Working from the comfort of your own home has its perks: no commute, less expenses, and more flexibility. Research even shows an increase in productivity! How can you stay motivated long-term though? Our experts reveal the top ten secrets for successfully working from home.

Woman sitting at table with laptop

1. Establish a workspace

Dedicate a place in your home exclusively for work. Consider everything you need to get your job done with ease: a computer, charger, notebook, pen, comfortable chair, good lighting etc. While it may be tempting to work from your bed or couch, you should separate work from play. When you sit down in this designated space, you’ll know it’s time to get down to business.

2. Set ground rules

Chances are, you’re not the only one living in your home. Whether it’s your roommate, spouse, or child, communicate your needs with them. Come up with a plan that works for all of you so you can focus on your job.

3. Dress the part

Are your pajamas comfortable? Yes. Are your pajamas the best work uniform? No. Dress as you normally would in an office setting. This doesn’t mean you need to sport your best suit and tie (although you do you!), but it does mean that you should change into fresh clothes every morning and put yourself in a professional mindset.

4. Brush up on video chat etiquette

Find a quiet area for meetings. Let’s face it: no one wants to hear your kids screaming or the dog barking (no matter how cute they are). The mute button should be your best friend. When you’re not talking, simply turn off your microphone so no background noise interferes with your virtual meeting.

5. Take breaks

Know when to walk away from your computer – just adhere to your company’s policies and let your team know where you are. Need some fresh air? Want to treat yourself to a nice lunch? Value your daily run? Sometimes you need a breather so you can return to your workload feeling recharged and more productive than ever.

6. Set goals

Make to-do lists at the start of each day, and feel accomplished as you cross off each item. If any assignments feel daunting, break them down into smaller goals. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way! For example, time your breaks after you complete tasks to stay driven long-term and prevent burnout.

7. Stay connected

Even though you’re not bumping into coworkers at the water cooler, it’s important to still talk with your team. Slack, Gchat, and email your colleagues to stay in the loop. It’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate, so don’t hesitate to ‘cc more people into emails than you normally would.

8. Avoid distractions

Humans aren’t skilled at multitasking. Focus on one assignment at a time, and if another thought or task pops up, jot it down to remember for later. To help you concentrate, close tabs you aren’t using. Put your phone on silent, stay clear of social media, and don’t turn on the television.

9. Find a playlist to keep your momentum high

While some people thrive in complete silence, others need some background noise to work efficiently. An empty home, without the buzz of employees around you, can drive some people crazy. If you’re feeling isolated, listen to some music.

10. Stick to a schedule

Office hours aren’t just for the office. Don’t let the lines between your work and personal life blur, and set strict hours for yourself. Some employees who telecommute don’t know when to cut themselves off because their work is always accessible. Setting a time to go offline will not only help you maintain a healthy work-life balance but also motivate you to complete all tasks within that time frame.

Post-it note with "Office meeting" written on it

At some point in your career, you’ll probably find yourself working from home. No matter the situation, these tips will set you up for success. Over time, you will discover a routine that works for you, and we’ll be by your side along the way.