20 tips and techniques to stay productive while working from home

The onset of the pandemic has paved the way for remote work arrangements, which is both a challenge and a blessing.

Here are 20 tips to help you avoid procrastination and stay focused on meeting your daily deadlines and staying on top of your tasks.

Productivity and Work From Home Statistics

A female sitting on a sofa with her laptop on her lap and a cat, showcasing working from home.

Amidst the continuing onslaught of the Covid-19 worldwide, the global community endures and still works hand-in-hand to remain productive and stay true to their deliverables. In come the remote workers, who remained thriving despite the various challenges while working from home. 

Upwork.com, for instance, estimated that at least 26% of the American workforce is expected to work remotely through the rest of 2021. In fact, in an experiment conducted on Chinese workers by Standford University, those that work from home gained an increase of 13% in terms of productivity. Standford has observed a Chinese company with 16,000 workers, with the majority of those who work-from-home reported that their work satisfaction has improved. In addition, the company’s attrition rate has decreased by 50%. 

Before Covid-19

Before Covid-19 happened, it was unthinkable that workers will be able to be productive and deliver their commitments on time. Companies were worried that employees would be less productive when left on their own. Everyone knows that workers tend to procrastinate, be more distracted, or put in less work when they are in the comforts of their own homes. 

Though working remotely is not an alien concept in the workforce, evident in a 2017 study conducted in European countries—and published in Sage Journals—it stated that 23% of Danes, 21% of Dutch, and 18% of Swedes worked from home “at least several times a month.” In the United States, the figure is not far from their European counterparts, as a 2019 study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics claimed that 24% of employed participants did some or all of their works from their homes. It is notable, though, that those engaged in working from the home environment are managers and white-collar professionals, a privilege for those on top of the food chain. 

After Covid-19

Covid-19 is a game-changer. Before its arrival, work-from-home is an exception and more beneficial for those in the management position; its onset has changed everything. Though technology has indeed improved a lot and communication software has gotten better, the need to stop the pandemic and keep people safe has opened the eyes of companies and gave remote working a second chance. 

A two-year study conducted by Great Place to Work found that remote working is as productive as working in the office. Great Place to Work’s subjects is more than 800,000 employees belonging to the Fortune 500 companies in the United States. Most of the participants claimed that they had increased productivity levels after they started working from home. 

Further, a comparison in the same study of the March to August period of 2020, as opposed to the same months in 2019, showed an increased productivity of the same individuals while working from home, then when they were doing their jobs in the office, peaking at 87% on May 2020, as opposed to 74% on the same month in 2019. 

This was concurred by the data released by Prodoscore, a company engaged in employee visibility software, when they released exclusive data that productivity and general work trends increased by 47% in 2020, despite the imposed lockdown brought about by the pandemic.  

20 tips and techniques to stay productive while working from home

This brought about the question of how to maintain that high productivity level. Though with many benefits, working remotely also brings about a different set of challenges, such as how to stay focused, avoid distractions, and stay physically and mentally healthy. Below are some tips and techniques to help us do just that. 

1. Evaluate your work-life balance

A female sitting on a cloud relating to work-life balance. Striking a balance is vital in maintaining this.

Work-life balance is what everybody strives for, but only a few are successful. However, work indeed plays a significant role in our lives, for how are we pay the bills and buy what we need and want without it?

Striking for a healthy work-life balance is not easy, but you need to plan it out if you want to succeed in all of your life’s aspects. Setting up boundaries is one crucial way to maintain your sanity. For example, you need to evaluate and assess yourself on how you work without someone checking in on you if you’re done, or you will still be motivated without physical contact with your colleagues. 

You need to conduct self-assessment and remain stable as you push yourself to survive and thrive in remote work.

2. Establish your new routine

With remote working, waking up earlier to eat your breakfast and engage in your daily commute is gone. In addition, for most of us, working-from-home means that we would need less time to prepare because our offices are now located in the comfort of our homes. 

As such, establishing your new routine will be helpful to set your mind that you have jobs to do. This may include changing your clothes to what you usually wear in the office, and looking for a suitable place where you set up your home office, when you need to take your breaks, and when you will finish for the day. 

Establishing your new daily routine can comfort you and help you focus on getting your job done and rest when it is time to rest. 

3. Find a proper workspace (working space).

A male sitting on his office space working from home with his laptop and cat on the floor.

Finding the perfect working space in your home can be a challenge, especially for those who live in smaller houses. But keeping your work area and living spaces separate plays a big role in achieving higher productivity rates and stimulating your creativity. 

Setting up a workspace can help you focus on finishing your job on time, and good quality is the key. With the pandemic still as relentless as it is, you might need to invest in a table and a comfortable chair like the one that you used when you were still working in your office. 

Since it is your home, you can set up your workspace according to what you want and how you want it. You can emulate your office setup, or you can set it up in a corner with lots of sunlight and a relaxing view to keep that creative juices flowing. An office-like environment can help you put your mind in work mode and focus on the task at hand better. 

4. Change to work-ready attire

To keep your mind in the correct mindset and start your work for the day, changing your home clothes into office attire can help your mind focus on your work. Dressing for success while working at home can help you stay productive and help you feel better as your mind and body are one with the thought that you are currently in your work mode. 

Going to your workspace in your office attire can also help give your confidence for those impromptu video calls with your co-workers that can be given at a moment’s notice. Dressing appropriately is also a sign of respect to your co-workers, especially when you need to present yourself professionally. 

5. Use time management techniques.

Knowing how to manage your time effectively is important, especially now that remote working is gaining ground. Integrating time management techniques in your daily routine can help you monitor the number of hours you spend on a particular task and improve them if necessary. 

There are many time management apps and programs that can help you, but time management skills are something that we need to develop on our own, as everyone is different, and that is why we cannot have a one size fits all strategy. 

Still, some of the techniques that you can use to hone your time management skills include The Pareto Analysis, Pomodoro Technique, Eisenhower Matrix, Parkinson’s Law, Time Blocking Method, Getting Things Done Method, Rapid Planning Method, Pickle Jar Theory, and Eat that From Technique. 

6. Set daily and weekly goals

A weekly calendar (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) showcasing what a male does. From sending emails on Monday to sightseeing on Tuesday.

With the time you set for your daily commute free, you can stop and breathe for a few minutes to set your goals for the day and make sure to achieve them. Then, align these daily goals to your weekly goals to ensure that you will deliver your commitments on time. Setting your goals can also help you monitor yourself, whether you are achieving your targets or not. This will also allow you to make the necessary adjustments if needed. 

7. Prioritize tasks efficiently

Now that you are technically working on your own, you need to learn how to prioritize the most urgent tasks from others. For example, you can prepare a list of what you need to do and analyze the urgent ones to finish them first. This prioritizing can help you stay on top of your deadlines, even if you are given additional workloads in the future. 

8. Schedule face time with colleagues

One of the reasons that you enjoy going to your work is because of your colleagues. And truth to be told, work becomes easier if you are working with the people you like and motivating you. 

Thus, it will be helpful if you can meet with your colleagues at least once a week through a video conferencing platform to have a connection with the outside world still. You can also consult with them and ask for their help on certain tasks or plan for your deliverables and collaborate if needed.

9. Eat lunch at the same time.

A female having fast food during lunch, before getting back to work.

As mentioned earlier, getting into a routine is important to remain productive while working from home. As such, it is helpful to take your lunch break at the same time every day. This can help the body get into a healthy routine. What’s more, eating your lunch at the same time every day can give you more free time to include a more relaxing activity before getting back to work, feeling refreshed and energized.  

10. Contribute to virtual meetings (video conferencing)

Attending virtual meetings is not just being present in the virtual meeting room. You need to participate and suggest ideas. You can ask for the agenda and try to research beforehand so you will be prepared to bring in your suggestions. Be open-minded and accept the decision of the team, and do not take things personally. You should take down notes if needed so that you will have a reminder of what the team has talked about and the team’s agreement. 

11. Make time for breaks.

Taking breaks during your remote work is one of the nicest things you can do for your mental health. However, it is not enough to watch videos and scroll through your social media feed when taking a break. Instead, find time to go outside and enjoy nature when you have parked near your home. Or even just looking out the window if community restrictions hinder you from venturing outside your home. 

Taking breaks in between your tasks can help bring back your energy and help you feel recharge to finish your tasks and deliverables for the day. Additionally, taking a break can lessen the feeling of being burnt out.

12. Redefine your relationship with social media

A female scrolling through her social media account. Be careful with this! If not conscious, this can lead you to not accomplishing anything.

Redefining your relationship with social media is easier said than done. Today, most platforms offer content that, if you’re not conscious, can eat you up, and you’ll end up accomplishing nothing and just staring into the abyss that is your phone. 

To avoid falling into that rabbit hole, try to set your phone into do not disturb mode during your office hours so that you can concentrate on the tasks at hand and remain productive. This can help you stop being engulfed by the all-consuming social media content out there. 

13.  Be consumed by the news.

Keeping abreast of what is happening around you is important, especially with the pandemic still creating havoc in our daily lives. But don’t let news consume you that it is the only thing that is running through your mind, keeping you away from the things that matter, like finishing your job on schedule and finally have time for yourself. If the news affects you in crippling ways, switch it off and stay for a while. Being informed is different from being paranoid.  

14. Participate in online training

It is never too late to learn something new. And the pandemic proves just that, as many people now are looking for ways to improve themselves while still working on their jobs at home. Participating in online training courses, whether offered by your company or one you found on your own, is a great way to improve your skills and help you advance your career. 

Learning new skills will not only benefit your company but will most especially benefit you. These new skills can motivate you and aspire for more success, as well as keep you productive. 

15. Ask for regular feedback.

A male worker listening to feedback that his employee gave as this is essential in finding whether you have done your job effectively.

Asking for a regular feedback schedule is essential in finding out if you are effective in your jobs and where you need to improve. It is also helpful when you know what aspects of your job you are excelling, as this can make you feel motivated and keep you excited to work every day. 

16. Use productivity apps

Technology has come a long way, and it proved beneficial for the workforce, time and again. One of the effects of the pandemic is companies were forced to rely on remote working, and using the technology and downloading productivity apps have made work life easier for everyone. Exploring the available productivity apps can help you find the perfect platform, whether you need help to organize your tasks, set timers for your priorities, and track your overall performance. 

17. Declare Your WFH Availability

To avoid miscommunication and assumptions that you are just skipping work, it is necessary to inform your colleagues of your time availability, work capacity, current tasks, and how your colleagues can get in touch with you. This can also serve as a boundary for you so that your colleagues when to contact you for queries or when to let you be. 

18. Take time off of work.

2 females taking work leave for vacation on the beach.

To avoid burnout, you may opt to use your vacation time or paid leave. Taking a few days away from work to run errands, spend time with your friends and family or take time off to take care of yourself is your choice. However, working remotely or working from home does not mean that you do not need to take a few days off work. 

19. Find background noise that doesn’t distract you.

Background noise can make or break your concentration. Some people work better when they are listening to their favorite songs. So, finding the one that can help you work seamlessly is necessary to help you find and keep your groove and work to your heart’s content. It may be a TV show you’ve watched a lot of your favorite playlist that you will not find yourself stopping your work to sing along to. Finding that perfect background noise can help you amp up your productivity. 

20. Avoid Family, Friends & Pets

This is easier said than done, especially if you have young children, siblings, or pets in your home. But setting boundaries during your identified office hours will result in better performance and retain your high productivity. Setting ground rules and boundaries with the people you live with may be hard at first, but this can help you ensure that you can focus on your work. 

However, you need to ensure that you will be 100% present during the appointed family time so that your children or the people you live with will get used to it. 


With the Covid-19 still on the air and continuously mutating, working remotely or working from home is here to stay. However, working from home, although a viable option to keep being safe from the virus, is not without its challenges and hindrances. And it is up to you to look for a way to stay productive and stay ahead of the game and enjoy the new work-from-home setup that was not available for everyone before. 

If you find work from home tips helpful, go ahead and share them with your friends and colleagues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can you improve productivity when working from home?

Working from home is something that the pandemic has opened up to a lot of employees today. With the shift to virtual work, it will be helpful if you apply some of these tips to help you improve your productivity, such as: keeping a set schedule, working in an office or designated work area, limiting the distractions in your office area, and constantly coordinating with your colleagues. 

How do you develop productivity?

Developing productivity can take time, especially with most of the employees working from home today are new to the concept. However, these little steps can help you increase your productivity: 

·   Be open to changes – working from home have several different dynamics than working in the office. Working on small increments and gradually increasing them can help you avoid being burned out and finishing the jobs assigned to you. 

·   Be reliable and hold yourself accountable – weekly checking in with your colleagues or your superior and setting your deadline. Following them can motivate you to get the job done. 

·   Forgive yourself – everyone makes mistakes, and in this new environment and the unprecedented changes that the pandemic has brought about, slipping up and making mistakes is unavoidable. However, what is more, important is learning from them and doing the right thing to achieve your targets. 

How do you set yourself up for productivity?

Being productive means that you get things done. To be productive, you need to rise above challenges, such as procrastinating, getting through boring works, responding to emails and messages while working, and staying focused on the job at hand. 

But if you want to be productive and accomplish a lot, you need to learn to focus on the most important task and break it down into smaller pieces to finish them faster. It can also help if you take little breaks to get recharged and learn from your successes, as well as from your mistakes. 

What are productivity skills?

Acquiring productivity skills allows you to live a less stressful life. It makes you a more effective and efficient worker. And some of the productivity skills you need to goof communication skills possess are problem-solving skills, time management skills, discovering your strengths and capitalizing on them, team working skills, and master stress management techniques.

Why is productivity important?

Productivity is important because it plays an important part in economics by impacting the standard of living. It also affects the wages of workers, as higher productivity means higher wages for employees. 

Productivity is also important in any workplace; most productive companies have happier and healthier employees and having a higher productivity rate can be one of the bases of a successful organization.

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