11 steps to be efficient in working-from-home

The idea of remote working has been on the rise since the dawn of COVID-19 pandemic. And with several companies implementing work-from-home set-ups in line with the preventive measures against the disease, here are 11 steps to nail this emerging professional lifestyle:

Make a to-do list before you clock-in


One effective way to ensure work efficiency at home is to plan ahead the things you need to do for the day. Sure, assignments may change depending on the directives given by your supervisor, but having an agenda that outlines every task you know you need to accomplish will make it easier for you to optimize work once you clock in. Moreover, that little sense of triumph you feel every time you get to cross off items off your to-do list will also boost productivity even further.

Start your day early

Unlike working at the office, wherein the morning commute helps you wake up and feel energized early in the morning, telecommuting can make the transition from your bed straight to your desk a little exasperating. One way to remedy this is to set your alarm early and get started immediately. Right after you wake up, drink your morning coffee or tea, have your breakfast, and take a shower before diving into work. Pretend you’re actually going to the office so you would not find yourself back in bed. These small actions can jumpstart your day and thrust you into productivity.

Set up your own little office

Just because you don’t work in the office does not mean you can no longer have an office—albeit small. Dedicate a specific room or a spot in your home where you can set up shop, and make sure it is not somewhere near your bed or your couch, two spaces synonymous to leisure and down time. It’s essential to make some sort of separation between your work and resting spots so you can commit to the job without interference or temptation. It does not have to be an expensive furniture, either. Sometimes, all it takes are one chair and a small table to get you into the right frame of mind without any factors disturbing your train of through or workflow.

If you have anyone living with you, let them know about your working situation

Before you begin your professional tasks, make sure to set expectations with your roommates or family so they know when to respect your personal space during working hours. Many employees get distracted easily with simple small talks and unnecessary noise in the background, and these factors get amplified in a work-from-home set-up. Not to mention, people around the house may ask you to do some chores if they do not know you’re working. This is the reason you need to set some boundaries with anyone living with your, even if they’re your family.

Switch off distractions

A lot of people are under the impression that telecommuting ascertains a solidified work-life balance, and while that could be true in some respect, that principle can actually jeopardize efficiency when not done right. If you’re not vigilant, the comforting environment can make you get caught up in too much leisure that will result in losing complete track of time.

To maintain your focus, make sure to turn off your TV and keep your social media surfing—the main culprit of unproductivity—to a minimum. It may be difficult to achieve since there is less pressure, but one way to do this is to log out of your accounts except for your messaging apps and e-mail. Some employees claim they only work in a private or an “Incognito” browser window to ensure that they stay signed out of all accounts.

Pledge yourself to do more

Ensure productivity by calibrating your brain into over-committing on a certain project. If you have already exerted a certain amount of time, it will be hard for you to forego it for anything else. Try not to get daunted by the amount of tasks it takes to finish a project. Make a list of the things you need to do and try to tick off more items than what you originally had planned. Before you know it, you’ve had already finished everything you need to do.

Work harder when you’re at your most productive

There is no such thing as being energized throughout the day. Even when you’re working at the office, you will still experience your drive ebbing particularly in the laziest hours of the day. It is then only natural that you feel a receding motivation when you are in the comforts of your home. It does not mean, however, that there is no way around it. One hack to ensure work efficiency stays the same is to do harder tasks during the hours where you are in right headspace. Use the times when you’re less driven on easier tasks, and work on heavier projects when you feel you’re at your most productive. That way, you will still get small acts of success even at moments where you have little energy to work.

Be responsive and proactive to supervisors, colleagues, and clients

While there no longer exists a manager’s watchful eye in telecommuting, it is still highly essential to always contact and respond to your supervisor and colleagues with whatever update or progress they need to know about your tasks.

The same ges for your clients. They have to be able to trust that you are just within reach even if they do not always see you personally. Respond to their messages, e-mails, and calls whenever you can, and regularly reach out to them so you can show that you are still thinking of them.

For you to be able to successfully do this, make sure you diligently do the next step.

Maximize technology to stay connected


Perhaps the major contributor to the success of telecommuting is the presence of technology. The wide range of messaging and video apps available today has enabled many employers remove distance barrier between them and their colleagues, keeping them connected about the updates happening in the company. Some companies have utilized Zoom and Microsoft Teams in order to regularly conduct virtual meetings at home.

Make sure you maintain proactiveness in the apps the company uses in order to keep in touch as well as to ensure you do not miss out on the larger operations happening in your work.

Move around and stretch

If you stay glued to your chair and your computer screen the whole day, you will strain your muscles and further increase your chances of becoming unproductive at work. Take the time to stand up and stretch, or even do some jumping jacks to make sure your body gets the jolt it needs to restart and feel energized again to continue.

Set boundaries

Some companies believe that since you are telecommuting, you will be at their constant beck and call since you’re just in the comforts of your home. If you allow them to make you intersperse work with your homelife, the line that separates the two of them becomes blurred, and the stress from it can be detrimental to your mental health. Set some rules not only for your colleagues but also for yourself. Do the tasks you need to accomplish within the working hours and be firm to sign off once you clock out. Refrain from letting your team provide you with so much tasks way after your work, and let them know that unless they are urgent, they would have to wait until the next working day. This way, you will still get the rest you need, and you will avoid feeling burn out.

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan gathers stories on a wide array of topics, particularly on the Philippines, UAE, Saudi, and Bahrain—which are published on The Filipino Times Newspaper, The Filipino Times Website, and The Filipino Times Newsletter. She also presents the news on cam in the pre-recorded daily broadcast of The Filipino Times Newsbreak—a run-through of the most important events of the day, reaching 5,000 to 20,000 views—to deliver stories to audiences inclined to audio-visual content online. For recommendations and story pitches, you can reach her at [email protected]

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