13 Productivity Tips for Working at Home from a Virtual Company
Mar 13 2020
We’ve been a virtual company for 4 years with our entire team working from home. This hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve all worked to overcome barriers and grow our productivity. With coronavirus more employees are working from home, so we wanted to share our best tips with you to grow your productivity.
Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital
Working from home (on and off) for 4 years.
Personally, I prefer an office to stay focused, but I have found that a few small adjustments go a long way in making working at home work for me. Here are my biggest productivity tips.
1) Get a Dedicated Work Space – I’m guilty of parking myself in-front on the couch for the day, but I’ve found my productivity is dramatically better when I have a dedicated workspace. Find a work space that is separate from your “lounging” or “relaxing” space to maintain focus. A day or two working from the couch might feel great, but if you are working from home more often it will probably become challenging.
2) Maintain Regular(ish) Hours – Something I struggle with when working from home is working too much. I find it challenging to pull away and can easily work 12+ hours with few breaks. I try to maintain a regular schedule (8:30 – 5:30) to keep my work and personal time separate.
3) Reclaim Your Commute Time – One of the biggest benefits of working from home for me is that I don’t have to get dressed, do makeup and get to an office, I probably save about 1.5 hours a day from this. I use my commute time strategically to take a walk or exercise.
Allison Chaney, Chief Training Officer
Working from home on and off for 15 years
4) Set a morning and evening routine and schedule it in your calendar. This puts boundaries around the “setting regular hours”. For example, at 8:30am an alarm goes off to run my routine. I check email, plan my day, check all of my inflows. Then at 5pm another alarm reminds me to run my EOD routine. I zero my inbox and set tomorrow up for success by moving any unfinished items to the next day and scheduling out my day so I begin feeling prepared and in excellence vs. always behind. Face it, we’re all super busy and it’s easy to end up with an endless task list and get overwhelmed.
5) Zoom is your best friend. While remote work has its perks, especially for us introverts who love “me time”, complete isolation can begin to take its toll. We need human connection. Don’t settle for texts, emails and calls. Make it as personal as possible and use video chat services. I personally love Zoom but Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting are great options as well for individual or group conversations. It’s easy to use and can be used on your phone or desktop/laptop. Conversations are so much more effective and connected when we can connect visually. Power tip – your background should be in excellence. Be mindful of what is behind you. Clean up your space and make it professional or purchase a backdrop.
6) Avoid distractions and noisy interruptions by placing a sign on the door for your neighbors. I had a neighbor who was a very sweet old lady but she didn’t understand that I worked from home. So when she saw my car in the driveway, she would come over and knock and knock and knock because she knew I was home. If I didn’t answer she would worry that something was wrong. Placing a sign on the door that I was “currently on the phone with a client/recording a video and unable to answer the door” was a life saver.
7) Schedule time for you, just as you’d schedule your work day. When our home is our work, it blurs the lines between working and not working. We tend to work late because the kitchen is just a few steps away and I can stop at any time. But we don’t. Leverage this and start scheduling personal time just like you schedule work tasks. I make sure to block off at least 2 hours every day for something that is just for me. I make sure to complete work tasks, but I also take care of my mental and physical health.
Melissa Byers, Digital Training Manager
Working from Home over 10 Years
8) Get the right equipment to succeed – Need noise cancelling headphones to drown out the kids, dogs, or other noise in your ear space? Trying to work on a hard kitchen chair? Let’s see how long you last. Within reason, it’s important to invest in what you need to do your job well from home.
9) Schedule breaks – Things like a laundry pile or dishwasher that needs unloading can be mentally distracting during a work-from-home day. If you build in breaks that allow for you to get up, stretch, and tend to whatever needs tending, you’ll be more focused while working.
10) Set boundaries – If you’re working in a space with other people (partner, kids, roommate) let them know you’re unavailable for casual chats and interactions. When they think there’s wiggle room in that policy, they’ll take advantage (even if they have great intentions) and leave you feeling distracted and unproductive. Let them know when you’ll be available should they need something that’s not urgent. The same goes for those who will call and start the conversation with everyone’s favorite, “Are you busy?” or “Am I catching you at a bad time.”
11) Turn off all notifications on your laptop and phone – It’s incredibly hard to focus if you’ve got alerts binging every ten seconds.
Lirie VanSchaik, Digital Content Manager
Working from home 3 Years
12) Clump together similar tasks. Improve productivity by batching your tasks and scheduling them in. For example write 4 blog posts for the entire month at one. Check and reply to all emails a few times a day. This limits distractions and grows productivity.
13) Make Human Connections – One other thing I find helpful with remote work or working from home is to do the work of maintaining relationships with other professionals in your field. Whether in-person or virtual, join a network group and actually show up. Connecting with peers keeps you up-to-date with events, news, trends and opportunities in your field, as well as providing a wealth of knowledge learning from the highs and lows of other people’s experiences. Staying in-the-know keeps the skills and knowledge you bring to the table fresh and valued.