The Ultimate Work From Home Guide

The Ultimate Work from Home Guide

Remoteglobal states that “One in five people work from home nowadays”.

This fact was initially only true with the country of America until the gig economy found its way into India. It is estimated that nearly 15 Million people in India have a professional job with a Work From Home (WFH) option.

On one side of the story, the option to work from home is proving beneficial to many employees. Many prefer working from home as it lowers their stress level and brings down their overall costs for the commute.

Working from home is very beneficial because of the following reasons:

  • Employees save time from the tiring commute
  • Working from home is Eco-Friendly as lesser no of people use vehicles for commute
  • Employees can replace the travel time to work productively

Above all, it is stated that a staggering 25% of workers are ready to take a pay cut to work from home. Companies are now looking at models that would allow employees to work from the comfort of their houses.

However, the current situation of massive work-from-home did not happen because of a major shift in the employee mindset. This major work-from-home crisis was brought in by the COVID-19 Pandemic. This pandemic has forced the government to shut down millions of businesses and has forced people to stay at home, instead.

With death counts rising and a global economic meltdown in the coming days, COVID-19 has caused immense damage to life and the economy.

Even before the advent of the Coronavirus, there have been a lot of people earning their bread by working from home. The list included people from professions like:

  • Remote Accountants and Bookkeepers
  • Writers and Content Marketers
  • Business Consultants
  • Editors
  • Data Analyst
  • Web Developers
  • UI/ UX Designers

And many more professions are seeing a trend of people opting to choose their homes as their workplace.

For Example: 

Hubspot – the marketing and Sales CRM software vendor has been offering its employees to work for a year now. These guys have been testing it out with different departments every single week and call it “Remote Week”.

Take a look at this article to see what the employees thought of working from home. Take a look at the tips they had to offer for professionals looking for WFH.

Tools for remote working teams
Tips and Tools for Remote Working Teams

Tips for working from home

The Vast majority of people who have worked from home have been putting out some great tips over the years. All of these tips are essential to working from home on a productive basis. These tips are from firsthand experiences of people who have made their houses their professional workplaces.

Set up your workspace

Most of the traditional workers characterize this step as the most crucial one while working from home. A workspace is meant to set you up in the mindset to work. It is meant to keep you away from distractions and enable a smooth workflow.

Here are some steps to set up your workspace:

Think about your work and its needs

If you are a professional writer, you might need a laptop and a charging socket to work on your trade. An accountant might need calculators and a place to store documents as hard copies.

Give a thought before selecting your workspace. Make sure you have a good desk, chair, and plenty of airflow before trying to zone in on a place to designate as your work zone.

Once Decided, use that space for work and work only

It may seem like a pretty harmless thing to watch a movie on the same desk you put your work into, but experts recommend not to. Allocate the workspace to conduct all your work-related tasks and not for anything else.

Once you start using the workspace for other tasks, you lose the zest of the place. There is a certain magic that comes into designating a workspace for just working. Experts call this the “Magic Area” or the place where all the magic happens.

Work With what you have

Million-dollar companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Harley-Davidson started in small garages. The founders of these companies did not have the best equipment, but brilliant work ethics.

It may seem a good idea to invest in high-quality tables and rolling chairs to work from home, but experts suggest a normal desk and chair would do. You just need a place to sit down and work comfortably. 

If you have the money to invest in comfort, do get for it. But when you are low on funds, you need to stop worrying about comfort and start working instead.

Organize your workspace

Professionals who work from home suggest organizing your workspace before you start work. A lot of things can get in the way of work when you are home.

Consider your workspace as your work desk in an office. Professional spaces always suggest their employees maintain a neat workspace. It improves productivity and keeps you in a good mood.

Stay Comfortable

The most important factor when selecting your workspace is to find somewhere comfortable. You need to be comfortable with the place you work in.

Get a comfortable table and chair setup. Get plenty of ventilation and lights to keep your workspace fresh. Some professionals also prefer painting workspaces in your favorite color to give your subconscious mind a soothing view when you take a break.

A high-speed internet

This is the most important feature of working from home. The power of the internet is what makes working from home a feasible concept. It gives you the ability to work from anywhere in the world and still make money. 

The Internet allows communication between employers and the employee. The internet allows you to upload and download files. The power of the Internet enables you to use Internet applications to boost your productivity. However, for all the good things the internet gives, you need to maintain it in proper condition.

Professionals suggest you always spread out your budget for paying your internet fees. It is also suggested to get a service provider that is reliable and offers good bandwidth. You don’t need to spend crazy amounts of internet charges, just spend enough to get a sustainable network from a provider that gives out economical plans.

Minimize distractions

This is one of the reasons why people find WFH difficult. When in our office space, we are amongst co-workers who are continuously working at their desks. You also have superiors in the company, keeping you in check.

When working from home, you can find yourself surrounded by plenty of distractions like a buzzing phone, a crying baby who wants to play, or an overly enthusiastic dog who just wants attention. Planning a workspace and getting yourself away from these elements can help while working from home.

Professionals suggest an even greater technique, like putting your phone in the other room, and locking yourself away from people and dogs when you start working.

Plan your social interactions

While it is great to have your home as your workplace, you can miss out on the daily human interactions that make life brilliant. Extroverts especially can see this as a huge disadvantage as they crave human contact on a daily basis. With some time working from home, you can easily see loneliness set into your life.

One good way to tackle this is by planning time for social interactions with your friends and family. You need to actively take time off from work, otherwise, you may end up feeling depressed and lonely from too much alone time.

Remote working advantages - man working at desk
Advantages of Remote working.

What kind of challenges will you face working from home

Working from home can be hard and a little tiresome in the beginning. Doing something for the first time would not always turn out perfect, cause they are filled with challenges. However, with the right kind of tips, we can overcome these challenges to become better and perform a better job working from home.

Failing to put in actual work

Working from home can sound like a bed of roses until you find yourself putting in zero work toward your career or job. It can easily get monotonous and boring at some point, driving you to binge-watch that new series Netflix just put up.

There are also instances when you might feel like the work is never-ending. These times can bring about the best or the worst aspects of working from home.

Fix: Create an Actual Work Schedule

By creating an actual work schedule, you understand your priorities and tasks for the day. You also know when you are required to complete the task you assign to yourselves. A well-designed work schedule will keep your work running like a well-oiled machine.

Check out this article to frame a personalized work schedule for yourself.

You can actually work too much

While you fail to work at times, some days can become filled with work and nothing else. These days are even scarier than the 1st challenge as you can see a mountain of work before you with no peak in sight. This can become scary quite easily and drain away all your personal time into working through the tasks.

Fix: Have a working schedule and learn to prioritize

A personalized working schedule is still the cure for overworking. As soon as you get up, get a good look at all the work that is pending for the day. With an idea of all the work, prioritize the important work from the ones that can be postponed to another date.

Create a schedule for the day and stick to it. Remember this simple acronym while creating a daily work schedule – SMART.

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Consider these factors before designing a daily and monthly work schedule for yourselves.

Family can get in your way

When your home becomes your workplace, then you must treat it as your office. But home is where a family resides and they can get in your way while working. Just a casual chat with mom and a two-minute cuddle with your dog can take away an hour of time. Family, friends, and relatives can often disturb you when working from home.

Fix: Maintain a healthy boundary by explaining to them

Sometimes this can be easily solved by explaining beforehand. You need to tell your family, friends, and relatives that this is your work zone and you must not be disturbed during your work hours.

Be frank and clear while stating your boundaries and explaining that you are being a professional. Most people would be happy to offer you space and time while you are working.

And for dogs, there is not much you can do. Maybe just try to put them in another room when you start working out.

Failing productivity

Writers, editors, and creative professionals who work from home state failing productivity levels as one of the main challenges while working from home. It can be very real, especially in times like the COVID-19 Lockdown, when communication with the external world is completely cut down.

Fix: Follow the 25 – 5 rule and maybe take a walk

There are no coworkers or colleagues when you work from home. There are also no tea breaks or casual hangouts or office banter while you choose your home as your workplace.

As a professional, you must understand the importance of taking a break at regular intervals. Follow the 25-5 rule, by working for 25 minutes with a break for 5 minutes.

You can also take a walk, cuddle up with your dog, or listen to a song in this short break. After your break, you will be completely energized and ready to take on your work.

Personal Life can come to a halt

When you work from home, it is easy to make your life all about work and work-related tasks, with no space for a personal life. Days and weeks can go by in an instant before you even realize what just went by.

Fix: Set up a time for communication

Just like a work schedule, set aside some time for conversing with your friends and family. As humans, we are all highly social beings who need the support and presence of another human being.

Moreover, what happiness is life without a handful of friends and family to share it with?

Are there tools to increase your productivity

Challenges are one part, while there is completely another aspect of working from home. We work from home to save time and increase our productivity.

More importantly, we work from home to have a better personal social life. We have put together a list of tools you can use to become more productive with your daily tasks. Some of these tools can help you get work done faster, while some help in connecting with your clients or employers.

Some of these tools can also help automate mundane daily tasks.

App-based tools

  1. Necessary for professions that require managing people – Team management tools
    • Slack 
    • ZOHO workplace
    • Harvest 
    • Podio
    • Scoro
  2. Team Chat Apps
    • Chanty
    • Slack
    • Microsoft teams
    • Hangouts Chat
    • Rockets Chat
  3. Screen Sharing Software
    • Screenleap
    • Team Viewer
    • Slack
    • Zoom
    • Crankwheel
  4. Video Conferencing Apps
    • Cisco Webex Meetings
    • Zoho Meeting
    • Microsoft teams
    • Zoom Meeting
  5. Online office suites
    • Google Docs
    • Microsoft Office Online
    • Libreoffice ( OFFLINE )
    • WPS office ( OFFLINE )
  6. Cloud Storage Apps
    • Idrive
    • Onedrive
    • Google Drive
    • Mega storage
  7. Apps for increasing focus
    • Lumosity
    • HeadSpace
    • The mindfulness app
    • Mind Node
    • Time Out
  8. Whiteboard apps for online brainstorming and presentations
    • Miro
    • Stormboard
    • Limnu
    • AWW
    • Conceptboard
  9. Time management tools
    • Rescue Time
    • Toggl
    • My Life Organized
    • Trello
  10. Tools for keeping notes, links, and passwords
    • Evernote
    • Pocket
    • 1password
    • Google Keep
    • Simple note
  11. Some more Essential physical tools
    • Mobile Hotspots
    • Notepad
    • A comfortable Table and Desk Setup

We hope this list was helpful and gave you some valuable information.

Have a great time working from home!

Working from home the ultimate guide
Working from home is the ultimate guide.

Image source: Freepik Premium

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