As we mentioned in our previous article detailing the best work from home, working from home can be a culture shock for some people. Moving from a busy office to working alone in a remote home office can be overwhelming, and productivity plummets as a result.
But with the right settings and the right mindset, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some remote office tips I’ve learned from over 20 years of working from home.
Work when you are most productive
There is nothing worse than forcing yourself to work when you just don’t feel your magic. You will either get sick or do substandard useless work that is ultimately a waste of your precious time.
So figure out what time of day you are most productive and then work. Some of you will have to work on a set schedule, but if you have a flexible work schedule that allows you to set your own hours, consider starting work later in the day if that suits you better.
Have an online forum
To avoid social isolation when working in a remote office, you need to be able to talk to others during your work day. Especially your boss and coworkers so you can coordinate, set deadlines, and gossip in the water cooler about Accounts Jane and her hot new boyfriend.
This is where video conferencing comes into play. The biggest players are Skype and Zoom, but there are others like WhereBy (formerly Appear.In) and Facetime. In addition, there are smaller alternatives for one-to-one calls such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (although they cannot make group video calls).
For text chat, however, Slack is king and is used by many companies, including us. This makes it easy to collaborate on the Internet and transfer files from a remote office. WhatsApp is also good for group text chat, and it also has a desktop version for faster typing.
Some remote offices invite everyone to a group video chat and then leave it on all day. So, your colleagues are “there” if you want to ask them something, thus creating a feeling of “real office”. Just don’t pick your nose in front of them.
Block social media and other distracting sites
Take this remote office advice from someone who suffers from this problem on a daily basis. You try to get started and think, “First, I’ll quickly check Facebook “.
Or replace “Facebook” with the name of your personal favorite site that is wasting your time. Two or three hours later, you haven’t started work yet, but you DISCUSSED the Merits of the 2020 US Presidential Election with a dozen angry people.
If that sounds like you, you need to block these websites for a certain period so you can get started. Since you will most likely need the Internet to work, you cannot completely block your Internet connection. But you can block individual sites, and this is a topic that we constantly discuss. You can use a Windows host file, Google Chrome, your router, parental control software, or other great methods.
Make sure all notifications and calls are turned off on your phone and tablet while you’re working. This can be done using the Do Not Disturb option on Android and iOS
If you must listen to music, listen to the best of things
Opinions were divided over whether to listen to music while working. Many people, including myself, cannot concentrate if there is music with lyrics. The others, meanwhile, can’t do anything if Eminem doesn’t scold himself with headphones. All different.
If writing completely ruins your concentration, there are several non-word options. The first is classical music (piano music is pleasant and calm). The second is ambient, which is abundant on the net. Moby offers relaxing ambient music on its website, while there are many alternatives on sites like YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.
The third possibility is video game music. You know, the repetitive music you hear during games like Tetris, Super Mario Kart
Again, a quick YouTube search reveals countless playlists.
Finally, you can put on your headphones and listen to the white noise. White Noise & Co and Noisli are two, and Spotify has a white noise playlist But just like before, Google is your best friend when looking for many alternatives. Almost all of them are free or have a free option.
Invest in the best possible technology
The only way to survive working from home is to make sure you have the best technology. We covered this in our recent article where our staff made their recommendations. Read it and then give a serious review of your setup.
Invest in a Good To-Do List
There is nothing worse than trying to keep in mind all the outstanding tasks and then immediately forget them. Some people just have a memory of Swiss cheese, no matter how hard they try to remember everything. This is why a good to-do list is so important. Get it all out of your head and list it.
You can have something basic like Apple Reminders, Google Keep, or even a simple text file. Or something more advanced like Evernote, ToDoist, Trello (our favorite), or Microsoft OneNote
Or you can just stick with the old school and use pen and paper. Whatever floats on your boat.
Summary of other advice
After you ask others who work from a remote office, here are some more quick tips.
- Get dressed. Don’t wear pajamas to work.
- Be clear about breaks and end times, including exercise times.
- Decorate your workspace with matching colors. For example, dark colors have been shown to inhibit concentration and creativity, while lighter colors have the opposite effect.
- Try to surround yourself with plants and preferably have a pet (a dog is good for getting out of the house).
What tips for a remote office can you give to create an ideal work environment? Let us know in the comments.