Whether you’ve just started working from home or you’ve had a home office for years, we have plenty of tips, tricks, and guides to boost your productivity and eliminate stress.
MakeUseOf is a remote company, so we have years of experience in working from home. If you’re new to remote work, let us tell you, it can be both liberating and challenging at the same time. Yes, you won’t have to dress up and commute to work, but you might also struggle to get stuff done. Our collection of resources will help you stay focused, productive, and happy while working from home.
Are you not working from home, yet? Here is how you might be able to convince your boss to let you work remotely.
Get the Right Equipment for Your Home Office
Working from home is convenient, but working from your couch isn’t professional. Take yourself seriously and create an environment that’s conducive to productivity. Pick a quiet and distraction-free location, prepare a table you enjoy working at, maintain your morning routine, get dressed for work, and start at your usual time.
If working from home is going to be permanent, invest in a proper home office setup. We recommend looking into the items below.
Fast and Reliable Internet
If you’ll be working from home a lot, do yourself a favor and invest in a fast internet connection with enough data to get you through the month. Whether that’s fiber or cable internet and which package exactly depends on where you live and the nature of your work. If you have no clue where to start, first learn about the types of internet:
If your Wi-Fi connection is the issue, you may be able to fix it:
- How to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal and Extend Wi-Fi Range
- 9 Things That Might Be Slowing Down Your Home Wi-Fi Network
- Why Is My Wi-Fi Is So Slow? Here’s How to Fix It
- How to Fix a Slow or Unstable Wi-Fi Connection
Better yet, connect your PC directly to your router using an Ethernet cable.
If that’s not possible, you could use a powerline adapter to channel your internet connection from your router to your computer through electrical outlets:
- What Are Powerline Adapters? 9 Things You Need to Know
- The 5 Best Powerline Adapters for Your Home Network
- Wi-Fi Extenders vs. Powerline Adapters: How to Fix Poor Wireless Signals
- 6 Tips to Improve the Speed of Your Powerline Network
A Proper Desk and Chair
When you work from home, you’re responsible for your own health and well-being—and it all begins with where you work. Will you be sitting all day? Can you covert to a standing desk occasionally? Does your chair permit good posture?
- The Best Compact Home Office Desks
- 7 DIY Computer Desk Projects That’ll Save You Money
- The 7 Best Cheap Computer Chairs
- The Best Adjustable Standing Desks (And Why You Need One)
- 9 Essential Standing Desk Accessories Every Worker Should Have
The Right Computer and Keyboard
A slow computer can be a huge bottleneck for productivity. If you have a desktop computer, upgrading a few key parts (like RAM or the hard drive) might be enough to make it as good as new:
- These Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most!
- The 6 Best Cheap Computer Parts Stores for Saving Money
- Laptop vs. Desktop: Pros, Cons, and Which Should You Get?
- Which Operating System Should You Choose for Your Next PC?
- When Is the Best Time to Buy a Computer? 5 Things to Keep in Mind
- The 5 Best Laptops Under $500
- The 8 Best Linux Desktop Computers and Laptops You Can Buy
- The 5 Best Cheap Linux Laptops
- The 6 Best Wireless Mouse and Keyboard Combos for All Budgets
A Multi-Monitor Setup
Do you often have to juggle a lot of spreadsheets, documents, and/or browser tabs? A dual- or triple-monitor setup could take your productivity to the next level:
- 5 Things You Should Know When Shopping for a Monitor
- The 7 Best Curved Monitors
- 3 Easy Steps to a Dual Monitor Setup and an Extended Desktop
- How to Use Your Laptop Like an External Monitor
Quality Headphones and Headset
If working from home entails many conference calls, get a headset or headphones+microphone to make virtual meetings more bearable. We also have tips on how to overcome distractions:
- The 5 Best Affordable Noise-Cancelling Headphones
- The 5 Best Wireless (Gaming) Headsets for the PC
- The 5 Best Conference Speakerphones for Your Office or Home
- The Best White Noise Machines for Drowning Out Distractions
Safely Connect to Your Office Computer
Wouldn’t it be great to use your home desktop computer even when you’re away from home? With the magic of a remote desktop connection, you can! The following resources will show you how to set up a remote connection at home:
- How to Set Up TeamViewer to Access Your PC From Anywhere
- Microsoft Remote Desktop: How to Access Windows From Your Mac
- How to Remote Control Linux From Windows
- Ubuntu Remote Desktop: Easy, Built-In, VNC Compatible
- How to Establish Remote Desktop Access to Ubuntu From Windows
If you’re going to deal with sensitive data over a remote connection, we recommend using a VPN for security reasons. If you’re working remotely for a bigger company, they should provide you with the tools and guidelines on how to do that. You should have access to a remote VPN solution, so check with your IT department before you try setting up your own VPN connection:
- What Is a VPN? How Tunneling Protects Privacy
- The Best VPN Services
- How to Set Up a VPN on Your Router
Communicate and Collaborate With Your Colleagues
One of the main challenges of remote work is feeling lonely and disconnected. With the right tools, however, you can always stay in touch and emulate your work place meetings.
We strongly recommend setting up a shared chat group. MakeUseOf uses Slack with multiple channels for our various teams, as well as a community “water cooler” channel for fun. You have many options, Slack or otherwise:
- How to Use Slack: Tips for Decluttering, Formatting, and Customization
- The Slack Cheat Sheet: Shortcuts, Commands, and Syntax to Know
- The 7 Best Free Slack Alternatives for Team Communication
- 7 WhatsApp Web Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know
- Use WhatsApp Web on Your PC: The Ultimate Guide
- What Is It About Telegram Messenger That People Love?
- 10 Useful Telegram Features You Should Be Using
Virtual Meetings and Video Conferencing
Remote work often involves maintaining structured meetings via conference calls or video chats. At MakeUseOf, we’ve mainly been using Whereby (formerly Appear.in) for virtual meetings, but in the past we’ve also used Slack audio calls, Google Hangouts, Skype, and GoToMeeting.
- The 6 Best Meeting Scheduling Tools and Apps
- The 7 Best Apps to Make Free Group Conference Calls
- 7 Skype for Business Tips and Tricks for Great Meetings
- 6 Free Skype Alternatives for the Windows Desktop
- Sick of Skype? 7 Best Free Skype Alternatives
- 10 Awesome Google Hangouts Tricks You Should Definitely Check Out
- How to Give an Online Presentation from Anywhere
Online Collaboration Tools
When you’re working on projects as a team, you’ll have shared tasks to manage, data and documents to exchange, and progress to track. Ideally, you already have tools and processes in place; if not, here are some tools that many remote teams use to collaborate effectively:
- 5 Online Project Management Tools for Small Teams
- The 6 Best Free Online Meeting Tools to Collaborate with Your Team
- 8 Free Tools to Work & Collaborate Online from Your Home
Manage Your Tasks, Your Time, and Yourself
Remote work isn’t magically different from office work. The lack of colleagues or meetings to interrupt your flow could make you more productive. On the other hand, not having people check in on you could leave you unmotivated and emotionally drained. Meanwhile, workaholics will have to take extra care of their physical health.
Task and Time Management
Whether you work remotely or in an office, you can use the same tools for your calendar and task management. But if you want to refresh your arsenal of tools and try out new online and mobile apps, start here.
- Time Blocking — The Secret Weapon for Better Focus
- Google Calendar + Tasks Is the Only To-Do List You’ll Ever Need
- 7 Ways to Make Google Calendar Your Windows Desktop Calendar
- How to Sync Your Google Calendar With Your To-Do List
- 7 Tools to Sync Microsoft Outlook With Google Calendar
- 10 Tips to Turn Microsoft To-Do Into a Serious Task Manager
- 11 Linux To-Do Apps, Timers, and Extensions to Help You Stay on Task
Remote work can be isolating and tough on your mental and physical health. Structure your day with time for yourself, plan your meals, take breaks, go for walks, schedule fun times, and have healthy routines in place to end your day and take the edge off of a stressful work week.
- 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long (And How to Avoid Them)
- 5 Free Apps for Reminders to Take a Break From Screens
- The Best White Noise Machines for Drowning Out Distractions
- 7 Best Recipe Organizer Apps to Replace Your Cookbooks
- MyFridgeFood & More Sites to Find Recipes With Ingredients You Have
- The 10 Best Calming Apps to Relax, Destress, and Clear Your Mind
- 6 Top Health Forums Online for Expert Support
- 8 Mental Health Apps for People Who Can’t See a Therapist
Read the full article: The Remote Work Hub: Tips for Working From Your Home Office