Working from home? Here's 6 tips (that really work)

No dress code, no commute, blast any music you want and make your own schedule: what could be better? Sure, working from home has its perks. But keeping productivity levels up can be challenging — especially if you're the type that gains energy from being around others. Even when you start the day with a list of ambitious goals, by evening you may be thinking, "What did I actually do?". With these 6 tips, boost your productivity, stay focused, and most importantly, enjoy working at home.

1. Have an effective schedule

Sometimes a simple to-do list is enough, but a clear schedule works even better. Set deadlines for yourself and make an efficient timetable. Be sure to include breaks in your planning. For example, schedule a short break every two hours, and have lunch at a set time. 

Another option? Try the Pomodoro method: 25-minute work sessions with a five-minute break in between. 

2. Pretend you're going to the office 

Structure is very important for successful working from home. An effective way to do this: pretend you're still going into the office. Get up at the same time every day. Avoid working too long, and keep your normal working hours. Don't take a shower in the middle of the day, and leave the sweatpants in the closet. Your brain links certain outfits to emotions and behavior, so it's a better idea to put on jeans, for example. 

3. Create a comfortable workplace 

Sitting on the couch with your laptop may be tempting, but it's not good for your back -- and it doesn't make you productive either! Keep it professional and sit in a place where you can concentrate well. Make sure the kitchen table is empty or that you're working at a tidy desk. This really contributes to your productivity. Which brings us to the next tip: 

4. Don't get distracted while working from home

An important reason to work at home is to be able to do your work undisturbed. If you have your phone within reach and continuously check your social media feeds, you will (obviously) not get much work done. Put your phone away, log out of Facebook, and above all, leave the television off.

Need background noise? Instead of your own playlist, just turn on the radio or find a standard playlist. In Spotify or Deezer you can find “concentration” music. This will prevent you from editing your personal playlist and paying too much attention to adding or removing songs. 

5. Prioritize remote collaboration with co-workers

Continue to work effectively with colleagues, even when they're at a distance. Fortunately, this is now easy with all the digital tools at our fingertips. Take advantage of this! Want to share documents? Google Drive is the ideal (and free) solution. Throwing business questions into the group or coordinating work is also possible with a business chat software. A free and user-friendly option is Slack, but companies with Windows software are better off going for Skype for business or Microsoft Teams. These two chat softwares will be merged in the future. Teams is part of Office 365. With this you can not only chat, but also collaborate, schedule calls, and exchange files (and apps)!

6. Get a breath of fresh air

Go outside! Start your day well by taking a walk or bike ride. You can also walk around the block after your well-earned lunch. Not only is it relaxing to get out of the house -- it's also proven that physical movement during the day helps increase productivity and improve brain functioning.