How to survive at home - 8 tips for efficient remote work

As companies are rolling out mandatory remote work policies, for a lot of people this is the first time working from the home office - this means figuring out how to stay productive in a totally new environment. Whether you are new to remote working or an experienced veteran, here are 8 tips tips for how to organize your workstation and amp up your productivity.

8 tips for remote work

1. You need a routine

If this is your first time working remotely for more than a one or a two day period the most important thing you need, is to establish a daily routine. Best part about working remotely is you can choose to arrange your daily tasks the way that makes most sense for you. So figure out if you're more productive in the morning or later on. Are you more productive with having multiple short breaks during the day, or a longer breather in the afternoon?

Break your day in to different chunks of time for different activities. If you are normally commuting to work every morning, the changes are you're used to walking 10-15 min every morning, so might as well get up and get some fresh air. Hit the shower, put on deodorant, eat a hearty breakfast, put on your work pants and get to work. Clock in a couple of hours of “deep work”, order lunch delivered at your doorstep, continue working, answer those emails and then finally log off and go out.

Or maybe you like to start work later on some days and you choose to work first for couple of hours, then go for a late lunch/breakfast. Then when everyone else is logging off you start to get in to the flow state as there’s less distractions.

This is the beauty of remote work - getting to work during your best hours.

2. Put on your pants!

So, you’re stuck at home. PJs all day, 24/7, right? We get it, its really funny to attend team meetings in your pajamas #pajamasarethenewyogapants. But this is only hurting your work, so instead, dress like you’re actually going to work. If you normally wear jeans and a hoodie, that’s what you should be wearing at home during working hours! The reason is: getting dressed for work makes you get into the mindset that you’re at work.

3. Don't eat at your desk

Take a break for lunch and go sit somewhere else. Read a book, check your social media, go watch videos of the Italian mayors chasing people on the street, yelling them to go home! Just don’t do it at your desk. It helps unwind your brain from work, so you still have energy for work in the afternoon. Keep yourself hydrated! Drinking lots of water helps fight off that afternoon fatigue.

4. Communicate

Communication is key. Check-in your work often. Keep your customers and your team informed about your progress; even more often than usual. Show respect to your co-workers and be available during working hours. If you tend to start work later also be mindful about your co-worker who starts their day at 7am. Remote work requires you to over-communicate a bit, as it's not that easy for anyone to just come up to your desk anymore if you're not answering.

Use a team collaboration tool like Slack or Hangouts, it’s far less distracting than email or a phone call.

5. Socialize

As we are instructed to keep social distance, it doesn't mean we cannot socialize anymore. For most, going to the office every day is because of the social aspect over working remotely.

So have your team meetings and daily status checks over a video/phone call. Ask tips from your colleagues how to keep yourself entertained. Have a coffee break with colleagues or Friday drinks over the video.

6. Never take work to bed

This is because of the same reasons you should keep your mobile phone, tablet and other gadgets out of bed: bed is for sleeping. In this sleep deprived society you need to be mindful about these things.

So instead, set up a place at home which you use for working. Same thing applies here as with the "wear pants" rule: you want to get it to the mindset for concentrated work.

7. Invest in your workstation

Do you have multiple monitors, wireless mouse, keyboard and an electric table at the office? Maybe you should invest in those things at home as well. Open your shades and let in natural light, or invest in good lighting. Keep your workstation clean and clutter free. You don’t need 17 coffee mugs on the table, do you?

Change how and where you work: get up often. Got an electric stand table? Stand up for a half an hour, then sit down again. Sit on the couch, or on the floor sometimes if it makes you feel more creative or more productive than being at your desk.

So Marie Kondo your workstation, keep it clean and invest in good equipment. You can ask if your company is willing to buy you some needed things like extra monitors. The chances are they’re more than willing to get you equipment you need to work efficiently - they just probably haven't thought about it before.

8. Know when to "log off"

Establish a time when you "get out of work" and close the computer. Before you do, however, commit your work, fill out your hour report and organize your to-do list for the next day, so next morning you are ready to start right away, and don’t need to figure out what you were doing the day before.

After disconnecting, go out for a walk! It helps you unplug and get work related things out of your mind. If you also have that elliptical under your bed since Christmas 2014, now is a good time to start actually using it.