Whether you are forced to work from home or just like not having to go anywhere: working successfully from home requires a certain tactic. So here are ten tips from an experienced remote worker.
Since the beginning of March, the USA has been under the spell of the Corona virus and the government has called on US people to work from home as much as possible. Not a problem for me, because I can work wherever I want , including at home. I do most of my work online, and most of my appointments can also be made via video calling.
Tips for working from home
However, I sometimes find working from home quite a challenge. You are easily distracted, miss people around you and it is disastrous for your work/life balance. And if I find it difficult, there are probably more people. Especially if you don’t work at home often, you can probably use some tips. Based on my four years as a self-employed and digital nomad, I share my best tips for working successfully from home. It can also be used if you are going to work abroad.
1. Provide a good workplace
A big difference between an office and a house is that you should have an ergonomic workplace in the office, and probably not at home. At least I’m at home at the kitchen table, and that’s not good for my neck and shoulders. Of course you do not have to immediately purchase a desk and chair, but do provide a laptop stand, separate keyboard and a mouse, for example. Check here which products I use .
2. Shower, get dressed, breakfast
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to get into your pajamas behind your laptop. Just take a shower like on a normal working day, dress appropriately and have a good breakfast. Then you start your work as if it were a normal office day. Follow the same rituals as normal, you will get into the work rhythm faster. A little makeup or shoes can help.
3. Divide your day into blocks
I always apply this tip when I work from abroad : make a good distinction between working and being free. It is tempting to mix up everything when you work from home, for example by doing the laundry or having a Netflix chat in between . However, it is not good for productivity and your rhythm. Better you first finish your work in a focused way, and then you really close your laptop. This way you prevent yourself from only working or doing nothing at all.
4. Use online tools
In 2020 there are plenty of online tools to help you work productively when you are at home. With Trello you can work together on a to-do list, in Google Drive you can work simultaneously in documents (or at least you can do all of them) and Whereby is the new Skype. Thanks to the latter tool, video calling is easier than ever, and many a meeting can be replaced by an online variant. Check my other favorite online tools here .
5. Lonely? Turn on Whereby
Do you miss talking to a colleague every now and then? Or to ask something quickly if you get stuck? Then turn both Whereby on. You can just do your work, but because there is a video call in the meantime, you can always say something to each other. It is nice to know that you are not working alone.
6. Keep networking
When you meet few people because you spend a lot of time at home, it is difficult to make new contacts. However? So no! Long live online networks. Nowadays you have so many Facebook groups and on Linkedin and Instagram you can easily get in touch with other professionals. Take advantage of that. This way you stay visible and you ‘meet’ new people from the comfort of your home.
7. Have a decent break
Without colleagues and regular working hours, it can be difficult to really take a break. You would almost eat a sandwich behind your laptop. Do not! That way you don’t really relax, and you end up working longer. Even if you seem to save time by continuing to work during lunch. Ideally, you really want to sit somewhere else, clear your head, or even walk outside.
8. Set priorities
Those who work (forced) at home will see that there are suddenly countless opportunities to work online. A meeting can suddenly be made via video calling, and another appointment may also be made by email. You get to the core faster if you have to communicate online. Is something really not possible online? Then you will see that that also resolves itself. What is really important does happen. Something left over? Chances are that it was not such a priority after all … Also check my tips for higher productivity .
9. Cultivate discipline
Working from home puts your discipline to the test. Can you still work if your bank beckons? How productive are you if no one is watching you? I can still work well at home – or abroad. I have this discipline because I have to. If I don’t work, no one will. And then nothing comes in either. As my own boss I sometimes have to kick myself, otherwise I will not keep my customers happy and I will not earn any money. That motivates. So think about that if you almost want to start Netflix …
10. Think in results, not in hours
Tip for both employer and clients as well as employees and self-employed persons: it is about what you ultimately produce, not how many hours you ‘really’ work. Nobody should care whether you work from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM or from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, as long as you do what you need to do. And of course, you can be reached by customers, if that is part of your duties. But don’t be blind at those hours. Who knows, you may work very effectively from home! Working from home is not a license to chain a bit. You will fall short enough if you don’t get any results.