11 Essential Tips for Working from Home Productively

By Natalia Wolting  • Jan 5, 2024

Working remotely might sound like a dream come true - no more commuting or having to navigate office politics but it also comes with unique productivity challenges. One study found that 62% of workers said they feel more productive when working remotely, but 55% of remote workers said they put in more hours at home than at the office Here are 11 essential tips to make working from home more productive - while still setting boundaries:

1. Designate a Specific Work Area

Don’t just grab your laptop and work from the couch or bed. Create a dedicated workspace resembling an actual office - with a door if you need more privacy to focus. A dedicated workspace doesn’t have to be a fancy home office with a desk and swivel chair. It can be a spare bedroom, loft area, or corner in your basement. The main goal is to have a designated space that you associate with work, which will help create a mental division between work and leisure at home. Make sure your workspace also has the fundamental elements you need to work efficiently including a comfortable desk and office chair as well as reliable internet and Wi-Fi.

2. Maintain Regular Work Hours

Having a set schedule is crucial for productivity so be sure to have structure for your day. Wake up at the same time each weekday and establish a morning routine such as making coffee or breakfast, taking your dog for a walk, or journaling before starting the workday. Define your ideal work hours and stick to them and treat your remote schedule similarly to being in the office with a dedicated stop time and lunch break. Consistency can help maintain a strong separation between work and personal life, reducing the likelihood of work-life balance issues while protecting your time for hobbies, friends and self-care activities.

3. Take Regular Breaks

Just as important as maintaining consistent work hours is - so is taking regular breaks. Whether you take quick five-minute breaks every hour or longer breaks every few hours, the important thing is to step away from your workstation regularly. These breaks give your mind a chance to rest and reset. It’s easy to get overzealous working solo without built-in breaks but rest is essential for productivity, health and avoiding burnout. Schedule short breaks every 90 minutes, go for a quick walk during the middle of the day and disconnect at your scheduled stop time each evening.

4. Get Dressed

When you don’t have to go into an office, it may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, especially if you don’t have any meetings scheduled where you will appear on camera. While you don’t need to don a suit, you may find that even relaxed business attire can boost your confidence and help get you into the right mindset to be productive. Additionally, if you do find yourself suddenly receiving a last-minute virtual meeting request, you won’t have to worry about scrambling to find something to wear.

5. Use Technology to Stay Connected

Working alone all day, every day can be isolating but technology can help bridge the gap. Schedule video conferences and virtual meetings to foster connections and collaboration opportunities similar to being in an office. Try digital watercooler apps for casual chat with coworkers such as Slack. Leverage technology like multiple monitors and screens, Wi-Fi extenders and project management and time-tracking tools. Seek out moments for social connections, community and collaboration while working by organizing remote lunch dates or team-building activities.

6. Avoid Distractions

At home, you'll be faced with multiple distractions including laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or your favorite Netflix show. Make it a rule not to tackle household chores during work time and other potential distractors. Use noise-canceling headphones, mute notifications, close unneeded browser tabs and install website blockers. If you’re a remote worker who has recently moved to a community like Elkhart, Indiana, or Tulsa, Oklahoma you can also take advantage of free co-working space programs to help eliminate distractions and stay focused.

7. Set Boundaries with Family Members or Roommates

If you're living with others, setting boundaries is crucial. Make sure the other members of your household understand your work hours and that you should not be disturbed during that time, except for emergencies. It can be easy for roommates or family members to forget that even though they are home, you are still “at work” so try minimizing interactions with them by shutting your door or putting up a “do not disturb” sign.

8. Prioritize Your Tasks

Start each day with intentional planning by making a daily to-do list, clarifying priorities and mapping out goals for the day and week ahead. Periodically check your tasks and goals throughout the day to ensure you are staying on track. Implement trusted frameworks to structure your time and tasks - like the Pomodoro technique. Find specific methods that boost your efficiency, cut down on distractions and identify what works best for you through some trial and error.

9. Don't Forget to Stay Active

Invest in a standing desk, take a walk, or do some stretches or light exercises. Physical activity is beneficial not only to your health but also to your ability to focus and stay productive. Without a commute or walking around an office, it’s easy to become sedentary and stagnant while working remotely so schedule time for exercise to improve both your mental and physical health. Remote workers in Jackson, Michigan can visit the local YMCA during their lunchtime to get in some exercise.

10. Practice Mindfulness

Take a few minutes every day just to be present. Whether you choose to meditate, write in a journal, or just sit quietly - practicing mindfulness can serve as a reset button to get you refocused and recharged.

11. Refine Over Time

Perfecting your workspace and schedule takes time. Take note of when your productivity lags then tweak your schedule, workspace and systems as needed. Revisit every few weeks or months to modify what’s not working.

While remote work has challenges, with some refining it can give you flexibility and success in your career. With deliberate effort, planning and discipline - remote work can be fulfilling and fruitful. Implement a combination of these essential tips to optimize your work-from-home setup. A little structure and oversight can go a long way when working solo!

About MakeMyMove

Remote work has freed millions of Americans to live where they want, and many are making the move to places that better match their lifestyle. In turn, cities and towns across the country are offering incentives like cash, perks and programming to remote workers who move and work from their communities. At MakeMyMove, you can explore all the places, get personalized help to find the one that’s right for you, connect with locals, and access support to make your move a piece of cake.