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How to work from home effectively?

Are you struggling or enjoying working from home?


I have not been out for the last two weeks due to social distancing restrictions in Vietnam. I now work from home everyday. We don’t know how long this situation will last, so today, I will share how I work from home effectively.

First of all, I do enjoy working from home. I feel like I have more control over my schedule and work-life balance. Moreover, it helps me focus more and save some money when not commuting to work (duh!). However, I KNOW some people absolutely hate working from home. My friends tell me they are miserably rolling from the refrigerator to the bed and then back to the fridge. I believe the following tips can help you adapt and find a work-from-home routine that works for you.

  1. Create a separate workspace

You can make your home workspace comfortable in any way you want. Maybe this space can even be more beautiful and comfortable than your office corner. However, you still need to stay away from distracting factors such as TVs, refrigerators, or social networks. Setting up a space when working from home (not on a bed!) will make it easier for you to focus on work. For me, I often choose the table next to the window with a view to my balcony (which is also my garden) because it is full of light and feels very open and relaxed.  I like to put some essential oils on my table, a water bottle (remember to drink enough water, even when you’re at home!), notebooks, and books for inspiration. It’s best not to leave your phone next to you.

  1. Set clear boundaries

The most important thing about working from home is to avoid letting your ‘work life’ mix with your’ home life.’ What does this mean? It’s simpler for those who live alone; you just need to discipline yourself. However, for those who are married or living with their parents, it is a different story. You should communicate with other family members that you have a specific working time in a day that no one should disturb, even though you are at home. This not only helps you maximize your focus on work but also helps you avoid the situation of working non-stop or working while playing or talking with family members. It’s better to spend time getting all the job done and then spending time with the family than mixing the two.

  1. Maintain a routine 

When I start working from home, the first thing I do is to make a to-do list and build a specific routine to follow. It’s easy to think that because you’re working from home, you’re having more time to finish work. This will set back your productivity. The ideal time that I can work most effectively in the day is in the morning, from about 8 am to 11:30 am. So I schedule more urgent work-related tasks in the morning. In the afternoon, I’m opted for creating brainstorming or photoshoots. So make sure to choose a routine that works best for you and optimizes your output. 

  1. Remember to take a break in between

You may be over excited and over worked when things go SO productively in the first few days of working from home. Establishing a work schedule to focus on is great, but taking breaks in between is also essential. When working from home, you don’t have coworkers to communicate with and don’t have a specific lunchtime. So you will probably sit in front of the computer for many hours, which may result in hurting your back and eyes. I know I made the same mistakes.

So how often is the best time to take a break? According to studies at a media company, their best employees usually work for about 52 minutes and then take a 17-minute break. These breaks do not need to be the same everyday. You may look out of the window instead of looking at the screen, or you can read the news, listen to music, call a friend, walk around, stretch, and even do some yoga. Anything to give your brain a chance to rest and get ready to go back to work!

  1. Stay in touch

When you have to switch from working at the office to working from home, it will be difficult at first because there is no interaction with your boss and colleagues. Isolation at home can be a significant obstacle for extroverts. It will affect your productivity and motivation if you can’t balance it.

Nowadays, people have many ways to communicate and connect online with their friends and colleagues. Staying connected will help you exchange information and updates, to ensure your work is on the right track. Working from home doesn’t mean you’re alone; let everyone know what you’re up to, share the tasks you’ve accomplished that day, and keep checking in with your boss and coworkers. Besides work, I also like to share stories with my team, like what I cook for today or even how many sweet potatoes my dogs have been secretly eating behind my back (looking at you, San!).


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