Be More Effective With These 5 Work From Home Best Practices

How to practice time management, shut out distractions, and more

Some people take to working from home like they were born in a video conference room. For the rest of us who have entered the world of remote work within the last few years, it takes a little more adjustment. What started with temporary measures in response to unavoidable world events has now become a fact of life for many workers. Considering that, it isn’t unusual if the approach you take now wasn’t constructed with work from home best practices in mind.

But if you’re wondering how to work from home effectively, there’s never been a better time to reevaluate your approach both physically and mentally. With a few adjustments to your daily work behaviors and the tools you use to carry them out, you may find yourself more comfortable and satisfied after a long day at the (home) office.

Creating a new work from home setup or looking for ways to improve your existing home office? Read our guide for practical tips and principles.

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5 work from home best practices

No single work from home wellness tip or recommended purchase can transform your workday. But making small changes, from the way you manage your schedule to the hardware you use to carry out your work, can add up to big changes. Here are five such work from home best practices to follow as you optimize your remote workday.

1. Build in time management

One of the toughest adjustments for new remote workers — and one of the easiest things to let slip even for seasoned pros — is time management. When you aren’t surrounded by other employees doing the same task, your focus may naturally wane. If something else (work related or not) catches your attention, you may jump over to that for a bit, intending to get back to what you were doing in a few minutes. Before you know it, it’s dinner time and you still have half a day’s worth of work to catch up on.

The first step is to create a formal-but-flexible structure for what you do and when. Here’s an example:

  • 9 am to 10 am: Catch up on emails and other correspondence.
  • 10 am to 11 am: Attend daily meetings and plan out work blocks.
  • 11 am to 1 pm: First uninterrupted work block.
  • 1 am to 2 pm: Lunch.
  • 2 pm to 4 pm: Second uninterrupted work block.
  • 4 pm to 5 pm: Catch up on emails and other correspondence.

By sticking to this structure (or something similar), you can dedicate enough time to each task to ideally enter a productivity-boosting flow state. You can further optimize your schedule with more granular time management methods such as the Pomodoro Technique, which builds in discrete work periods and focus-restoring breaks.

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2. Create a distraction-free space

If you tend to work at your kitchen table, it’s easy to get sidetracked any time a roommate or loved one pops in to get a drink or snack. The same goes for any other space in your home that isn’t set aside for getting your work done. Setting up your home office in a spare room is an ideal way to follow this work from home best practice, since you can shut the door both to block out noise and as a signal to others that you are currently attending to work.

As for how to work from home effectively by minimizing distractions when you don’t have an entire room to spare, you still have options. Try to position your home office in a quieter part of your home and set healthy boundaries with your family or roommates regarding when you shouldn’t be bothered. Granted, it isn’t fair to expect everybody else to tiptoe around all the time, either — that’s why a solid pair of active noise canceling headphones are one of the best home office accessories.

3. Embrace ergonomics

Do you tend to hunch over your laptop? Do you have to keep your head craned up or drooped down to see your screen? Do your elbows and wrists need to bend significantly to type on your keyboard? Each of these individual issues may not be of much concern on its own. But one of the most important work from home wellness tips is to prioritize ergonomics for any working arrangement you spend a few minutes or more at every day.

Better ergonomics start with your desk. For instance, whether it’s a stationary desk or a sit-stand hybrid, you should be able to type with your shoulders relaxed and elbows bent at a roughly 90-degree angle. If you work from a laptop, that may mean the screen is too low to comfortably view; a standalone monitor and keyboard make for a flexible (and satisfying-to-use) solution to this problem. Picking up a compact keyboard and a portable monitor will even let you take these ergonomics-friendly essentials with you for work trips or move from room to room.

Did You Know?:Our complete checklist of work from home equipment will help you ensure your home office is ready to get down to business.

4. Enforce work-life balance

When you work from home, you’re only seconds away from checking in on a project or replying to an email. That capability can feel like an obligation, even if it’s never framed as such by your employer. One of the most important (yet often overlooked) work from home best practices is to replace that physical distance with psychological distance when needed.

If you work from a dedicated home office space, shut the door when you’re done. Turn off that computer and don’t keep work email accounts on your personal devices. If you have to work from the same devices you use for recreation, consider using features such as Windows 10 and 11’s multiple desktops or Mac OS’s multiple spaces to impose software-level separation between work and life.

5. Digitize your home office

We know you have no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a work from home document digitization device. We pride ourselves on having spent the last 50+ years designing and developing some of the most beloved electronics in the world, including our line of award-winning, easy-to-use, one-touch ScanSnap scanners.

The ScanSnap iX1400 was engineered to provide a hassle-free scanning experience for home and small office use. Its one-touch scanning interface and 50-page automatic document feeder can digitize stacks of documents with minimal user effort, while ScanSnap Home takes the work out of managing and storing their digital counterparts. Click here to learn more and shop the full line of ScanSnap scanners.

Note: Information and external links are provided for your convenience and for educational purposes only. PFU America, Inc. makes no representations about the contents, features, or specifications on such third-party sites, software, and/or offerings (collectively “Third-Party Offerings”) and shall not be responsible for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of such Third-Party Offerings.