Work Smart from Home

Woman sitting at a desk writing notes with computer in the background
Posted by

In a time when more people are working from than usual, we felt it might be helpful to offer some tips for working from home. Of course some of these tips are best when working from home and not while some are trying to both teach their children and do their jobs from home. We understand if some of these tips are the ideal and possibly not your current situation. Hopefully some of them will be beneficial for you the reader:

Set a Schedule

  • Maintain a schedule and have set hours for work time.
  • Use block scheduling and plan for breaks and lunch

  • Set alarms to help manage time

  • Plan your day with 2-3 specific tasks to move forward or accomplish.

  • Check in with an accountability partner

  • Track your hours worked and how you spent your time

  • Have a set action that indicates you are transitioning to and from work each day

    • Make your daily to-do list to start your day

    • Clean up your work space to signal the end of the day

Engage in Healthy Habits

  • Have a designated work area, so when you are there, you are in “work mode.” If there is no space in your home for separate office space, set up your kitchen table each day in the same way for consistency to trigger your brain that it is “time for work.”

  • Have office space ergonomically set up for optimal body health

    • Keep your monitor at eye level

    • Screen distance should be an arm’s length away - Increase font size if the font appears too small to avoid squinting and leaning in towards screen

    • Have a comfortable chair and good lighting

    • Have all the things you readily use within an arm’s length away without straining to reach them

  • Get showered and dressed each day for your job. Pajamas could signal your brain that it is downtime.

  • Connect with others. Maintain healthy social connections by scheduling time with colleagues to check-in. Don’t let working from home become isolating.

  • Use different communication mediums such as instant messaging, email, Skype, or Zoom for work meetings to stay connected and collaborate on projects.

  • Make exercise a part of your day.

    • Get up every hour from your chair to walk a little or to stretch

    • Try a walking conference call

    • Have workout equipment such as resistance bands or dumbbells nearby to utilize during work breaks

    • Get outside once a day for fresh air

    • Utilize exercise as your end of the day transition back to home life

  • Drink water throughout the day.

  • Reward yourself for productivity

Avoid Distractions

  • Have set times to look at your email in order to not disrupt workflow.

  • Inform family members and friends that you are working to minimize distractions. 

  • Ignore your home to-do list such as dishes, unfinished projects, etc. It is best to not have any of these within view.  If you can see it, your mind will be drawn to it.

  • Turn off both social media and notifications for social media during work hours

Research by Neufeld and Fang supports that one's attitude also carries a lot of weight into the productivity of those working from home. If you maintain an overall positive attitude, you are more likely to adjust to the situation and even more so, be productive. On the flip side, the more negative an attitude one has, the less productive the individual is likely to be. 

Neufeld, D & Fang, Y. (2005). Individual, social and situational determinants of telecommuter productivity. Information & Management, 42, 1037-1049. doi:10.1016/