Working From Home Tips

The how, the why, and the pros & cons

written byMatt Davies Co-Founder, Mossy Earth

Matt Davies

Working from home is a great way to further reduce your carbon footprint as well as eliminating that godawful commute. However, working remotely is not as easy as it sounds. Here is a list of working from home tips, the pros and cons and how to minimise distractions, stay productive and persuade your boss on the idea of telecommuting.

Lowering your carbon footprint

Eliminate your daily commute and lower your CO2 emissions.

The David Suzuki Foundation in Canada found that if a million people worked from home just one weekday a year, Canada could save some 250 million kg of CO2 emissions; 100 million litres of fuel; and 800 million fewer kilometres of mileage on our roads. And that’s just in Canada!

By working from home, you’re not only reducing your CO2 emissions associated with your journey to work, but you are more likely to avoid disposable plastics & packaging associated with convenience food and office life.

A 4 lane traffic jam in a congested city centre. You won't have to face that when working from home.
Lower your carbon impact and save your sanity by working from home.

The pros of working from home

The Pros

In addition to a lower carbon footprint, one can enjoy the following benefits:

+ Save time on commuting to and from the office

+ Save money on the commute and meals

+ Flexible schedule. You choose the hours you work, rest and play

+ Family time. See more of your family and arrange work around family commitments

+ Custom environment. You can wear, set the heating and listen/or not to what you want

A father walks with his two children through some farmland on a misty day. Having more time with your family is just one of the many advantages of working from home.
Having more time with your family is just one of the many advantages of working from home.

The cons to working remotely

The Cons

However, there are challenges to working from home too:

- It can be difficult separating home and work life …” just one more email”

- Domestic distractions and interruptions, whether it be daily chores, a pet or family member

- There can be a sense of isolation and loneliness associated with remote working

- “I must start this proposal, but Netflix just dropped season 3 of the Soprano’s”

- Sticking to a daily routine and lacking that work-based environment.

A screen shot of a phone with notifications on their Facebook and WhatsApp. Being easily distracted is one of the cons of working from home.
Being easily distracted is one of the key disadvantages of working from home.

The main advantage of working from home is that you get to find out what cats do all day

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Tips on how to minimise distractions

Staying on-task in a workspace that includes children, pets, instant access to social media, and an infinite number of distractions can be tough. Here are some working from home tips for focusing:

Don’t let friends stop by. Instead, use lunch as a time to meet with friends and if they do show up, politely tell them that you are working. Boundaries are only as effective as they are enforced.

Be clear about your working hours. Post your working hours on your door or desk. Also, indicate on your voicemail and email footer of your hours of operation.

Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Think of all the at-home noises that can disrupt your concentration. A ringing phone, a loud TV, kids playing, the doorbell, and even regular conversations can cause you to lose your train of thought.

Stay out of the kitchen. Staring into the fridge and aimlessly snacking wastes more time than you can imagine …we’ve all been there!

A lady checking the content of her fridge, a common occurrence when working from home.
Checking the content of your fridge, can be a common occurrence when working from home without a routine.

Increasing Productivity

Invest in creating a comfortable, motivating and efficient office space. To work productively you will need an office space that is conducive to working. E.g. a functioning printer, fast internet, a filing system, or awe-inspiring décor.

Create a Daily To-Do List. Setting priorities is important in the office, and infinitely more so when working from home. Without a boss looking over your shoulder, it’s up to you to put your to-do list in order.

Use Cloud-Based File Sharing. Working from home can mean constantly sharing files with the office. While it’s possible to email back and forth, attachments can get lost in the shuffle, especially if you’re regularly updating copies. We recommend Dropbox, Google Drive, or Trello.

Stay on Task. Close your email, turn off all phone notifications, and check your messages and social media only at designated times throughout the day. If you can’t resist checking your favourite websites when working, then try using LeechBlock, an extension that allows you to “ban” time-sucker sites between certain hours of the day.

Get dressed. Taking a shower and putting on clothes can make the home office more like a real office, and tells and reminds everyone, especially you, that you are ‘at work’.

Take advantage of your flexible working hours. Find your focus wavering? Take a break with a run, swim, meditation, or power nap.

A minimalist home office space. Creating the ideal working from home space will aid productivity.
Creating a clean and comfortable work space will aid productivity.

Tips on persuading your boss to work from home

Perhaps you like the idea of working remotely, but what do you do if the choice isn’t yours? Here are four steps to persuade your boss that working from home can work for you, too.

Ease into it. Begin by requesting to do so just one or two days per week from home.

Build your case. Your goal is not to convince your employer that you will be happier working from home. Instead, put your employer’s interests first. Demonstrate that you will be more productive and actually make your boss’ life easier by you working from home.

Be reliable and then some. Show that there is literally no risk involved in your boss allowing you to work from home. Be super-responsive via email and video calls. Perhaps most important, don’t just meet deadlines–beat them.

Keep a record. Log your productivity at home versus your time in the office. Record all those office distractions, time wasted commuting and more completed tasks at home.

Two women looking at a computer screen in a bright open spaced office. Social interaction and brainstorming is one of the cons of of working from home.
Safety Hand

Working From Home Tips

Set a daily routine. Set the alarm, shower and get dressed.
Create an environment that suits the way you work.
Choose a schedule that suits when you are most productive. Night owl Vs. Early bird.
Stay on Task. Close your email, turn off all phone notifications.
Create a Daily To-Do List.
Invest in noise-canceling headphones.
Stay out the kitchen.
Use the home office to work and the rest of the house to relax.
Use online egg timers to track tasks and to plan mini breaks.

Sources & further reading

Peer Reviewed Research Section
  1. Top 20 tools for digital nomads - TogglExternal link
  2. How to become location independent V2 - Trello.comExternal link
  3. The Four Hour Work Week - Tim FerrisExternal link

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