10 major tips on how to make working from home better
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
In 2020, working from home went from being a rarity to the “new normal” almost overnight with minimal time to prepare–mentally, emotionally and physically.
There are still many companies that are requiring their associates work from home with an undefined return-to-office date and even some that have gone permanently fully remote.
Whether you’re looking to improve your habits or struggling to stay positive, motivated and productive, this blog will cover some helpful tips on how to make working from home better.
10 tips to improve the work from home experience
1. Set a morning and afternoon routine and stick to it!
Rolling out of bed and working in your pajamas on the couch may be enticing at first, but the enjoyment quickly fades. You soon begin to crave the feeling of having a daily routine.
Set your alarm, get ready and eat breakfast as if you were going into the office. Choose work-from-home apparel that’s comfortable and professional.
Then, do the same for your lunch and afternoon hours. Block off time in your calendar midday to step away from your desk, eat lunch and recharge.
Holding yourself accountable and sticking to the schedule will take focus at first, but it will make working from home more enjoyable after you settle into the routine.
2. Create a personal workspace.
It’s easy to get distracted while working from home, so understanding what works for you and setting boundaries is key to working remotely.
Those boundaries will be different for everyone. For some people, they could include avoiding rooms with TVs, keeping your office area pet-free or taking the kids to daycare.
Find a space where you are the most productive and free from distractions, then commit to working in that space every day.
If you have limited space, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re making the most of your available space. For example, you could consider installing a floating desk or a single shelf to save up floor space or reduce desk clutter by keeping supplies in cabinets or drawers that are close by.
Choose a small corner in your kitchen, living room or bedroom and transform it into a mini-office by hanging pictures, painting a wall as a backdrop or decorating to define it as a working zone.
3. Fight the urge to multitask.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a little break, but don’t let chores distract you from being productive. You wouldn’t be doing them if you were in the office, so don’t do them at home.
4. Define your working hours and set expectations.
Having a healthy work-life balance can be tricky when your home and work-life take place in the same space. That’s why it’s critical to know when to log off and disconnect.
If possible, design your work schedule to capitalize on your highest productivity periods. That could mean logging on early if you’re more of a morning person or taking a late start if you’re not.
Whatever your preference, communicate your schedule with your leader and team so they know what to expect from you–and when.
5. Keep in touch with colleagues
Fostering strong work relationships can be difficult for some, and building connections is even harder when you’re not working under the same roof.
It’s important to touch base with your colleagues frequently so you’re not isolated from your team. Not only will this avoid potential obstacles and identify priorities, but personal connections are also important for our mental health.
Small interactions matter, so don’t be afraid to engage in some light conversation by sending a direct message or email.
If your leadership team will allow it, try scheduling weekly virtual meetings for 15 to 20 minutes to catch up as a team and discuss topics unrelated to work. You could even exchange photos of fun activities you did over the weekend.
6. Have a healthy relationship with exercise
In the office, you probably take a few steps each time you use the restroom, meet with a coworker or print a document. Taking a few breaks throughout your day to be active or stretch is important for your physical and mental health.
These breaks provide an opportunity for you to take a step back and refocus before starting a new project or task. This will also help to improve your posture and avoid getting stiff.
Don’t let the clock get away from you–set alarms or block off time on your calendar to get up and stretch. If possible, plan lunch walks with your neighbors if they are working from home, too.
7. Choose nourishing meals.
It can be tempting to reach for treats when they are within reach at home. That’s why it’s important to choose wholesome foods that keep you healthy, focused and satisfied.
Include more nourishing foods in your weekly grocery haul and avoid buying chips or cookies so you’re not tempted throughout the workweek.
Meal planning and prepping is a great way to avoid mindless eating. By planning ahead, you don’t have to put additional effort into preparing a meal between meetings, and it will help you stay committed to your breaks throughout the day.
8. Keep your legs, feet and back supported.
Use a chair that has seat cushioning and a backrest to support your back. If you need more lower back support, use a small pillow or a rolled towel. If your feet are not flat on the floor when sitting, find a box or something to use as a footrest.
If you can stand in a home office, wear supportive and cushioned shoes.
9. Make sure your head is upright and looking forward.
If you have access to other tools than just a laptop, like a mouse, keyboard and desktop, use them. If you only have a laptop, place it at arm’s length and raise the top of the screen to eye level by using books or sturdy boxes.
If you are using multiple screens, center them in front of you with the one used most often directly in your line of vision.
If you often use a phone, use a headset or the speaker functionality when possible.
10. Get some fresh air.
If possible, open your windows to let in as much natural daylight and fresh air as possible.
Looking for more work-from-home tips?
Check out more of our blogs on working remotely for more advice on how to flourish from your home office.
Kathryn is a Corporate Recruiter who has worked in recruiting since 2017 and joined Schneider in 2021. In her role, she supports the Schneider Transportation Management (STM) offices in Green Bay and specializes in staffing the Sales and Brokerage teams. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys running, going to breweries, attending concerts and spending time with her fiance, Casey, and their two dogs, Roxy and Briggs.