Working From Home in 2020: Lessons from Veteran Remote Workers

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Working from home is the new normal for many people across the globe. As people across the world adapt to a new working environment and lifestyle one thought is constant:

Stay productive. Make the most of your situation.

And that’s what we’re here to address today.

While this has become a large part of many people’s day-to-day, it’s not always such an easy adjustment for some. Animals need to be pet, dishes need to be done, and snacks need to be consumed—it’s much easier to get distracted from the task at hand when you’re outside your normal work environment.

There’s no physically present boss to keep you accountable, no team members you can holler at to answer a quick question, and none of your typical resources at hand.

You did finish those TPS reports though, right?

Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks to keep you productive while working from home.

We’ve enlisted the help of several work-from-home veterans to share their best advice for getting things done from a home office; improvised or not. We’ve compiled their responses, and a few of our own, to keep you on the straight and narrow as you ride out your quarantine.

Let’s dive in.

Staying Productive: Tips from Experienced Remote Workers

If you haven’t already discovered this yet, working from home is not a vacation. The distractions that keep you from getting your work done can actually end up causing more stress than if you had a hectic day in the office.

Follow these tips and you’ll become a work-from-home rockstar.

1. Rise and Shine

With no commute, it can be tempting to allow your alarm clock to roll through more snooze cycles than usual—you have an extra 30 minutes, why not sleep in on a Monday for once?

Resist this temptation with all your might.

Rise at your regular time and stick to your morning routine. If the day starts out feeling normal, you have a better chance of maintaining a sense of normalcy throughout the day. This includes putting on pants.

Pro tip: Often, a commute is a great way to transition your mind from ‘home mode’ to ‘work mode.’ With no commute, consider taking a walk to transition your mind from your morning routine into work mode.

2. Dedicated Workspace

It doesn’t have to be fancy, but be consistent. This is a mental trick to keep yourself on task:

When I’m in this area, I’m at work.

That way, when you do get up and move around, it’s like taking a break.

And if you are going to work from home consistently, it pays to invest in setting up an actual workspace where you can make video calls, write, etc. Here are a couple of resources you might find helpful:

  1. Adjustable standing desk - Take your calls standing up if you can.
  2. High-quality office chair - Don’t skimp on this.
  3. Backdrop - Impress your video conference attendees.
  4. Desk ring light - So you don’t look like a shadowy supervillain.

3. Explain to Significant Other, Friends, Family

Since we’re all on experiencing this together, it’s a great time to practice this technique for use in the real world.

Grab whoever you need to and sit them down. Explain that between 9-5, or whatever your working hours are, you are not available. They won’t get it the first time, but do it anyway.

“Hey, I hate to interrupt, but can you just…”

NO.

“Jeez, it’ll just take a second…”

NO.

The task they ask you to perform may only take a few seconds, but getting your mind back to full productivity can take another 20 minutes.

Feel free to be a bit harsh on this one—after a couple of times, they’ll stop asking.

4. Procrastinate Your Chores

Yes, you heard that right—procrastinate on purpose.

Maybe there are dishes in the sink, perhaps your bed isn’t made, and there’s a really good chance you have laundry that needs attending to.

Resist the urge to take on these tasks during your normal working hours. It’s not that it’s a bad idea to polish off these chores at some point, but it’s bad that you’re doing them now.

The only reason you’ve chosen this moment to do the chores, instead of the evening or the weekend, is because you’re actively shirking your work responsibilities.

In order to stay accountable, hit your deadlines, and not let your team down, save those dishes for the evening.

5. Take Outdoor Breaks

You know what’s not OK?

Looking out the window at 4:30 p.m. and realizing you have no idea what the temperature is because you haven’t been outside all day.

Even if you work primarily indoors at your on-premise job, you still have your commute and walk through the parking lot to get a few rays of Vitamin D and a bit of fresh air on a daily basis.

In your quest for productivity in a work-from-home scenario, don’t forget to take a few steps outside at least twice a day.

6. Tools of the Trade

If you’ve made it this far into our work-from-home tips, you have a solid foundation that can get you through a quarantine. But if you’re looking to set yourself up for long-term success as a ridiculously productive remote worker, you’ll need the right tools for the job.

Here are a few indispensable tools to keep you working at full speed while also maintaining your sanity.

Video Conference

If you’re going to continue to conduct meetings, both internally and with clients, you need a reliable videoconference tool. Depending on your current technology ecosystem, most people are going to use Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet.

Zoom is a subscription service (starting at $14.99/month) that also has a free option. The free version is limited to 40-minute meetings and doesn’t offer cloud recording.

Google Hangouts Meet is included in your G-Suite package and has some really nifty features like live streaming available.

Either way, just make sure you have a readily accessible video conference option.

Instant Messaging

Again, this depends largely on your organization’s technology ecosystem, but having an instant messaging option, in addition to email, is super important for internal communication. Slack, Google Hangouts Chat, and Microsoft Teams are all viable options for IM.

Contracts

An animation of the HelloSign signer experience

If you’re stuck at home, it’s not like you can print out a contract and run it over to a new client, but would you want to anyway? Give it to them with your hands, have them sign it in pen—it’s practically barbaric.

HelloSign is your ready-made alternative to this archaic contract practice. With a sleek user interface and award-winning capabilities, HelloSign is the best way to get contracts done.

Ready to give e-signatures a try?

If you want to test out HelloSign before you reach out we offer a free trial for our pro and business plans. Start your 30-day trial here. Or get started with a free plan here and enjoy three free documents a month.

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