Working from home: tips for a productive and relaxed working day

No commuting times, a better work-life balance and less stress: for many of us, working from home has a number of advantages. While remote working was only possible to a limited extent in the past, it is now an integral part of most people's working weeks - at least since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. But as attractive as working from home may be, it requires a fair amount of self-discipline and organization. Here are some useful tips for working from home!

Frau arbeitet entspannt und motiviert im Homeoffice.

Working from home: a new trend?

Working from home is particularly suitable for activities that can be carried out on a PC or laptop and are therefore not tied to a specific location. Since the global spread of the coronavirus, many companies have sent their employees to work from home in order to contain the spread of infection. Of course, working from home was already an issue before the pandemic.

However, as the bar chart below shows, the proportion of employees in Germany who regularly work from home has increased since then.

Arbeiten im Homeoffice: Entwicklung in Deutschland

Before the coronavirus crisis, only a very small proportion of all employees in Germany worked from home (4%). With the first lockdown in April 2020, however, this proportion rose significantly to 27%. Over the course of 2020, the number of employees working from home in Germany fell again before rising again in January 2021.

This naturally raises the question #thenewnormal or #backtobusiness - will working from home continue in the modern working world or will employees return to their office jobs as they did before the pandemic? One thing is clear: working from home is still very popular today. This means that remote working is no longer a new trend, but an integral part of everyday working life for many employees in Germany.

Working from home: 8 useful tips

If you regularly work from home, you probably already know that working from home requires an extra dose of self-discipline. The temptation to get distracted by other things, delay starting work or work endless overtime is great. To make working from home a complete success for you - despite the many new challenges - we have 8 valuable tips for you here!

Tipps fürs Arbeiten im Homeoffice.

1. define space for working from home

Before you can start working from home, you first need to create the right conditions. After all, the working atmosphere has a significant impact on productivity, concentration and motivation. An ergonomic and healthy workplace that is also flooded with light, quiet, tidy and comfortable is essential when working from home.

If possible, makesure you set up your home office in a place where there is at least one window. This way, you not only benefit from natural daylight, but can also ventilate regularly. After all, fresh air is an important prerequisite for the necessary concentration when working.

Of course, a separate room is ideal for this, but not absolutely necessary. However, it is important to choose a place for your home office that clearly signals that you are working here. If you don't have your own space, you can separate your working and living areas in various ways. For example, try

  • ...wall colors. Paint the walls in your chosen workspace a color that is different from the rest of your home. It doesn't have to be a color that attracts everyone's attention. If the walls in your living room are white, for example, subtle pastel shades are sufficient to visually separate the work and living areas.
  • ...shelves. Shelves have two advantages. On the one hand, they are beautiful room dividers that nevertheless make every room appear open and spacious. On the other hand, they offer plenty of storage space, which is very useful for working in the home office.
  • ...indoor plants. In addition to colors and pieces of furniture, appropriately sized houseplants can also be used as practical room dividers. At the same time, the greenery is a real enrichment because it really freshens up the room. Ivy or philodendrons, for example, are particularly good room dividers.

2. set up a home office workstation

Once you have decided on a suitable workspace within your own four walls, it's time to furnish it. Above all, the home office must be functional so that you can carry out the same activities from home that you normally do at your official workplace.

At the same time, you shouldn't neglect the comfort of your home office! After all, you should feel completely at ease so that your work performance is not impaired. The following furnishing elements play a key role in the home office.

Homeoffice Arbeitsplatz einrichten: Tipps mit grafischer Darstellung.

  • Technical equipment: You should never skimp on technical equipment in your home office. A PC or laptop, two monitors if necessary, an external keyboard, PC mouse and a fast, secure and stable internet connection are important basic requirements for working from home. A printer with a scan function may also be useful.
  • Ergonomic office furniture: For the sake of your health, you should also invest in ergonomic furniture. An electrically height-adjustable desk and a chair are highly recommended to prevent unpleasant tension and back pain.
  • Decoration: To create a real feel-good atmosphere in your home office, you should also decorate your workplace nicely. For example, try artistic pictures, stylish vases or framed, motivating words of wisdom. Design your home office to your heart's content - there are no limits to your creativity!
  • Lighting: A good lighting concept should also not be neglected in the home office. To increase your concentration, protect your eyes and counteract fatigue, you should make sure you have a mix of natural and artificial light. Windows that are as large as possible ensure that the home office is flooded with sufficient daylight. It's also worth getting a desk lamp that is positioned above your head height - this will illuminate your workspace perfectly without creating glare.

3. structured working from home

Working from home requires a lot of time management and discipline. You should always have a clear structure to your home office routine - otherwise you run the risk of your working day ending in chaos. It's best to always start work at the same time in the morning and always finish at the same time. Because you save yourself the travel time, you can also start work earlier than usual, as this also means that the official end of your working day starts earlier.

To-do lists are also recommended so that you don't lose track of your workload while working from home. Plan the next day the evening before so that you can get started straight away in the morning and don't waste valuable time. Also prioritize the individual tasks so that you complete the most urgent ones first before tackling the less urgent ones.

4. working from home and making video calls correctly

Working from home means you can't completely isolate yourself. There are always things that need to be discussed with your line manager or colleagues. Video calls or online meetings are much more useful than written communication, especially when it comes to complicated topics. In order to successfully hold a meeting within your own four walls, you should definitely prepare for it before you start. Take note of the following points:

Videoanrufe richtig durchführen: Tipps mit grafischer Darstellung.

  • Background: Before you start your video call, you should check your surroundings. After all, you must not forget that the person you are talking to can always see what is directly behind you. Therefore, choose a background that is as neutral as possible and does not distract from the conversation. For example, you should definitely remove a full laundry basket or a messy sofa from your field of vision. Many video conferencing tools now allow you to blur the background or insert various images. Also make sure that you are undisturbed during your video call - roommates, family members or pets should not walk past behind you.
  • Sound quality: Poor sound quality naturally has a negative effect on every video call - miscommunication is not uncommon in this case. Therefore, always make sure that your microphone is working properly. You should also always make video calls in as quiet an environment as possible - background noise has no place here!
  • Clothing: When working from home, it's naturally tempting to work in a comfy jogging suit or pyjamas all day long. However, it is particularly important to dress appropriately for video calls. After all, at least your top is clearly visible to the person you are talking to. So swap your pyjamas and cuddly sweater for a nice T-shirt, a plain shirt or a blouse.
  • Eye contact: As in face-to-face meetings, eye contact is important in online meetings. Position your camera directly in front of you and at the right height. Otherwise, your conversation partner will only see your side profile, for example, or you could give them a feeling of superiority or inferiority if the camera is positioned too high or too low.

5. work effectively from home without distractions

Concentrating while working from home is a major challenge - after all, distractions seem to be lurking everywhere, bringing work motivation to rock bottom. It is therefore very important that you banish everything from your home office that could affect your productivity in any way. We've collected a few dos and don 'ts for you here:

Don't Do
Your smartphone is right next to you at your desk. You have all notifications switched on. You only use your smartphone at certain, fixed times of the day. You have turned off your notifications.
You always take breaks from work to do time-consuming household tasks (e.g. cleaning the bathroom). You only do small, less time-consuming household tasks in your home office (e.g. you leave the washing machine and/or dishwasher running).
You read a few lines of that exciting novel you recently bought - while working. You allow yourself some conscious reading time during your lunch break or after work.
You spend hours on the phone with friends or spend most of the day with your family. You postpone longer phone calls until after work and only take a few minutes to spend with your family during working hours.
You use the internet during your working hours for private purposes (e.g. online shopping). You consciously take breaks for private Internet use or postpone them until after work.

6. maintain contacts

You should not neglect interaction with colleagues when working from home. After all, regular contact with others is an important prerequisite for emotional well-being. So if you regularly work from home, you should make sure that you don't let contact with your colleagues slide completely and only maintain it via email, but actively cultivate it.

How about a virtual coffee break, for example? You can chat with others via video conference while you enjoy a good cup of coffee. This way, you don't completely isolate yourself from the outside world while working from home and don't feel left alone. The best thing is that you can talk to more than one person at a time despite the distance - after all, there is the option of inviting several participants to the video call.

7. take breaks when working from home

If you want to stay productive throughout the working day, you need to take regular breaks. However, many people working from home tend to simply work through the day and finish work early. Many people don't realize this: A 30-minute break is required by law after 6 hours of work at the latest. So you don't need to have a guilty conscience if you take some time off while working from home.

It's best to set specific break times during which you consciously leave your workplace. When working from home, you should especially make sure that you take a lunch break instead of appeasing your hunger with unhealthy snacks and working through it. So plan a fixed lunch break and treat yourself to a healthy meal to recharge your batteries. The following ideas can also help you to make good use of your home office breaks:

Ideen zur Pausengestaltung im Homeoffice.

  • Listen to music: To really switch off, you can also listen to some music and let your mind wander. Whether it's relaxing melodies, rhythmic sounds or the latest charts: choose your favorite music to take a break from work.
  • Go for awalk: When you go for a walk, you can not only soak up the sun, but also recharge your batteries. The fresh air will clear your head and relieve stress so that you can return to work with renewed energy.
  • Read a book: Take some time to read during your break to calm down. At the same time, reading helps you to concentrate, which of course also has a positive effect on your productivity when working from home.
  • Short yoga sessions: Treat yourself to regular yoga sessions (e.g. during your lunch break). These holistic exercises or asanas bring your body and mind into harmony with each other. The asanas also help you to find peace. This allows you to reduce stress and increase your performance.

Also: give your spine, shoulders, neck, arms and legs a break by making sure you get enough movement at your desk and doing simple physical and stretching exercises at your desk in between.

8. call it a day

Of course, working from home has many advantages, but there are also some things that are easier for many of us in the regular workplace - including finishing work. While it's relatively easy to leave the daily grind behind after a day at the office, it's often different when working from home - the boundaries between work and leisure are blurred here. Nevertheless, you should make sure you finish work on time. After all, you need enough time to do something with your family and friends, for example.

It's best to stick to your fixed end time. However, if you find this difficult, you can also introduce certain rituals to ring in the end of the working day. For example, a relaxing bath, a long walk or an after-work date with family and friends can help you to take a break from everyday life and enjoy your free time to the full.

Frau nimmt eine Pause im Homeoffice.

Working from home needs to be learned!

Working from home is very popular these days. The increased flexibility, improved work-life balance and greater peace and quiet at home are just a few of the many reasons in favor of working from home. At the same time, this working model also brings with it completely new challenges. But don't worry: with our tips, working from home will be a success!