Working Remotely and Productivity: 11 Tips That Can Help You Have Both

Young woman professional sitting at desk while working from home

For many, working remotely has been the norm for years. Fulltime and partime, workers from various industries have made telecommuting their way of life, accepting the change, and often wondering when the rest of us would catch on.

Little did we all know that the recent worldwide events of late 2019 and early 2020 would suddenly thrust so many of us into this fairly new method of working, shaking up our ways of life.

Without having time to properly transition into the role of working from home, you can easily get stuck in the cycle of wondering if it is even possible: Can I get it all done? Will I be lonely? Will I like it? And more importantly, will I be as productive as I was at the office? 

Well, we’re here to tell you,YES, working remotely and productivity can go hand in hand. Plus, working from home brings tons of added benefits such as saving money on gas, clothes, and eating out. You’ll also have more time to spend with your family and less interruptions from coworkers throughout the day.

Where to Begin

If you’re still worried, or could use a few ideas about how to make the change as seamless as possible, check out these tried-and-true tips for making the most out of working from home:

1. Wake Up Well Before You Need to Begin Your Day

If you set your alarm right before you need to hop onto your computer, then you’re not setting yourself up for success. Stress levels are largely dictated by our mental state first thing in the morning, so, if you’re rushing to connect to that 9am meeting, your work will suffer. 

Try waking up at least an hour before you’re supposed to be available; have a cup of coffee; do some morning stretches, meditate or just relax and read the news. It’s also best to avoid mindlessly scrolling on social media first thing if possible since it has the ability to suck us in and consume endless amounts of our time. Make the morning a time to focus on yourself as well as gain a bit of useful knowledge.

2. Get Some Sun or Invest in a Light Lamp

There have been numerous studies touting the benefits of direct sunlight on not only mood, but also productivity. Now that you’re working remotely and not commuting, you’ll have to make  extra effort to get outside for some of those vitamin D rays . If you live in a location where the weather makes enjoying the outdoors difficult, using a light lamp for 10 minutes first thing in the morning is another option. Whatever you choose, both are wonderful choices for improving your at-home workflow.

Woman standing outside next to fence looking at sunrise

3. Change Your Clothes

It’s incredibly tempting to wear your pajamas from the night before, but you must resist the urge, especially when you have deadlines to meet ! Have you ever worn your sleep clothes all day on a Saturday or Sunday? We bet it made you feel rather unproductive, like you wanted to veg out in front of the television for hours. While you don’t have to put on your normal work attire, slipping into a change of comfy clothes that you might wear doing errands on the weekend is a good place to start.

And if your job position requires you to be on conference calls throughout the day, style influencer Erin Busbee  has some simple yet chic ideas for you!

4. Create an ‘Office’

Regardless of your living situation, having a designated space for your projects makes switching out of a work mindset at the end of the day that much easier. Choosing one specific area in your home provides a sense of separation in a situation where your two worlds could easily spill over into one another. Maybe the kitchen table is a good spot, or even a corner in your basement. https://www.closetamerica.com/living-areasWhatever you choose, make sure the space is conducive to the job you perform.

There’s also the option to build a custom home office, affording you the opportunity to design a space that meets your unique needs, like ample custom shelving and built-in office cabinets. And don’t forget to work out logistics with your roommate or other family members who may work from home as well. By creating a distinct space for each individual, personality clashes will be kept to a minimum.

white Home office for two designed by Closet America

5. Make a To-Do List

Let’s be real--  as much as we would like to believe that we have perfect memories, it’s simply not the case. There's usually too much going on between work and our personal lives to keep it all straight- even an elephant needs the occasional reminder! A to-do list is an easy method of staying on top of your tasks for the day. Whether you like to write your lists down or keep them on your phone or computer, having a list will allow for more focus while working remotely, and keeps us from losing sight of our top work priorities.

6. Eat Nutritious Foods

We’ve already mentioned how working from home can save you money on eating out, but another upside is that it can push you to eat more healthfully. By having and eating nutrient dense food, you’ll boost your productivity by properly fueling your body.

Remember having brain fog or energy dips in the middle of that day at your office? Not anymore! Quick and easy foods such as bananas, avocados, and nuts feed your brain and are only a short walk to the fridge. Even simply introducing more water into your diet can do wonders!  And if cooking during the day becomes too time consuming, try meal prepping on the weekends or the night before.

Egg and Avocado breakfast toast sitting on a white plate

7. Take Your Lunch Break 

An initial downside of working remotely can be that if you haven't learned to properly schedule your time, you might work right through the day without pausing for a break.  Regardless of whether or not you're in a physical office, you still deserve to take some time for yourself. Make taking your half hour or hour to decompress a priority.

Consider connecting with some coworkers through a video call because, at the end of the day, we are all social creatures who crave some friendly banter to break up the monotony. Maybe take a short nap to recharge your batteries, or take a midday walk with your dog. Online exercise classes are another great way to get your blood pumping so you're more alert on afternoon projects and calls.

8. Accept That You Will Get Distracted

It’s inevitable! Things come up like family, house guests, and cute dog videos. Be aware of it, do your best to learn from the situation, and don't let it get you down.

9. Clean Your House and Work Space at the End of the Day

Don’t leave your workspace a mess at the end of the day. Nothing ruins a productive morning like realising your house is a mess and that you have misplaced important documents. Clean the dishes in your sink, do the laundry, and tidy up the table, desk or wherever else you are while on the job.

And if working from home has made you realize you could use some better organization in your home, check out some of the custom systems Closet America offers. From closets and pantries. to everything in between, our designers can help you create spaces that bring order to any area of your home. Contact us for your free design consultation.

maple home office with LED accent lighting designed by Closet America

10. Enjoy After Work Activities

You’re now home with your eyes glued to a laptop for most of the day, so it’s more important than ever to participate in events and activities which don’t revolve around your job. 

Bond with your family by cooking meals together or meet your friends out for some drinks. Game nights are also a great way to connect with others after long, strenuous meetings with your coworkers. If you can, try to get your heart rate up with some exercise, which can really set you up to succeed the following day. Not only does it promote better sleep, but the release of dopamine you receive will help improve your mood and energy levels the next morning.

11. Catch Some Zzz's

Finally, a good night's sleep can not be underestimated when it comes to boosting your productivity while working remotely. Make sleep a priority for yourself. Functioning on very little sleep may not seem like a bad idea, especially when you're binge watching your favorite show the night prior, but it zaps you of energy, putting you in a state of unfocus the next day.

Taking a shower before you go to bed is another fantastic way of  preparing your body for the restful sleep ahead. And by showering at night, you’re also leaving less for you to do in the morning, giving you more time to yourself before you begin another day of working from home.

It’s Easier Than You Think

Working remotely may be a new concept for many of us, and a nerve racking one at that but hopefully, by following the tips above, you’ll find your rhythm sooner rather than later. Your productivity does not have to suffer just because you work from home, in fact, you may just find yourself with a better work-life balance that is  a win-win for both employees and employers alike.