your Productivity

More and more employees are switching from office work to remote working, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjusting to remote working can feel challenging at first but also offers many benefits. In this article, we share ten practical working from home tips to help you adapt to a new way of working and boost your productivity. 

Discover our top 10 working from home tips:

1. Set up your workspace away from relaxation space

For long-term, work-related wellbeing and motivation, it’s a good idea to set up a workspace that is separate to your relaxation space. This will help you to make a clear distinction between work time and rest time, improving your work-life balance. 

If you’re living in an apartment or shared accommodation, it can be more complicated to make this work, particularly if you share living rooms, dining rooms, etc. If you can’t negotiate space in shared areas, try to set up desk space in your bedroom but away from your bed so you can work without distractions. If possible, find somewhere to store your work equipment away from your sleeping area too.

If your home environment is noisy or distracting, consider setting up an office elsewhere for when you need to perform tasks requiring concentration. There are many high-quality co-working office spaces for rent that are well equipped with high-speed internet connections, meetings rooms, and coffee machines! If you’re unable to budget for this at the moment, consider setting up space in your favourite cafe or at a local library. You’ll soon discover what works best for you.

2. Get comfortable

Most workplaces are equipped with sturdy desks, comfortable chairs, laptop stands, and other useful equipment for working comfortably. Our homes are often not. That’s why it’s important to set up a working environment that enables you to work for long periods without getting aches and pains.

Working from a sofa, bed, or inadequate chair can lead to aches, pains, and fatigue, impacting your health and productivity. There are a few things you can introduce to your home office to make it more comfortable:

A laptop/monitor stand:

Your computer monitor or laptop screen should be at around eye-level to avoid putting tension on your neck (by looking up or down for long periods)

A comfortable chair:

Your chair should be comfortable enough to sit back in, fully supporting your spine, and positioned close enough to the desk for you to use your equipment without hunching or having to stretch to reach for it. It should also be at an appropriate height so that your desk doesn’t force your shoulders too high and you don’t have to reach up to your keyboard and mouse. Add a cushion behind your lower back for additional support. Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor or a footrest.

A computer mouse and keyboard:

Using the keyboard and touchpad mouse on your laptop for long periods may lead to stretching, slouching, or hunching. Using a separate mouse and keyboard will enable you to position the equipment more comfortably for yourself.

Remember to take regular short breaks away from your computer and use this time to give your eyes a rest from screens.

Working from home - Costa Remote

3. Set yourself realistic goals and targets

Sometimes, working from home can blur the boundaries between work and play. You might put additional pressure on yourself to meet unrealistic deadlines, or feel you need to work even harder than would be expected in a company office. Also, without the worry of beating the rush-hour traffic or catching a train on time, you might find yourself working later than planned.

Setting challenging but realistic goals and targets can be a helpful way for you to maintain a work-life balance and maximise your output. Be careful not to overextend yourself!

4. Take regular breaks

Company offices are often full of distractionschatting to colleagues, queueing for the print room, walking between meeting roomsthat cause us to get up and move away from the desk more than we might realise. In a home office, this isn’t usually the case. Without these little opportunities to give your eyes, mind, and body a break, you might find yourself working for hours without stopping.

Taking regular breaks from sitting at your computer is necessary for your physical and mental wellbeing. Consider taking short breaks every 15-20 minutes to give your mind and body a rest from work.

5. Get to know when you’re most productive

If you have flexible working hours or work for yourself, try working at different times throughout the day to find out when you are most productive. Whether you consider yourself a night owl, an early bird, or something in between, you might be surprised to discover you work more effectively at a different time of day than you’d normally choose.

6. Build a routine

After discovering your most productive time of day to work, focus on establishing a routine. A pre- and post-work routine can help you to start the day with energy and motivation, and then end it with activities that help you relax and unwind.

Remote Working - Costa Remote

7. Use technology to boost your productivity

Technology enables us to work from home more intelligently and efficiently than ever before. 

Here are some examples of online tools that might help you work from home more effectively:

  • Trello: An interactive online tool that promotes collaborative working. It’s particularly useful for team projects but can also be used for personal tasks.
  • Zoom: A video conferencing software that enables you to host up to 100 viewers on a video call for up to 40 minutes for free! 
  • Dropbox Basic: Get up to 2GB of online storage for free. There are also paid plans available if you need more storage.

8. Keep in regular contact with your manager, team, or business partner

Good communication is key to successful remote working, particularly if you work in a team.

In a company office, it’s generally easy to ask a nearby colleague for advice. Or to get the information you need, you could simply schedule a meeting with a manager or another department. While working from home, though, you’ll need to overcome the barrier of physical distance by maintaining open communication channels.

If possible, schedule regular calls with team members. This provides an opportunity for you to check how they are, how they’re feeling, and also for your team to keep up to date on any project work taking place. You might also want to ask your manager for regular one-to-ones. This is a great opportunity for you to share successes, ask for feedback, and keep up to date with what’s taking place in your team and the wider business. 

Make an effort to pick up the phone to your colleagues whenever possible. Sometimes email communication can be misinterpreted. If you feel you need more clarity, or if a question is particularly complex, suggest having a quick call rather than going back and forth via email. You can always send an email summary after the phone call to double-check understanding or if you need to send the information on to other colleagues. 

9. Try to remove distractions at home

Pets, family, friends, deliveries, noisy neighbours, and many other distractions can interrupt your flow while working from home. Wherever possible, try to minimise the noise in your working environment so that you can maintain your focus and productivity.

Putting on an instrumental music playlist can be a great way to dampen ambient noises and keep you focused on the task at hand. We also recommend avoiding non-essential social media and emails during work hours, and politely asking friends and family to respect your work schedule.

10. Make time for personal development

Whether you’re working for yourself or for someone else, continued personal development enables you to grow your skill set and work towards success.

If you work for an established business, consider asking your manager if there are any courses you can sign up to that teach skills relevant to your role. Some businesses even have budgets employees can use to fund online courses for learning practical skills or obtaining new qualifications.

If you work for yourself, allow time in your schedule for ongoing personal development that will benefit you and your business. There are several online course providers, such as Coursera, offering high-quality material to help people learn and grow.

Would you like additional support and working from home tips?

We hope you’ve found our working from home tips useful.

If you’re thinking about starting a business from home or would like additional support to grow an existing business remotely, then get in contact with our in-house commercial business consultant. We’d be delighted to help you!