Saturday, August 17, 2019

How to Improve Productivity When You Work from Home

Thanks to my company's flexible work policy, I get to work from home about once a week. For me, working from home gives me back two hours of a day that would have been spent on commute. In addition, through some test and learn, I figured out several tips to use these days to further increase productivity and overall well-being.

1. Schedule Focused Work on Your Work-from-home Day
One advantage of working from home is the lack of constant interruptions and distractions, especially if you work in an open office like I do. As a result, I've learned to really cherish these focused time, and use them for work that need absolute focus. Therefore, I try to schedule in-person meetings while I'm in the office, and use work-from-home time to tackle challenging strategic work. What time of the day should you schedule this focused work? As my other post suggests, I do it first thing in the morning.

2. Keep a short list of 10-mins "take-a-break" items 
When I first started working from home, I would sit in front of my laptops for hours without a break. Compared to when you're in the office, you have zero interruptions at home and thus no natural breaks you would normally get in the office (walking to the next meeting, refilling your water bottle, walking to use the bathroom, for instance). To increase productivity, it is important to schedule breaks. What I do is keeping a short list of chores, each of which take about 10-15 mins and would require me to get up and walk around the house. Chores like a load of laundry, clean kitchen sink, chop vegetables for lunch, are good options. This small tweak has made wonders. I've felt more energized after the short break and refreshed to tackle the next tasks.

3. Set a Start and Finish Time
It's important to keep a regular start and finish time even when you're at home. Like my normal work days, I wake up around 5:45am, exercise quickly first thing in the morning, eat breakfast, then start my work day. Because I don't have that one hour commute, I'm able to start early around 7am. Then I try to sign off (shut down laptop) around 5-5:30pm.

Any work from home productivity tips you would like to share?

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