42% of workers in the United States work from home full-time, but how’s work from home?
Working from home is a different world of its own, and just like the corporate workplace, it has its pros and cons too.
However, working from home can be fun and productive depending on how you approach it. In this post, we’ve shared some great tips (including the tech-related ones) on how to have a more productive work from home career.
Bonus: We also included answers from real work-from-home moms on how they feel about working from home.
- Work flexibility
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Remote jobs are the most flexible. You can do them in and out of business hours, and can easily shift your schedule to fit in other life events like important ceremonies, doctor’s appointments, and other fun activities. Besides, you set your breaks at your convenience.
- Increased independence
If you are a pro at keeping yourself in check, you will greatly enjoy the benefit and autonomy gotten when working from home. These two options are usually difficult to get from a public workplace.
- Customized environment
You don’t have to stick to the regular office arrangement when working from home. With a great idea of work from home ergonomics, you can create a personal yet highly suitable home office.
- Little or no restrictions
In the corporate workplace, you must follow workplace ethics in terms of dressing and behavior. However, you are not restricted to any of those rules at home. Except if you’re making video calls with your employer or team, you can choose to work all day in your pajamas and still get your paycheck at the end of the day.
- Less expensive
Since you won’t be commuting, you’ll spend less on transportation, work clothes and snacks. Also, you won’t deal with traffic jams, annoying team members or the pain of walking in uncomfortable shoes in the office.
- More job opportunities
Remote positions open you up to numerous job opportunities which increase your pay at the end of the day. There is no rule that you have to stick to one client at a time and you can easily adjust your schedule to fit each.
People with disabilities who find it difficult to travel to several places can build their careers remotely. Thanks to technology, they can work with a wide range of clients independent of the location.
- Lesser work absences
Working from home reduces your need to take a day off. Except you will be unable to work for a few days, you only need to adjust your schedule to fit your plans instead of asking for a day off.
- Fewer distractions
A general workplace can be very distracting because of the noise from coworkers’ discussions, phones ringing, and equipment running. However, at home, you can have all the peace and quiet since you’ll be working alone in your dedicated space.
However, if you have kids, check out our survival guide on working from home with kids.
Most remote works don’t require physical meetings with your team or client. However, that doesn’t cut you off from communication. Telecommuting makes it easy to reach professionals in different locations and fields without leaving your home. Thanks to the Internet, you can make video calls and even learn from people you’ve never met in your life.
- More time with family
Everyone appreciates the extra time they get to spend with family. You can spend more time baking that cake and giving your kids those lovely decorations for their birthdays. Besides, you get to enjoy a better work-life balance by allocating enough time for your personal life.
- It requires more willpower
There will always be a cozy bed, a well-stocked fridge, and a Netflix series to watch. If your self-discipline is weak, you will frequently miss deadlines.
- Difficulty maintaining a routine
It is easy to want to maintain an office-like schedule by saying: “I’ll be out of bed by 5am and by 8am, I should be at my desk working”. That’s easy to say. However, sticking to that schedule is where the challenge comes in, as other things can come up that need your immediate attention.
- Increased isolation
At the office, there will always be friends to chat with or the sound of other people to make you feel less lonely. However, at home, you are restricted to yourself and your office. If this is not properly managed, you could quickly slide into depression.
- Higher tendency to overwork
There’s a chance that you work longer than you should when working from home. Of course, you have access to your equipment at midnight and you can rise to do the work, adding to your regular work hours during the day. This is one of the reasons many remote workers quickly burn out.
- Slow working time
There’s this high morale and motivation you get when working from an office which is usually absent when working from home. Also, you might have to wait a while for a response from a client online, when you would have just walked into their office to get what you need.
- Lesser productivity
Though there is a tendency to overwork when working from home, there is also a tendency you could take more frequent breaks than you need and procrastinate. That affects your productivity. Also, you can get lost in your newsfeed on social media while too much time slides by.
- Workplace disconnect
You may not receive immediate information about great business openings and processes until someone in the company tells you. That creates gaps in your work experience. Also, numerous deep-level relationships have been built with people we meet at the workplace. However, this can be lacking when we work from home because we do not even see the people we interact with one-on-one, and communicating via the Internet doesn’t give the same feeling.
- Home Distractions
There may be sounds of running equipment and other employees in the office, but at home, there is also the television, household chores, kids, and your significant other to distract you. It can be even harder when you have a baby. This can make it less possible to concentrate and dedicate stretch hours to work.
Find out helpful tips for working from home with baby.
- Costs of setting up a Home Office
In the office, the management sets up a workplace for you, but at home, you need to set up your workplace yourself. Though some companies send equipment like computers, you’ll be left to organize the kind of work desk and table you use. You will also have to carve out a good place in your home to create a comfortable home office.
If your work demands extra equipment like webcams, headsets (see our best headsets for working from home), or software, the cost may also be on you.
Here’s how to achieve the perfect work from home setup.
- Distorted work-life balance
The work-life balance we all crave when in the office may seem impossible to achieve when working from home. This is because it becomes more difficult to separate between your personal life and career, and there’s a tendency for one to overwhelm the other.
How’s work from home? Tips for working from home effectively
Working from home can be fun or a disaster, it all depends on how you handle it. Use these tips to have a more productive work from home experience.
- Set specific work hours
Specific work hours will help keep you regulated. It will help you decide when you get on the seat to start working in the morning and when it’s time to get off it.
Working from home offers you flexibility and you can adjust your work hours to what suits you. For instance, if your client is in another time zone and you two must work during the same hours, you should adjust your time to that.
You will need time tracking apps like Timely, Rescuetime, or Time Doctor to stick to your work schedule. You can use them to determine the most productive hours of your day and set your work schedule around them. If you are more productive in the mornings, schedule your meetings for afternoons and spend the mornings working.
- Create and stick to a realistic routine
It’s one thing to plan your workday, and another to have a routine that gets you ready for work at the set time.
If you prefer to run early in the morning, and clear off some items on your To-do list before starting work, schedule a good wake-up time that allows you to achieve those things before it’s your set work-hour.
- Schedule regular breaks and stick to them
You can adopt the corporate break time system for your work-from-home schedule. Full-time US employees have two 15 minutes breaks and an hour lunch break. If you’re working with a computer, you can schedule some micro-breaks that last between 10 and 20 seconds to take your eyes off the screen.
Besides setting the break time, ensure you exhaust every break before getting back to work. Though it can be tempting to work a little more into your breaks or shorten it to meet up with some work, completing your breaks will make you more productive and help you live healthier.
- Create a home office
A home office will help you separate your personal life and work life. Even when you do not have a spare room to create an office, dedicate a space in your room and set up your work equipment there.
For more productive work, you should have a desk or table, chair, and computer (see the best desktop computer for working from home) to use for only work. If possible, get two computers for work and personal use. Check out our best monitors for working from home.
- Use a separate phone number for work
Using a personal phone number for work gets everything mixed up. You can lose a tangible amount of time from just answering one call from your family member. Avoid that by getting a separate mobile phone or landline for your office work. So calls that come through it are strictly work-based.
- Leave the house
Though it is called work-from-home, you can actually do it in any other location. A good place to check out is cafes with free Wi-Fi. It will help solve the isolation problem and you’ll meet a lot of people.
Schedule the number of days you want to spend in a coffee shop or any other location working. Even when you do not work outside the house, take some time for a stroll. Sitting for too long is terrible for your health and staring at your wall or window all day will only numb your mind.
- Reduce your TV time
You will always be tempted to spend more time on TV when you start watching it. Slowly, this will eat into your work time and reduce your productivity. For a perfect work-from-home life, avoid your TV as much as possible.
Even when you’re not watching it, the background noise can hinder your work. Turn it off. If there is someone watching it, close the door to prevent the noise from seeping in.
This also applies to anything that distracts you including books, music, or video games. You don’t use these things during your work time in the office, so why use them when working from home?
- Prepare your snacks before work time
There will certainly be times and days when you don’t feel like working, and leaving your seat for a snack will only help you procrastinate.
To deprive yourself of excuses to get off your desk unnecessarily, keep your snacks handy. If you prefer baked or cooked snacks, get them ready before your work time and have them close by.
Tech tips for working from home
- Get better Wi-Fi
There’s a high chance for your Internet speed to reduce dramatically when you work from home. To solve this problem, get a high-quality router and minimize your Internet sharing. If possible, do not allow more than one video conferencing at the same time in your home.
If everyone must have video meetings during the day, try as much as possible to adjust your schedule so you do not use too much bandwidth.
- Be more intentional about your digital work tools
Everything will be set for you in the office, but when working from home, you must take responsibility for your digital work tools. Whether hardware or software, ensure that they are in good shape.
If your computer doesn’t have an inbuilt webcam, buy an external one to enable face-to-face interactions with your client and staff. Also, It makes sense to have double items like batteries, cards, routers, and others.
- Reduce the clutter
Reduce your stress level by decluttering your computer screen. Remove those icons for applications that you will never use and close the browser tabs that are not necessary. If you find it difficult to concentrate knowing you have movies on your computer system, remove them from your work computer.
How’s work from home? Answers from real-life work-from-home moms
From Theola Tinny
Theola is a mother and the CEO of VinPit, an Information Technology & Services Company. She shares her answer to “how’s work from home?”
“Well, personally, I believe, the flexibility to work whenever I want and from wherever I want is fantastic. I can take care of my family’s needs when they arise.
I’ve been working from home for a couple of years now, and I can’t imagine having to go to the office regularly. But, since I’m the CEO, I try to visit as much as I can.
But, my husband and I decided that I would stay home with our baby. The main reason for this decision was so that I could be home to help out when he needed me. A couple of weeks back, he was in the hospital for three days, and if I had been at work it would have been so hard to take off to be there. I’m also able to schedule doctor and dental appointments for my child, which makes us all more comfortable.
So, for me, working from home is a great thing.”
This is what Sharon says
Sharon is a work from home mom with Accessibility Partners. She shares her views on “how’s work from home?”
“I work for a tech company called Accessibility Partners, and it allows me to make my own hours and telework. Having that freedom while still being a responsible and hardworking employee has done wonders to reduce anxiety. It also allows for me to work out at lunch and make up the hours later, so I can get a workout in whenever I’m able to.
Running has been one of the best accommodations, now coupled with yoga, to empower me. It’s been more helpful than many of the medications I’ve been on, with way fewer side effects. Also, it amps me up for the afternoon, so it’s been great professionally.
I think that an ideal workplace is one that empowers the worker, giving workers the power to maximize their potential. Having flexibility with working hours and settings has been proven to improve the mental health of workers, leading to taking fewer sick days, and increase in retention. It’s worked for me!
I am such an advocate for telework, even before the pandemic. Having the liberty to choose your own hours and workplace set-up can be very beneficial, and reduces stressors. It allows for necessary therapy and doctor appointments for our staff with disabilities, especially if hours can be made up at home with telework. These cost very little for an employer, and make the difference between someone with a disability being hired or not.”
Maria has a different experience
Maria A. McDowell is a mother and the founder of EasySearchPeople. this is her experience:
“Working from home has been tasking for me as a mother of a 5-yeard old girl. Without a live-in nanny, it has been draining working from home and taking care of my child. I have to combine school runs, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, and getting my official work done.
Working from home and running the home is exhausting. It is quite unfortunate how little or no thoughts are shared on the difficulties of working from home, especially for mothers who have to raise the family while attending to official duties at the same time. Dealing with constant distractions and ensuring that the home runs smoothly while also trying to achieve daily deliverables is exhausting.
Working from home is tasking for moms who have little or no help managing the home.”
Samantha Brandon recounts her experiences
Samantha Brandon is the founder of samanthabrandon.com and she recounts her blessings of working from home.
“As a mother, working from home has been a huge game-changer. Here are some ways it improved my home life:
- Less Commuting, More Family Time
Previously working at a clinic 38 miles away, switching to a work-from-home position saved me close to two hours of time spent in the car. That meant I had an additional 10 hours a week or 40 hours a month with my children! That’s time you never get back.
- House Work During Breaks
When I worked away from home Monday through Friday, it meant my Saturdays or Sundays were spent doing laundry, cleaning, mopping, and everything else required to maintain a family home. Now, I get it done during my breaks, giving us our weekends completely free to devote to quality time.
- Home Cooked Meals
Now that I’m home, I can spend a lot more time making healthy meals for my family. Soups that require simmering or easy crockpot meals I didn’t feel comfortable leaving on when no one was at home are no longer a problem. And bonus, it has saved us money on not eating out!”
Tracy Acker’s comment is so insightful
Tracy Acker is the CEO & Recruiter of GetPaydayLoan. This is what she said:
“Working from home is a great idea and different groups of people see its benefits in different ways.
Firstly, it gives flexibility in working as long as the daily workload of the day is handled. How the day is planned totally depends on the person and this allows them to attend to other needs with ease unlike if they worked from the office.
Another benefit of working from home is that it gives people with family enough time to bond and have quality time unlike in the traditional working system where people were always on the move, stuck in the traffic, busy in the office, and other things that hindered them from having quality time as a family.
Lastly, working from home is cost-effective both for the employer and the employee. The employer gets relieved of the costs that are usually used to maintain workers in the office. On the other hand, the employee saves on costs such as that would have been spent on transport and restaurant foods.”
See Shannon’s side of the story
Shannon Carlton is a growth strategist and a travel blogger. She says:
“I have been working off and on from home for 20 years. I am currently a digital nomad. Once both of my girls left the nest, I took off on a cross-country road trip. I also coach solopreneurs who work from home almost exclusively.
What I have discovered is that it’s really hard to separate work and home life when you work from home. Over the years I found what works best for me and for my clients.
- Get up earlier than the rest of the house and take time for me. I gave myself 2 hours for me, before I jumped into work or kids. I took that time to have coffee, meditate, pray, journal, schedule my day, and exercise!
- Block the day and do the hardest/scariest things first.
- If I can’t concentrate I head to a coworking space or coffee shop so the distractions of home are not available.
- Close the office door at 6 pm. The office is closed! Connect with family or loved ones.
The thing that always helps me be most productive is I shower and put on real clothes for the day, including shoes. For whatever reason, putting shoes on is my cue for work and I keep them on until the end of the day.”
Alexis gives great coping tips
Alexis is a time management and productivity coach at Alexis Haselberger Coaching and Consulting. She is a mom of two boys. This is her experience:
“As an introvert, and someone who is prone to auditory distraction, working from home suits me very well. I am many times more productive at home than in an office setting as I have far more control over the environment.
Working from home with kids (or my partner) however, is a different story. When you have others at home with you, particularly those who need and want your attention, and don’t particularly care about your work productivity (i..e., kids), the quiet sanctuary of at-home work is more difficult to maintain.
To that end, I’ve found a couple of things incredibly helpful in terms of managing my own productivity (and sanity) while working from home with kids:
- Post a visual schedule
- Outside of wherever you are working, post a clear schedule of when you’re busy and shouldn’t be disrupted (except for true emergencies), and talk about the schedule every night before the next day.
- Pepper your day with short bursts of uninterrupted attention for your kids.
- If they get your undivided attention at regular intervals, they are less likely to be knocking at your door the rest of the time.
- Arm your kids for independence.
- Put healthy snacks at their height. Set out books, games, and crafts you know they’ll enjoy (and that don’t need your supervision).”
This is what Annalise Green had to say
Annalise Green is the Managing Director of The Accreditation Association and a mom of four. She said:
“As a mum who’s always worked from home, I personally think we have it the hardest of all.
Not only are we expected to look after the house, cook, clean up and look after children – their clubs, social lives, and homework… but we’re also expected to work full-time hours as well, and do a good job of it all!
Don’t get me wrong, it can be done, but it’s asking a lot of one person.
I find that scheduling is my best friend, it keeps me on track and ensures I get everything done without getting sidetracked by another pressing chore or demand.”
Corritta feels the mom-guilt
“My name is Corritta from It’s a Family Thing and working remotely has been great for our family’s nomadic lifestyle, but I still have mom-guilt. Some days it’s difficult because our 3-year-old doesn’t fully understand that I am not always available even though I am at the house.
There are times when I am in a meeting or need to focus on coding, and he is excited to tell me something, but I cannot engage. It’s difficult because I can see his disappointment, but I need to focus at that moment. Although working remotely allows me to spend a lot more time with him, it can be emotionally difficult for both of us. There are times when I hear him playing and laughing and in that moment I cannot be part of his happiness.”
Tara’s story will help you find balance
Tara Tisch-Wallace is a Community Engagement Manager at Choosing Therapy. This is her experience:
“Working from home has offered me insight on what can wait and what can’t. It’s amazing how switching to a home office forces you to reassess priorities. I struggled with boundaries: being able to separate work and enjoying home life.
One thing that has been taxing is the amount of screen time – I don’t think I have spent so much time in front of a digital screen in my life – especially in the first year in 2020 when we were all cooped up in our homes. I live in Brooklyn, NY so my experience has been very intense having been in the former epi-center.
At first, it was very difficult managing home and work tasks separately – they often blended together and the list often feels like it keeps getting longer and longer. However, working from home has helped me reinforce my friendships and work relationships. Working from home with my peers has bonded us in a way we couldn’t connect before, i.e taking a lunch break and going for a walk together or having a work-from-home-party.
Another challenge of working from home is that “feeling accomplished” feels very different than it did before. How I measure happiness and success is a world apart from how I measured and felt those two things before 2020. Working from home has helped me realize the new boundaries that need to be set in place in order to have a healthy work-from-home environment and how to manage toxic bosses and managers.”
How does working from home affect my taxes?
When you work from home, you won’t be able to claim a tax deduction from your own unreimbursed expenses or home office cost on the federal tax return. However, you can claim these expenses as itemized deductions.
How will my boss know if I’m actually working?
The only way your boss will know that you are working is by keeping track of your performance. If you slack on your work hours, you may miss deadlines or rush over the work and good managers can know when there is something fishy.
Can I do some work on related tasks during the day?
Of course, that’s the flexibility that working from home provides. However, you must ensure that you’re dedicating enough time to your work so you don’t use up your work hours.
What kind of job can I do from home?
You can do your regular office job if your employer allows or become a freelance writer, editor, bookkeeper, or any other work-from-home job you like. Check out flexible work from home jobs here.
If you’ve been asking how’s work from home? The answer is that work-from-home is great if you know how to manage your time properly.
So, remember to set up your home office, work with a convenient schedule, and allocate time for family and other activities.
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