Work From Home Tips for Sanity & Productivity

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

COVID-19 got you working remotely? Never considered WFH? We've got you covered!

Working from home can be a tough transition, especially if you didn't choose this type of work and had it sprung on you due to COVID-19. If you've spent your career going to an office where you have physical boundaries delineating work and home, it can be a big challenge to tackle working from home. Got kids? Even more to balance! We've got extra tips for parents at the bottom!

We collected some tips from our staff, a mix of WFH veterans, parents, and newbies, about how to be productive at home and maintain a healthy mindset while working in your living space.


Step One- Pause.

Truly pause. Just for a moment.

Breathe. Sit up straight. Roll your neck. Relax your shoulders. Breathe again.

If you're here because you're already frustrated, that's normal and understandable, so take a minute to accept your frustration and let it clear your head.

Step Two- Take a moment to feel grateful and be thankful.

"In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships." (1)

We are grateful that we are able to work from home, even if it is an abrupt adaptation. We are grateful for jobs and employers keeping us paid, to consumers and businesses keeping our businesses moving forward, and to each other for showing up.

Times are crazy. We just need to get through them. Not perfectly, just through. You got this.


Work From Home Basics

Setting Expectations

Regardless of why you're working from home, if this is an unexpected transition and/or you aren't well prepared to transition your work to remote work, this is an uncomfortable time for everyone. That's compounded if you have family living in the house with you, whether that's kids or parents or in-laws. More so if their lives are equally disrupted, or your caregivers' are and are unavailable.

Take time to take stock of your personal situation, list out everything that needs your time or attention in addition to work, and figure out what is reasonable. If there's anyone around who needs your time or attention during work hours, expect to cut your productivity in half. Don't set a high bar and fail to achieve it.

Setting realistic goals is critical to being successful working from home, and to feeling successful by meeting your goals.

Setting a Schedule

This can make or break your productivity working from home. It's important to schedule time for everything you just listed out, whether that's walking the dog, doing laundry, or a quiet hour when you can brainstorm ideas for your new project. Make sure you're including meal times, breaks, and the beginning and end of your day. Don't "work until you're done with your work or project," but rather be mindful of when you're working.

Owl Labs put out this easy WFH Scheduler app to help reserve time and space in advance. "Your office has systems in place to help with space management so you can reserve conference rooms and squat in phone booths when you need them. Odds are, your home does not. That's where Work from Home Scheduler comes in."

General Tips

Staff Pick: "Try the 52/17 Rule! It sounds random, but it's science-based."

-Kayla Morrissey, Small Business Owner, four years of WFH

Click to read the 52/17 Rule, to see what the hubbub is about, or check out the similar system with shorter periods of productivity and more frequent breaks, the Pomodoro technique.

Both utilize dedicated periods for focusing on work, with breaks to reset your brain, body, and concentration.

Schedule breaks. Every. Single. Day.

If you decide to try one of the methods above, you'll be scheduling your breaks in already, but if they aren't for you, it's still important to have dedicated time to put your work down. It's not time 'off' of work, but rather work you're doing to stay productive.

Stick to your schedule as much as possible. Whether it's daily or weekly, having a schedule helps you make sure you're allotting and spending enough time where you need to.