How to Work From Home for the First Time (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

At some point in your career, you may have a reason to work from home. Working from home successfully involves careful planning and preparation. If you're preparing to work from home, it's helpful to create goals and strategies for a successful experience. In this article, we explain how to work from home for the first time and provide additional tips.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Working From Home

How to work from home for the first time

Here are some steps outlining how to work from home for the first time:

1. Establish expectations

The first step to working from home for the first time is to establish your expectations and requirements. Meet with your supervisor to discuss your goals and deliverables. Take notes so you can reference them later. Address topics like what hours you're expected to work, specific tasks and any other important information. As you prepare, gather any additional resources to do your job successfully.

2. Identify communication channels

Before you start working, it's also helpful to identify the communication channels you can use when you work from home. This ensures you know who to contact when you're not in the office. Make sure you know what video conference, email and messaging tools your organisation uses. Create a list of relevant contacts you might need for different projects.

3. Set up your office

Another essential step to working from home for the first time is to set up your office. Try to avoid working from your bed or the couch, as this can make you feel more tired. Instead, choose an office space in your home that's quiet and free of distractions. Make sure the area has a strong Internet connection and access to a power outlet. Assemble a desk, chair, computer, printer and any other equipment to perform your job effectively.

Also, consider the aesthetics of your office space. Add lighting, plants or decorations that make you feel comfortable. For example, you might invest in a standing desk if you can focus better while standing up. If you like to see your work on a large screen, you might invest in another computer monitor.

Related: What Is a Good Work Environment? (Plus Other FAQs)

4. Start on time

On your first day working from home, make sure to start working on time. Log in to your computer at the same time that you normally start working at the office. Starting on time is essential to ensuring you have enough time to complete all your work.

Once you log in, check your messages and emails and respond to any urgent ones. Consider sending your supervisor a message to let them know you're online. Prepare your workspace for the day by tidying up and collecting any resources or supplies you need for your tasks that day.

5. Plan your workday

It's also important to plan your workday thoroughly. Choose a digital tool or paper planner that aligns with your planning style. Write everything you want to get done during the day and schedule tasks into blocks of time. Plan your breaks, meetings and phone calls. Set automated messages to appear on your profile when you're away from your desk. Planning is essential to a structured and productive work-from-home experience.

6. Follow your schedule

As you work throughout the day, try to follow your schedule. It's important to stay disciplined and manage your time to have a successful experience working from home. Reference your daily plan to ensure you stay on track and don't miss any meetings or deadlines. Make sure to take breaks and make time for meals. Try not to spend more time than you allocated on a certain task. This can help you make sure you have enough time for everything on your agenda.

7. Choose a finish time

Many people find it helpful to choose a dedicated finish time when they work from home. For example, you might set your finish time to 5:00 p.m. After this time, close your email, sign out of work chats and shut down your computer. Review your plan and migrate any tasks that you didn't complete to another day.

Establishing an end time can help you maintain structure and work-life balance. Once you're done with work for the day, try not to return to it. Focus on completing personal tasks and participating in your hobbies. This can help you stay motivated and feel refreshed when you start working again in the morning.

Related: How to Stay Focused When You Work From Home

Tips for working from home

Here are some additional tips for working from home successfully:

Take regular breaks

One essential tip for working from home is to take regular breaks. Taking breaks allows you to refresh your brain and stay alert during the workday. You can use your breaks to exercise, rest or complete another activity that replenishes your energy. This way, you can feel more focused and productive when you return to work.

Related: How to Manage Time (With 23 Time Management Tips and Advice)

Dress for work

Another tip is to dress for work even when you work from home. Dressing professionally can help working from home feel more like a normal workday. This can help you feel more prepared to work. You can also modify the way you typically dress for work. For example, you might wear a business casual top with comfortable pants and slippers. This can help you maintain professionalism in meetings while still feeling comfortable.

Related: Business Casual Attire for Men and Women (With Examples)

Communicate with coworkers frequently

Regular communication with your coworkers can also help you have a successful experience working from home. You can check in with them to get feedback and ask questions. This can also help you feel more connected to the organisation, which may help you stay engaged. Consider scheduling regular phone calls or messaging your coworkers throughout the day.

Monitor your progress

It's also important to monitor your progress towards meeting your goals and expectations. You can monitor progress by using specific metrics. Compare your current state to your goals to determine whether you're on track to accomplish them successfully. If you wish to make adjustments to your goals, contact your supervisor.

Manage stress

Even if you're not working in the office, it's important to manage your stress. Reducing stress can help you improve your performance at work and maintain your physical and mental health. Be mindful when you're experiencing stress and take time to complete activities that help you relax, such as exercising or spending time outdoors.

Related: How to Make Time for Self-Care While Working from Home

Take days off

Be sure to schedule time off even when you're working from home. Taking periodic days off gives you the opportunity to get rest and come back to work feeling refreshed. On your days off, try to make time to do things you enjoy and spend time with friends and family.

Ask for help

It's essential to ask for help when you need it. If you have a question or need guidance, refer to your list of contacts. These people can give you resources and directions that can help you succeed. It can also be helpful to find a mentor who can give you advice as you work from home. This person might be someone from work or from outside the organisation.

FAQs about working from home

Here are some additional frequently asked questions about working from home:

Can working from home be productive?

Working from home may be less structured than working in the office, but you can still be productive. Creating a schedule and staying disciplined can help you maintain your quality of work even when you work from home. You can also take advantage of productivity tools like online calendars and focus timers.

Related: Working from Home vs. Working from the Office: An Overview

How can you stay motivated while you're working from home?

Staying motivated while working from home is important for employee morale and productivity. You can stay motivated by creating rewards for yourself when you accomplish tasks. For example, you might buy a special coffee to reward yourself for completing a large project. Communicating with your coworkers can also help you stay engaged and accountable.

How can you avoid burnout when working from home?

Many people are concerned about burnout caused by working from home. Burnout is a feeling of fatigue and stress related to work. There are many actions you can take to combat burnout. Taking breaks, exercising and finishing work on time can help you stay focused and energised.

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