4 Key Tips for Staying Collaborative & On-task When Working From Home

Team collaboration when working from home can seem like a daunting task for some. It was close to three years ago when a friend told me about a position at Yamaha Unified Communications that would be opening up in a few months. It sounded great, but I wasn’t actively searching at that point. He told me all the benefits of the position, how it was growing and that the time to get in is now. It all sounded great, but at the end he mentioned it was a work from home position. At that time, I instantly knew that wouldn’t work for me. I always loved the idea of working from home, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to handle something like that at that point in my life.

Six months later, I was looking to leave my job, and with a little self-convincing, I found myself applying to that position at Yamaha Unified Communications. Now almost two and a half years later, I’m still here and loving every minute of it.

But before I accepted the job, I had to make sure I was prepared to take on the challenge of working from home. For some, it’s easy, but for others it takes time. I did research on being productive and received a lot of tips for working from home, which helped me get ready for this next step in my career and feel confident in my new work set up. Below are a couple of tips I feel can be helpful for those beginning to work from home.

A good “office” setup

When working from home you need to separate your living space from your workspace. Creating an “office” with functional and comfortable equipment ensures you not only have the tools to be productive, but also have a space dedicated to work time. Whether it be an extra room or the corner of your NYC apartment kitchen, make sure you have a sturdy desk with enough room for writing and a computer.

A big necessity is a supportive chair. Also, make sure you have the right equipment for conference calls or videoconferencing. The Yamaha YVC-200 has become my go-to for all of my calls. Dual monitors were a game changer for me. It allows for a quicker workflow when working with 2 or more screens. You want to make a place that helps you be most efficient.

Try to set a morning routine

I’m not talking about a Groundhog’s Day type routine, but something that gets you out of bed and peps you up in the morning. For some, it’s the gym and then work. For others it’s a shower in the morning, a cup of coffee and then get to work. Whatever it might be for you, it’s a great idea to have something that you do consistently in the morning. So that when you’re finished with that, your next task is to start work. The consistency helps the day feel productive from the beginning and in a way, you look forward to finishing that routine and start working.

Cut out distractions

This is a tough one to tackle, but once you do, it’s a whole new ball game. We are in a digital age where everything around us is just a click away. Even when I’m on the internet working, I see ads all over the place that could distract me with a click of my mouse. Cutting out distractions is how you stay on point all day. If you have two phones, keep your work phone nearby and your personal phone in another room. Stay away from the TV. Maybe use music in the background to help drown out unwanted noise. Finally, make sure that your schedule is known when something important is happening: a specific phone call, meeting or work event. Interruptions when you’re in “the zone”are never fun.

Take breaks throughout the day

When you take these breaks make sure you use this time to recharge. Working from home can sometimes make you feel a bit isolated. I believe that this is something that often gets looked passed. Being 15-20 feet away from your bedroom in your home office isn’t giving yourself enough space to break away from being home. You need to make sure you give yourself a break just as you would in the office. Go to the gym during lunch, take the dog on a long walk or just put a rocking chair on your patio and relax for 20 minutes. I highly recommended that you make sure you step out of the house a few times a day.

Working from home doesn’t have to be boring, but it does have to be efficient or else you won’t be working at all. Make it fun. Listen to music. Maybe set up a sound bar like the Yamaha ESB-1080 that can be used for both work and home. Talk to your co-workers online or even video chat them for a couple minutes for some interaction. Post important content on LinkedIn. We all have our own ways of being productive and I hope that the tips above can help fit into your day to day strategy of working from home!