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Step 4: Work from Home Productively

Overview

Remote work may be a company policy by choice or necessity, but it can become a competitive advantage for a team. The trick is to leverage benefits (like flexible working schedules or work-life balance) and overcome challenges (such as miscommunication, distractions, or lack of human interaction).

Here are some best practices to help you make remote work more productive.

Personal Productivity

1. Organize your workspace

Create a dedicated office space

In the same way you set boundaries between your work and home life, you also need to keep your office and personal spaces separate. Set up your workspace at a table or desk rather than a sofa or bed. You’ll get more work done, and it’s less likely that you’ll get sleepy. Find a clean, quiet, isolated workspace so you can work on your tasks in peace. Get inspired with our Wrikers’ home offices on Instagram.

Minimize distractions

Keeping focus on your tasks may be challenging when you work from home. In addition to common office work distractions such as phone and social media, you get a bonus in terms of kids and pets.

Share responsibility for young kids with your partner: Create a shared calendar so you can keep track of conference calls and take turns caring for your children. Consider having serious conversations about your work importance with older children.

One Wriker said, “My office has a door, and it's not for knocking. When the door is closed, it's like daddy has got in his car and left for the office.” Even a simple “Don’t Disturb” Post-It note on the door can help. Read more tips about working from home with children in our blogpost.

2. Maintain work-life balance

Stick to your schedule

Remote work often implies a flexible schedule. It allows you to experiment with your working time and align your schedule with your high productivity period. On the other hand, flexible schedules often result in unconscious overworking.

The trick here is to separate time for home and work (e.g., make appointments right after you finish work). You need to clearly set start and finish time for your work and communicate it both to your team and your family. You can set up your working hours in Google Calendar or Slack.

And, of course, commit to following it yourself! After your work time is over, close your laptop and do your personal stuff without checking your email or work notifications.

Prioritize your work

Limit the number of tasks you include in your daily plan. For example, list out three must-do tasks and three optional tasks. Estimate time needed to complete your tasks to make sure you set realistic plans and don’t overwork. Then make sure that task list in My to-do or your personal dashboard reflects your plan in terms of deadlines and priorities.

Here’s one more great tip from the Wrike community: Keep yourself accountable. Agree to have a 15-minute call/video chat at the beginning of your day and read your to-do lists to each other. It doesn't matter if they're in the same service as you or even in the same company!

3. Follow healthy routines

Morning routines

Start your day as if you’re going to the office: Fix your bed, eat a good breakfast, dress nicely, and do your other pre-work routines so you can feel the rhythm of office life.

As you enter your home office and start your work day, visit your Inbox to check new updates and assignments. Then plan your day in My to-do and update tasks statuses, attach files, and leave comments with @mentions as you go. It will make your morning positive and productive! Learn more about daily routines.

Productivity methods

To get more things done in less time and with less stress, try to use one of these proven time management systems:

  • Pomodoro: Break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks.
  • 80/20 rule: Focus on 20% of top tasks in your to-do list that will have the highest impact on your goal.
  • Two minutes rule: If the task takes you less than two minutes to complete, do it right away even if it’s not really important or urgent. If it requires more of your time, defer or delegate it.
  • Eat the frog: Do your most important or scariest task first in the morning so you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.

Taking breaks with purpose

Regular breaks throughout the day is a great way to recharge your batteries. Try to set reminders in a way that fits your schedule and work habits. And spend your breaks productively! Get away from your desk and move for at least five minutes every hour. Check out this infographic, “The Science of Productive Breaks.”

Resources

Team Efficiency

Learn how to encourage team spirit, uplevel virtual meetings, and manage remote teams.

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