I had never considered working from home until the moment I found myself doing it. I was so used to being in a huge office building, where you have to go through security and take several elevators just to get lunch! But now that my apartment is my workplace, I’ve realized that this transition isn’t trivial at all. The advantages of working from home are numerous: my monthly dry cleaning expense is now nonexistent and I don’t need to endure a half-hour crammed between somebody’s armpits on the train each morning. On the other hand, far fewer people surround me than when in an office atmosphere, leading to isolation that even West Elm decor cannot conquer. Additionally, there’s only so much one can accomplish at their apartment!

For the past month, I have taken on the role of a Working-from-Home Productivity Detective to gather insight into how my friends work from home and test out different strategies for myself. And now I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you in this helpful guide! Read it, give it a try, and don’t forget to comment below or share any tips that you may have for others too.


1. Start your day outdoors.

After a long day of toiling away at the office, some people may opt for an evening workout in order destress. As a freshly-minted Stay-At-Home Worker, how to be productive while working from home is a question that frequently crosses my mind. For me, it’s often a morning run followed by coffee and if luck should have it – stretching on my rooftop with incredible views of San Francisco! Now that is one perk I cannot help but adore about living here.

2. Wear a pair of jeans.

Having been inspired by Jessica Knoll, the author of Luckiest Girl Alive, I now make it a habit to don jeans instead of loungewear when working from home. It almost magically made me more productive and gave structure to my work day – no need for overthinking what outfit would be most appropriate today. To finish off this look in style, I often borrow something from my boyfriend’s wardrobe (it may sound cheeky but that’s our little joke!). Trust me; you won’t regret trying out this work from home productivity trick!

3. Designate an official “start time”—and pad in a few minutes for housekeeping.

One of the greatest advantages of working from home is that no one can reprimand you for not sitting at your workstation until 9:15 or even 9:30 in the morning. However, this also has its drawbacks as it may significantly reduce productivity. Starting by nine o’clock should be my goal and I try to use my ‘commuting time’ to keep my workspace neat and organized. Working remotely has its perks, but it can also be a source of distraction. Lucy Maher Regan, a freelance writer based in NYC, knows this all too well: “When you work from home and your living space is cluttered with unmade beds or Zappos boxes that haven’t been shipped out yet—it’s difficult to stay focused on the task at hand! Keeping your workspace clean allows you to concentrate fully on what needs doing without any interruptions.”


1. Clear your desk.

From nine to five, your desk can quickly become cluttered with several items. Take a few moments during the day to straighten up and make way for important keepsakes such as Ranya Barrett from Glen Ridge, New Jersey who has decorated her space with a mint julep cup of colored pencils and an elegant mercury glass flower vase filled with pens. These creative touches add vibrancy and personality that will transform your workspace into something beautiful!

2. Utilize Gchat.

As I rose through the ranks in an office setting, Gchat seemed like a daunting task to conquer. With meetings already taking up my time, along with conversations and coffee breaks with coworkers – it made me appear as if I was not focused on doing actual work during my allotted hours. However since transitioning to working from home, where primarily all communication is done via video calls or emails; casual conversation has become something that I desire throughout the day more than ever before! No longer do I restrain myself from quickly messaging a buddy or smiling at an amusing BuzzFeed post; the result of which is no more guilty feelings by 5 p.m., like some kind of crazed primate!

3. Force yourself to take an afternoon walk.

Taking a cue from my friend Cathy Caludis, who works as a business analyst at home and knows how crucial it is to take breaks often, I decided to follow suit. She takes her pet (or not!) for an invigorating 30-minute stroll around 1 or 2 p.m., claiming that “it definitely assists in preserving [her] mental health by giving [her the opportunity] of breathing fresh air and working out those leg muscles.” Count me in!


1. Reap the benefits of a well-stocked fridge.

As the clock strikes four in the afternoon, I find myself wanting to devour all that’s within reach. My friend Barrett often reminds me: “You have a part to play here; make sure your refrigerator is filled with work from home tips—nourishing and energizing food items. Also, don’t forget coffee for when you need an extra push.” Thus on Sundays, grocery shopping turns into my race track where only healthy options are allowed (well yeah maybe chips once in a while).

2. Clock out.

Just as you should assign yourself a designated start time for the day, it is equally important to take some sort of action that symbolizes ending your workday – whether this involves shutting down your laptop or joining an after-work workout class. Jenny Buccos, who is the creator and director of Project Explorer living in NYC shares her own story: “When I first started working from home one of my biggest struggles was finding ways to disconnect at the end of each day. Thanks to setting regular business hours, I am now able to differentiate between when I’m at home versus when I’m on the clock.”

3. Go out and be social.

When I previously worked in an office, my priority was to race home and throw on some comfy pajamas for a night of watching Scandal with popcorn and red wine. Nowadays, being able to stay at home all day means I’m much less inclined towards staying at home after hours too! Instead, I act as the “planner” who scouts out awesome restaurants or concerts al fresco during weeknights for my guide to productivity. This arrangement is great since not only do I feel more energized while working from home but it also makes me feel like a better partner/friend by discovering fun places that everyone can visit together.

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