How to Stay Productive When Working From Home

You can be just as productive when working remotely – if not more so – but there are challenges as well as benefits.

  • Working remotely is becoming a popular way to earn a living. Although there are many benefits to working from home, there are also many challenges.
  • When you work from home, it’s important to continue building your career and create a comfortable working environment. For instance, you’ll still need to network in order to expand your contact list and find a quiet place in your home that you’ll only use during your working hours.
  • Certain challenges come with working remotely, such as feeling lonely, working extra hours and dealing with interruptions. Be sure to take the steps necessary to separate your personal life and your working life, and stay in contact with friends and co-workers.

Working from home can cause distractions that attack your efficiency and motivation. However, remote work is an ideal setup for many modern employees. Done right, it has many benefits, from saving money to encouraging work-life balance.

Robert Kelley, a community member, asked, "Is working from home more productive than working in the office?" Our answer? It depends.

You can be just as productive working remotely than working in your company’s office, if not more so. But doing it successfully requires self-awareness and discipline. Here’s how to master the practice of remote work.

1. Get out and network.

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you can’t still expand your contact list or make business connections. If anything, you should try even harder to branch out, meeting clients for coffee or scheduling video calls with colleagues to collaborate.

Ronald Bannon, senior business partner at Assellin Bannon Strategic Management and community member, is a prime example of this initiative. He’s worked from home for 20 years, and he attributes his success to traveling internationally and maintaining regular virtual contact with colleagues and customers.

2. Prepare for a typical workday.

When you wake up each morning, treat the day as if you’re going into the office. Get up early, brush your teeth and hair, make your coffee or tea, and dress appropriately. It will put you in the right mindset to get things done. You’ll have more energy and motivation to do your work, feeling less tempted to stay in bed or lounge on the couch. Sit at a desk or table, keep the TV off, and limit social distractions.

3. Set schedules and to-dos.

If you schedule out your work and create a list of tasks you want to complete by the end of the day, you’ll better manage your time and remain more focused.

"I find that I make the most of my remote working time and experience when I know just what I need to get done, what resources I have, and the basic timeline it needs to be completed in," said Sabrina Greenwood-Briggs, director of people at LeadPoint, parent company of MoneyTips. "With that said, I also make sure to check in and take time to see that I’m on track. If I’m ahead, great. If I’m behind, I look to see why and adjust." 

4. Change your setting.

Working from home can feel isolating, and you might feel taunted by overflowing laundry baskets, unwatched Netflix episodes, housemates, etc. If you were in an office, you might not feel as tempted to stray from your work.

Also, it’s easy to fall into a routine of mundanity. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery. If you feel unmotivated, drive to your favorite cafe or meet up with colleagues at a coworking space, said Greenwood-Briggs.

5. Make time for breaks.

Just because you’re working from the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some time away throughout the day.

"Most people don’t realize how valuable it is to just get up for five minutes and stretch or change gears," said Greenwood-Briggs.

Take time for coffee breaks, walks around the block, long lunches with loved ones or even quick gym sessions. You’ll return feeling more inspired than before.

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