The Remote Work Hub: Tips for Working From Your Home Office

Remote Working

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:

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:

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?

Finally, if you have the time, clean up the cable clutter and optimize your desk for maximum productivity.

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

Communication Platforms

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:

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 for virtual meetings, but in the past we’ve also used Slack audio calls, Google Hangouts, Skype, and GoToMeeting.

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:

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.

Self Management

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.

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