Right now, countless people across the globe are facing a unique challenge together: working from home. As companies transition from an office environment to remote offices due to unexpected circumstances, millions of employees are finding themselves working remotely for the first time. At Digital Reach, our team members are located across the U.S., already working 100% remotely, so we asked our team what tips and tricks they have learned to make working from home a productive experience.
Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or this is all brand new, we’ve gathered up some of our team’s best advice to help you set yourself and your company up for success.
1. Review tasks and prioritize
Start your morning by reviewing all of your tasks for the day and organize them into priority sets. Sort your tasks by what must be done, what should really get done, and what can probably wait. That way, when things start to get more distracting, you know what to focus on.
2. Try to create dedicated space for work
Try to establish a specific space that is your “office.” In your home, distractions are everywhere. Try to work in a room or space where you can close off outside distractions. As best you can, set aside a work area to improve your focus.
3. Convey tone through writing
Remember that there isn’t body language when working remotely. Utilize communication tools to convey the tone behind your words. This will allow for things to be communicated properly and avoid anything being misunderstood/taken the wrong way. For example: using italics for a joke or an emoji paired with a sentence.
4. Treat yourself
Make sure to practice self-care. Allow yourself time to adjust during this transition period. Make sure your workspace is comfortable, but not too comfortable that you can’t be productive.
5. Don’t wear pajamas
Dress like you’re going to an office. It helps create another boundary between work and home.
6. Use “Do Not Disturb”
Don’t be afraid to opt for quiet time. Use “Do not disturb” notifications to stay focused during demanding tasks to let your team know you’ll be working away for some time. This will allow you to focus on important tasks without interruption.
7. Set a schedule (and boundaries)
Set a strict work schedule and stick to it. It is very easy to get into wake up > work > get done with work > continue-checking-on-work-throughout-the-night mode if you don’t keep yourself on a schedule.
8. Streamline your processes
Use this time as an opportunity to pin down your internal processes. When your usual in-office processes are thrust into a new environment, how do they hold? Use this as an opportunity to refine and iterate on processes that may be broken.
9. Use apps to stay connected
Use an organized space like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Workplace for easily searchable, organized work conversations (and some fun is thrown in, too). Use a project management tool like Asana, Trello, or Airtable.
10. Utilize virtual meetings
Use screen sharing with Zoom or another video conferencing software to make things more personal and make calling easy. This can help speed up communication and ensure details don’t get lost in chats.
Remember to take breaks. Take breaks in-between task sets (high priority, break, medium priority, break, meeting, break, etc.) and come back to reset between major projects.
12. Use a Pomodoro timer
If you struggle with time management when working alone, use a Pomodoro timer to schedule out your day and keep focus. You can use this free app.
13. Invest in your workstation
Invest in hardware for a better workflow and fewer distractions. Get a good headset, noise-canceling headphones, desk, and chair. Good hardware is critical to a good home office.
14. Use “gotcha” messages
If somebody sends you an email or message, make sure to let them know that you’ve received it. A simple “Got your message, will review ASAP” is all it takes to relieve tension and suspicion from people at their home offices who aren’t sure whether they’re being ignored.
15. Use the rule of two
Overcommunicate but don’t micromanage. Use the rule of two – two forms of communication for anything important or anything that requires action to be taken. From there, trust but verify.
16. Trust the work is getting done
If you’re in a leadership position, ensure you have balances in place to be able to quickly verify that work is being accomplished. A project/task management tool can really help streamline the “trust but verify” process, to then allow you to work efficiently and delegate, without the need to micromanage.
17. Take a lunch break!
Force yourself to take a lunch break every day. Yes, this must be said.
18. Set a specific end time
When working from home, it is easy to keep working long after a typical workday would end because you don’t have visual cues, like coworkers leaving to go home. Be sure to pick a time to end your day and stick to it.
19. Get a change of scenery
Go for a walk, jog, or a drive at the end of the day before sunset. Just take some time away from the screens to decompress, at the end of the day. Take vitamin D supplements if you can’t get enough sun.
20. Sync team calendars
Sync your team members’ calendars, so you’re all on the same page. This makes meeting scheduling a breeze and allows you to see when your team members are busy.
These tips and tricks have been incredibly useful to our own team and we hope they help ease your transition from working in an office to working from your home.
Have your own tried and true work from home tips and tricks? Share your best in the comments below!