How to Make Your Home Office Work for You

by Bianca Garrison - April 13, 2020
Woman having a video conference on her desktop computer in her home

In response to COVID-19, many companies have asked their employees to work remotely. While a quarter of the U.S. workforce has already been working from home, the new policies leave many employees doing it for the first time. If this is your current situation, it’s important to learn how to make your home office work for you.

Know What Time You Work Best

Everyone’s body clock is different, but most of us fall into one of three categories:

  1. Morning larks (or early birds): prefer to get up early and go to bed early. 
  1. Night owls: like to sleep in and go to bed late, usually after midnight. 
  1. In-between: The rest of us fit somewhere in-between these two.

Understanding how your body clock works will help tremendously by helping you pinpoint your most productive times, low energy dips, and the best hours for sleep. 

If you’re a morning lark, or early bird, you’ll want to dedicate your morning hours for focused, uninterrupted work time. Night owls may want to save their evening hours for the same thing.

Be Proactive

Working remotely means you can’t count on seeing your co-workers in the office. You have to be deliberate about reaching out and connecting with them. Schedule virtual lunch dates and ask your manager for regular check-in calls or video chat sessions to share progress reports, review goals, and discuss ideas.

Communicate Well and Often

Communication is vital when working remotely. There are many tools you can use to communicate with your manager and team members, and you have to know when it’s appropriate to use each one. 

For example, email should be used for sharing project updates and data. Video calls are ideal for meeting with several people. Chat or instant messenger should be used for quick updates, check-ins, and informal messages. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal

Staying focused on work is important, but don’t be afraid to take a moment to ask your colleagues about their weekend, families, hobbies,and other personal activities. This helps to strengthen bonds and leads to a higher-functioning team.

How to Work From Home

There’s no best way to work remotely. The methods and tools used to handle your daily tasks and projects depend entirely on you and on your company’s policies.

Even in normal circumstances, family and home demands can affect remote work; managers should understand that these distractions may be greater during this unplanned work-from-home transition.

Balance is essential to getting your home office schedule to work for you.

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