How To: Effectively Work From Home

Working from home is great! At least it sounds great, up until construction workers are using a jack-hammer to repair the street outside your house or your neighbor decides that now is a great time to learn how to play the electric guitar.

Remote work has quickly become a reality for many of us. Who wouldn’t love to go to work in their sweatpants, take a break to visit the fridge whenever you please, and make your own schedule?

Whether you are working remotely by choice or as a necessity, it definitely has its perks. But it also comes with its own set of tribulations, which is why it is so important to find what keeps you motivated!

While centrally based downtown Chicago, IL, BigScoots team members are scattered throughout the United States and the world in order to effectively maintain our 24/7 with 5 minute response time schedules. We are a team of remote workers, so who better to take advice from than those of us that do it on a regular basis? 😉

We have compiled a list of our top 10 tips to effectively work from home – each one directly from a member of the BigScoots team.

1. Create a Comfortable Work Space

This cannot be stressed enough! Creating an effective, yet comfortable work space built specifically for you and your work habits is extremely important.

Whether you are working from the kitchen table, from a reading chair in your living room, or from a desk, it is paramount that you find what works for you.

Our advice is to make your available working space as comfortable for you as possible. Whether that means alternating between sitting and standing, changing locations, swapping between devices – experiment and find what works best for you! Not only does this help to reduce back pain, it also helps to improve circulation and blood flow, while decreasing your chances of weight gain.

I’ve worked remotely for over a decade which has given me lots of time to experiment with all sorts of different ways of working. For me having a sit-stand desk and a multiple monitor setup was a game-changer for my home office, but I never shy away from an opportunity to work from a laptop on the patio, in a local cafe or a communal work space – as long as its comfortable!

– Scott, CEO & Co-Founder of BigScoots

2. Keep Your Work Space Organized

Keeping your work space organized goes hand-in-hand with tip #1, and we aren’t just referring to your physical work space. When it comes to productivity and mental clarity, having a well-organized digital work space is just as important as the physical space.

An unorganized work space means there are more distractions using up your energy and pulling your focus away from work. Whether you have a desk full of clutter, or an email inbox that is known to lose important files, organize your space.

An organized work space = a productive work space!

I find that keeping things organized is so important. I always aim to keep my desk clean and when everything has its place, I can stay focused on work. Even my water bottle and stress ball have a specific place I keep them – it makes life much easier.

– Prasul, Systems Administrator

3. Get That Vitamin D

Promoting healthy bones and teeth, regulating insulin levels, and supporting brain and immune health are just a few of the many benefits of Vitamin D.

No matter the season, the importance of getting enough Vitamin D never changes. Whether you have a large backyard, local park, or a small patio space attached to your apartment, get outside! If you have the option to work from a laptop, set up a temporary outdoor work space. If not, take a 15 minute break and soak in those rays! We promise, you’ll feel the mood-lifting benefits of the Vitamin D immediately.

Any chance I get, I always take advantage of working outside on a nice sunny day. Not only does it allow me to change up my view and work space, but I always feel more motivated to get things done!

– Justin, Lead Systems Engineer & Co-Founder of BigScoots

4. Avoid a Heavy Lunch

A healthy diet is an extremely important aspect of effectively working from home, but so is understanding the right time to eat the right foods.

Think about how you feel after consuming pizza and mac-n-cheese. Bloated and sleepy, right? Food comas are real!

Our advice? Stick to healthy and nutritious foods that keep you satiated and full – best to avoid eating that pizza until outside of work hours. Not only will you spend less time procrastinating in the kitchen, but you will notice you’ll be working with a clear head all day long.

I always avoid eating a heavy and unhealthy lunch. Not only does it make me sleepy, I find I lose my concentration so much quicker. I try to stick to fruits and veggies for a natural sugar rush to get me through the rest of the day!

– Hasel, Marketing & SEO

5. Get Your Blood Pumping

Often times, we will find ourselves sitting in the same position for a prolonged period of time, which is why incorporating exercise into your routine is an important part of being efficient.

Not only does exercise help keep our muscles fueled and our hearts healthy, but that extra release of endorphins will help to boost your mood and put you into a better frame of mind – all you need is 20-30 minutes of blood-pumping activities to feel the effects.

Every member of our team agreed on the importance of exercise in maintaining your concentration while working from home, so it must be important! 😉

I always schedule at least 15-20 minutes of my day to go for a walk or a jog. Not only does it feel great to get the exercise, but it gives me a break from my work space indoors. Getting my blood pumping is super helpful for me!

– Nathan, Support Specialist

6. Stick To a Schedule

It can be very tempting to spend an extra hour in bed, or to take an extra long lunch while working from home. We get it! Creating a schedule that is both realistic and attainable is the first step. What is difficult is step two: sticking to that schedule.

We find it helpful to schedule everything from when you eat your breakfast and take your breaks, to when you are working on that project that’s going to get you to your next promotion.

Our best advice? Visualize your schedule. Whether that means writing it out, or using an online scheduler – plan out each day or week ahead of time.

We are BIG fans of Google Calendar!

There is no way I would be able to be as efficient as I am without Google Calendar. Not only does it allow me to sooth my organizational side by colour coating each type of task and giving me the option to check things off as I go, but it holds me accountable by sending automatic reminders.

– Katie, Marketing & Communications

7. Hydrate!

Many of us tend to forget the importance of hydrating our bodies throughout the day. Not only does it quite literally fuel our bodies, but it makes us feel more awake and attentive.

It is recommended that on average, each individual consumes 8 glasses, or 2 gallons of water per day. If you are anything like us and you make regular visits to the fridge, chances are, you’re just thirsty!

Stick to your schedule when it comes to eating and instead, consume more water. We find installing a reminder app on your cell phone can be a great tool. Check out one of our favorites.

My top tip is to stay hydrated! This is something I tend to forget to do on a regular basis. I make use of a reminder app on my cell phone that I strictly follow to ensure I am drinking at least 2 gallons of water each day.

– Zack, Support Specialist

8. Take a Power Nap

If you are feeling sleepy during your work hours, a power nap can do wonders for your concentration. We know it can be tempting to take an extra long break on your couch, but when it comes to power naps, timing is everything!

A good power nap has many benefits, such as improving memory and productivity, while preventing stress and boosting your mood. The best part? You don’t need anything longer than 25 minutes. Any longer and you’ll wake up feeling groggy.

I always schedule a power nap into my day. Even if my body doesn’t feel like I need a nap, I know my mind does. Not only does it help to refresh my mind and give me an energy boost, but I use it as a break to get away from my work space for a few.

– Dean, Support Specialist

9. Stay on Top of Your Mental Health

Working from home or not, it is extremely important to stay in touch with your mental health. It is quite common for us remote-workers to neglect the time we spend on ourselves, and it can be easy to begin to feel lonely or isolated spending so much time on our own.

Instead of dwelling on that feeling of isolation, try focusing your time on expressing gratitude for the ability to work from home, to save on travel costs, to have the option to wear sweatpants every day – whatever it is that excites you about working from home.

While working from home, it is so important to maintain our mental health. If I am ever feeling stressed or isolated, I focus my time onto something entertaining, like singing karaoke or learning a new TikTok dance – something that makes me laugh!

– Shibin, Support Specialist

10. Make Use of Spare Time

Nowadays, “time” is something many of us say we don’t have enough of. But believe it or not, the amount of time that you have while working from home is in your hands.

If you stick to a schedule as tip #5 suggests, you will find you will be much more efficient during designated work hours, resulting in spare time to focus your energy on the interests you have outside of work.

Take the extra time to learn a new skill, take a class, or start that side hustle you’ve been thinking about. It is important to give your brain a break from all-things work, and focus on other things that make your heart happy.

While working from home, I always give myself the time to expand my culinary skills. Sometimes I do this during my lunch break, or I will wait until my off-hours if I am experimenting with something more complicated. Whatever it is, I always ensure I find the time to learn something new.

– Jay, Support Specialist

Written by Katie
Marketing and Client Success Manager