By Bond Collective Staff
For some, learning how to work from home without losing productivity is as easy as 1-2-3. For others, it’s a struggle they may feel as if they will never win.
Whether you find yourself working from home these days or managing a team that does, one of the key factors to your continued success is maintaining focus in a novel environment.
That doesn’t just happen by chance. It takes time, effort, and maybe even moving the furniture to create an environment that doesn’t distract you from the task at hand.
In this article, we provide tips to help you and your team get the most out of working from home.
How To Work From Home Productively
1) Establish “Do Not Disturb” Hours
Productivity depends, in large part, on concentration and focus. But those circumstances can be hard to come by when you’re learning how to work from home with family or roommates present.
To help you maintain your attention on the work in front of you, establish “Do Not Disturb” hours throughout the day.
For those who are more productive first thing in the morning, set your “Do Not Disturb” hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. For those who find their stride in the afternoon, set your “Do Not Disturb” hours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Then, during the time you chose, focus on the most important tasks you need to accomplish.
If you work in a separate room, tell those around you that they’re not to disturb you for the next two hours and then close the door. An open door is an invitation to come in and talk, even if you’ve already established that you don’t want to be interrupted.
If you’re working in a shared space, like the living room or the kitchen, devise a “Do Not Disturb” sign so family or roommates know that you need to concentrate.
2) Gather The Right Tools
In a professional office environment, you and your team have everything necessary to get the job done right without having to stop what you’re doing.
Need six copies of the presentation? The Xerox machine is warmed up and ready to go. Need a quick word with your teammate? A few steps across the hall and you’re there.
Working from home, though, is a different situation entirely. You may only have a printer on hand (with no copy capabilities), and your teammate may be working in their home all the way across town.
That’s why it’s essential when you’re learning how to work from home that you gather the right tools. To be successful, you’ll need a few basics, including:
A fast internet connection
A reliable computer
Video or audio conferencing for team meetings
Collaboration software (e.g., Trello)
Messaging software (e.g., Slack)
A comfortable chair
Depending on your industry and your responsibilities, your list of necessities may be longer or shorter. Regardless, having the right tools allows you to keep your productivity high even when working from home.
3) Wear Headphones
Unless you’re fortunate enough to be alone when learning how to work from home, your environment will be rife with distractions.
People moving around, conversations, unfamiliar noises, pets, even traffic outside your window — all of these things (and more) can pull your attention away from the work in front of you and lower your productivity.
A high-quality, comfortable pair of headphones makes all those distractions disappear.
We recommend investing in a pair of over-ear headphones instead of the in-ear or on-ear types. Over-ear headphones block out more ambient noise than other headphones and help you stay focused longer.
One of the many nice things about over-ear headphones is that you have more control over the noise around you. If you prefer as much silence as possible while you work, you might choose noise-canceling over-ear headphones.
Or, if you can handle a bit of low-level “noise” in the background while you work, you might choose to play some classical music or ambient sounds to keep you motivated and engaged.
4) Create A Dedicated Workspace
One of the best ways to transition from working in an office to working at home is to create a dedicated space for the tools and supplies you use every day.
Carving out a special place for work-related activities helps you get in the right frame of mind — and stay that way — when it’s time to get down to business.
If space is limited, try storing your supplies in a plastic tote or two so you can pack them up and out of the way at the end of the day. Similarly, try setting up a small folding table in a little-used corner somewhere.
That, in combination with your portable supply totes, makes it easy to vacate a common area like a living room or kitchen when you’re finished working.
And when positioning your work surface, arrange things so that you’re facing a wall instead of an open room. Restricting your view helps to minimize movement in front of you and in your peripheral vision, which can be a major distraction and lower your productivity.
5) Set Daily Goals
Whether this is your first time learning how to work from home or you’ve been doing it for years, it’s essential to set daily goals.
Doing so helps you maintain your concentration, drives productivity, and prevents you from getting sidetracked by the dirty clothes in the hamper, the breakfast dishes in the sink, and your favorite Netflix show that drops at 10:30.
We suggest taking a few minutes before you “leave work” to jot down the goals you want to accomplish the next day.
With these goals in mind first thing in the morning, you can jump right in when you have the most energy and are the most productive.
6) Stay Organized
Your desk at work contains everything you need for business-related activities. But when you transition to working from home, your gear and supplies may be spread out in multiple locations.
Leaving your workstation to go dig through a closet in search of paper for your printer is a huge waste of time that you can avoid by staying organized.
Before you start work for the day, look at your goals and the tasks ahead of you and assemble all of the supplies that might even remotely come into play.
Store the lesser-used ones in a tote or bag out of the way in order to keep your work surface as uncluttered as possible.
Even if you don’t wind up using the cellphone charger and the thumb drive, you’ll be ready for when you do need them.
7) Balance Work And Play
Working remotely from home mixes business and pleasure — two activities that are usually kept separate — into one overlapping space.
Because of this novel arrangement, it’s extremely easy to sit down on your couch to work for several hours only to find yourself taking a nap 20 minutes later.
To combat this problem, we suggest establishing office hours (such as we touched on earlier) and play hours.
During office hours (e.g., 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.), make yourself focus exclusively on work. During play hours (e.g., Noon to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to bedtime.), reward yourself for working by doing something you enjoy.
Keeping your work and personal life separate makes learning how to work from home easier than you might expect.
Productivity Starts With Environment
Working from home or the local coffee shop can be a nice change of pace once in a while. But for maximum productivity, you — or you and your team — need to conduct business in a professional environment.
But with businesses everywhere transitioning their employees to remote work (be it temporary or permanent), that may not seem possible. With Bond Collective, it is.
Bond Collective offers a variety of work environments, such as:
Rent by the hour, the month, or the year and receive industry-leading amenities you can’t find anywhere else, including:
Photo and sound studio (Gowanus only)
Guest reception and greeting
Regular on-site cleaning
Complimentary beer, coffee, tea, water, and fresh fruit
Other food and beverages for sale
Rooftop lounge area
Curated and networking events
Whether you’re a solopreneur, a digital nomad, a startup, or a large corporation, Bond Collective can help you and your team maximize productivity and stay on the road to success...even during difficult times.
Visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States, including workspaces in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas. Or call us today to find out more about everything we have to offer.
And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.