The complete guide to working from home optimally

Until now, working from home was exclusively for employed persons. The rest of the professionals claimed to envy that freelancers could work all day in pajamas… While those same ones replied that it is not gold all that shines.

Either way, things have changed. The corona virus crisis has put on the table a new working landscape in which telework is no longer just an option, but can become an obligation. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Spain, in the US or anywhere else in the world: if you suddenly find yourself with the duty to work at home, it’s best not to get caught by surprise.

Programs to work from home

Let’s start with the fundamentals: to develop your work perfectly, you’ll need a whole set of programs. Initially, those programs will be the same ones you would use in your office… But, look, because you’re probably going to have to add new apps that you might not have even thought about.

The basics

As we said above, the first thing is the basic ones: if you use certain software in the office, you will also use it in your home office. Therefore, the moment you prepare your computer for telework, you should make sure that those programs are correctly installed on it.

There are some of them that are common to most workers: a good mail manager, a word processor, a spreadsheet software… And, from there, it’s about adding up depending on the characteristics of your work in question.

If you are a community manager, for example, you already have some program to manage social media posts (such as the Buffer app). Bloggers won’t be able to live without the official WordPress app, although they shouldn’t lose sight of SEO-specific tools beyond basics like Google Analytics.

You Tubers have it more complicated, as they probably need a good video editor (with simple options like iMovie or Premiere Pro or more complex like Final Cut). Something similar to what happens with those who engage in podcasts, because they need software dedicated to sound editing (with great favorites of experts like Audacity or Garage Band).

If you’re a content editor, with the aforementioned text editor you’re already pulling, although you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to try newer options like editors based on the markdown language (such as Ulysses). If you’re part of the developer and developer community, you’ll need a specific text editor, such as Focused.

But, above the specificity of each profession, there is one thing that all programs should have in common: be prepared to work in the online space. If you carry a company’s numbers, you’ll need software. If you have an e-commerce, you will need to manage it in real time with a specific program.

We are in the 21st century: working from home means working in the cloud.

Communication

When you’re in the office, you can get up from your place and go to any partner’s place to ask whatever it is to avoid emailing. In fact, many companies have already incorporated an internal chat to optimize this type of fast communications… And, obviously, these kinds of conversations must continue to exist no matter how much workers are at home.

However, forget about Whatsapp,because you don’t want your work conversations to compete in your attention with your colleagues’ conversations. Slack and Skype are the two great classics in this regard. But it must be recognized that the new telework is imposing video conferencing, and that’s where other apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom are coming in strongly (although the latter, having a more relaxed and casual approach, may not be the best choice for a work environment).

Project management

The workflow is a relatively easy thing to set up and maintain in an office. But keeping it when working from home can be a little more complex… Luckily, there are a whole set of applications that serve not only to define these types of processes, but also to follow them step by step and even improve them.

Programs like Trello or Asana have become favorites when it comes to managing projects, as they include a lot of tools so that all team members can view tasks and work them in real time. And, in fact, some ERPs (such as Holded)also include comprehensive solutions for project management.

Time management

One positive thing about working from home is that everyone organizes time as they want. Something that, by the way, is proven to increase labor productivity. After all, if you can ride it however you want, the most normal thing is that you optimize your own time to enjoy your leisure at maximum power.

To do this, the calendar is your best friend. But also much more sophisticated options like task managers or well-known to-do lists that allow you to leave in view everything you have to do and cross out as you complete each of the points.

Do you want even more control over working time at home? Options like Toggle  introduce timers to know exactly how much time you spend on each of the tasks. You decide at what point of obsession with timings you stay.

Welfare

There is a slightly deducible Anglo-Saxon saying that reads «All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy«… And it’s true: working too hard doesn’t do your head any good, let alone when you spend all day locked in your house. For this reason, it is advisable to have some type of commodore timer to notify you of the obligatory Lusitania every 25 minutes (or every period that you set).

Remember also to take longer breaks and, above all, to free up part of the afternoon to do things other than work. In this regard, it is not important to do some kind of exercise (if you want to do it at home, apps like Nike Training Club or Seven bound) and even meditation (with foolproof options like Calm or Head-space).

Websites

We have been talking about a good handful of programs and applications that serve to work from home in the most optimal way possible. You should know, however, that many of these options do not make the program or the app necessary, but allow you to work directly from the relevant website.

Because, after all, there are many pages that help telework. From search engines like Google to virtual stores like Amazon,they will make your eyes easy because they bring you absolutely everything home. Your telework can also improve visibly with a good virtual assistant (depending on the area where you need it)… And, of course, being at home is also a good time to grow networking with social networks like LinkedIn or to look for new job offers on sites like Info-jobs.

Every master has his booklet. And each teleworker has their own list of favorite websites.

Basic equipment

It is often thought that, to work from home, a freelancer only needs a computer (laptop or not) and an internet connection. And that’s a good part. But just as true is that if you don’t add certain things to that basic equipment, working remotely can end up paying its toll on both your health and your productivity.

A good option is to get a spacious desk, a powerful lamp and an ergonomic chair, because your body will thank you at the end of the day. Also with a mouse, a keyboard and a screen that is minimally large so you don’t leave your eyes on the try.

Add here any other office supplies you need: boils, pencils, etc. And one last consideration: no one is bitter about the sweetness of having nice things on their table. Because working at home doesn’t mean you have to work in a dark, sad dungeon.

Tips for being productive

No matter what kind of work you do: when you do it from home, you won’t get a whole set of tips that apply in all cases. Here’s our favorites…

  • Separate your workplace from the rest of the house. Reserve a specific space in your home other than the one you usually make life in. It is strictly forbidden to work from the sofa and even from the bed. The idea is that there will be a mental breakdown between your working hours and your leisure hours, and that’s hard to get if you spend all day in the same space.
  • Invest in your work-space. Think about how you can improve your everyday experience by working from home… Can you buy yourself a pedestal to raise your laptop and improve the posture you work in? How about adding a plant that gives a little life to your desk? What if you get speakers that give you good sound and listen to music?
  • Don’t work in your pajamas. Seriously. That break between everyday life and the working life we’ve referred to before is a lot easier when, before you start working in the morning, you take a good shower and put on anything other than pajamas. Dress more or less casual, dress up with shingles or tracksuits… But the idea is that you get off your back the clothes you’ve slept with.
  • Create a daily calendar. Some of the apps we’ve already presented to you can help you set up a daily to-do list, assign specific schedules to them, and get to work without getting out of that mental script. It will help you focus on tasks knowing that, then you still have a lot of work to do.
  • Set your own work limits. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to reply to an email at 11pm or end a meeting saying“nothing happens, this is what I do on Sunday from the couch”. Distribute your time as if you were in the office and set the limits for both you and others.
  • Be human. It’s clear that teleco-masure involves communicating with other colleagues through apps and programs. And it is proven that this type of communication can lead to misunderstandings that, if you saw the face of the other person, would be completely avoided. So don’t hesitate to be heavy so that you’re understood, for example, or to use emoticons when the time permits.
  • Watch your free time. In other words, don’t work full-time. Dedicate yourself to read more, get all those video games that you have started, watch series, cook, take online courses… try the crafts! Anything to get your head away from those remaining emails.

Pros and cons of working from home

Remote work seems like a good idea but you’re afraid it has more disadvantages than advantages? Let’s look at both sides of the coin separately. Starting with the advantages of working from home

  • It helps to better reconcile work and family life.
  • Greater savings for both the worker (displacement) and the company (maintenance of an office).
  • Flexible schedules.
  • Increased concentration by distributing the work yourself.
  • Stress reduction by not having pressure factors such as the constant presence of a boss.
  • Increased productivity (derived from the above two points).
  • Improved feeding. Because, as at home, you don’t eat anywhere else.

And what about the disadvantages of tele-work? Let’s look at a list in this regard.

  • Loneliness. Humane treatment with partners is reduced and this can lead to a sense of isolation if not fought with certain measures.
  • Sedentary lifestyle. Going to work every day already involves a minimum of physical effort. If you don’t introduce sports routines, working from home can lead to an overly sedentary life.
  • Distractions. You have to be much more disciplined to fight the siren songs that we have in the next room, whether it’s your console or your TV.
  • Computer problems. The IT department will have more difficulties in solving your problems, obviously.