12 Tips for Working From Home to Enhance Your Productivity

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 September 2022

Published 29 November 2021

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.

Companies pivoting to remote-first work culture may provide many opportunities to work from home. Working from home can give you flexibility to balance work and family. Learning and applying productivity tips as you work from home may help you work quickly and avoid distractions. In this article, we share several tips for leading a productive, motivated and healthy work-from-home lifestyle.

Related: How to Stay Focused When You Work from Home

12 tips for working from home productively

Here are tips for working from home that you can use to enhance your productivity:

1. Maintain regular working hours

To promote balance, you can create and follow a work schedule. Communicate with your colleagues on work priorities, work timings and success metrics. Consult your organisation's policies and procedures regarding remote work or working during a crisis to ensure the hours you set fulfil your employer's requirements. You can refer to your HR department or your organisation's handbook on these guidelines. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to finish can help in setting expectations for both you and your team.

To promote a healthy work-life balance, you can set your in office hours and communicate these with both teammates and family. You can tell your team when they can reach you and clarify expectations in advance. This is particularly important if you and your team work in different time zones. You can use project tracking tools and technology to provide guidance and boundaries to your colleagues. This can help you improve communication and promote focus.

Related: Work From Home Guide

2. Create your dedicated workspace

When you're working from home, you can establish an area of your home, be it a quiet corner or an entire room, as your workspace. This can help you promote a productive mindset and manage your time while you work. Having a dedicated workspace may also help you segment your day more easily. For example, if you spend your workday in one of the rooms at home, you can spend your free time in the other rooms.

You can also set expectations with your family or roommates who share your workspace with you. For example, if you have children who home school while you're still working, you may want to let them know what they can and can't do during your work hours. If you share a space with another adult who is working from home, you may want to negotiate quiet times, meeting times and any shared equipment, like desks, monitors and chairs. These rules can help you capitalise on your most productive periods and use the interfering times of the day to accomplish other logistical and mechanical tasks.

Related: Tips for Sharing a Workspace with Housemates

3. Avoid social media

To promote productivity, you can try to avoid recreational internet browsing or social media use during work hours. One way to achieve this is to turn off your notifications to avoid unnecessary distractions. Limiting distractions can help you ensure you complete your work tasks promptly, which may leave you with more free time to enjoy at the end of your day.

4. Dress and groom professionally

How you prepare for work every morning plays a role in determining your mindset for the day. It's important to wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and productive as you work from home. Some professionals who work from home may feel more productive when they wear professional clothing. When you make an effort to get dressed, you may be more likely to complete your daily tasks with confidence and with purpose.

5. E-meet and schedule weekly check-ins

Working from home can reduce in-person communication. Resolving issues over phone calls and promptly replying to emails, calls or voicemail can enhance communication and reduce misunderstandings. If you usually meet colleagues in person before an important meeting, do the same via a group video call. Meet colleagues virtually through one-on-one video calls, share stories over lunch breaks and check-in personally to see how they are doing.

Organise weekly check-ins or one-on-one sessions between team members to highlight progress, give or receive feedback and resolve challenges. The most important element of weekly check-ins is to create a space for people to comfortably discuss the concerns on their minds. Healthy professional relationships, open communication and expectation-setting can help improve productivity.

Related: Main Pros and Cons of Working from Home

6. Take breaks

It's important to take breaks when working from home for optimal productivity. Many productivity tools can help you take breaks while working from home. For example, you can download an app that can let you schedule a time to lock yourself out of your computer. Try setting these breaks to get up and stretch every once in a while. For instance, a lunch hour and three 15-minute breaks can help you reduce fatigue and rest your eyes. Standing desks that help perch your laptop over a shelf or a high desk can help you move throughout the day.

Besides these, if you work for an organisation and know the policy on break times, then be sure to take them. If you're self-employed, give yourself sufficient time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. Taking useful breaks can allow you to be more productive and reduce unnecessary burn-out.

7. Ask for what you need

Some organisations that support your work-from-home setup may be willing to provide you with equipment that can help you work efficiently. These items may include a monitor, a keyboard, headphones, a desk, a chair and a printer. Organisations that are accustomed to remote employees often have a budget for home office equipment. But if you are working from home for the short term and are expected to return to the office later, you can ask about payment for the return shipping of the items requested or the disposal of outdated equipment.

Depending on the nature of your work, it is also worth discussing what kind of cybersecurity tools to have at home, such as access to a VPN, a secure e-signature program for contracts or a paper shredder for sensitive documents.

8. Set your agenda

Working from home can be a transition. Planning your week can help you optimise your time and manage your projects better. You can keep room for some flexibility in case there are changes, but try to commit to a schedule that outlines your tasks for the majority of the day, even before you start.

You can also pre-populate a shared agenda. It can help you provide context before the meeting and also allow the parties involved to take ownership of the meeting. Summarise the topics beforehand, so you know what to cover.

9. Use a planner

In addition to making to-do lists, you can get into the habit of using a calendar or planner to write down and keep track of deadlines, appointments and meetings. Many different task management tools can help you organise your time when telecommuting. By organising a project's tasks, you can address them one at a time.

Related: Q&A: What is Telecommuting?

10. Prep your meals

Another part of planning how you work from home is to make a weekly meal plan and place it on your refrigerator. Printable weekly meal planners and pantry organisation tips and tricks are easily available on various sites. Knowing what you're going to cook can help you save time during the week. A pantry and weekly meal plan can provide a sense of order, help you eat mindfully and allow you to stay productive at work.

11. Practise gratitude

People who regularly practise gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they are thankful for may experience more positive emotions. Practising gratitude for the things you have can be hugely beneficial to mental health, which may contribute to more professional satisfaction. Writing five things you are grateful for every week, appreciating your co-workers or thanking your family for making some big and small adjustments at home can impact you positively and increase your productivity.

12. Take time for yourself

Taking time for yourself may help you remain upbeat and motivated. You can take time to catch up on sleep, pursue a hobby or step outside for a short walk before and after your working hours. Activities like listening to music, spending time with a pet or chatting with a friend can give you a sense of work-life balance when you work from home.

Explore more articles