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If you’re looking for tips for working at home, it’s not surprising. For many workers, going into the office came to a sudden stop in the spring of 2020, creating a new era of working from home. Members of the Crucial team are among the 71% of Americans who have been working from home over the past two years, and have had to learn to adjust practices and expectations on both the “home” and “work” end of this new reality. Mostly, we’ve learned that it takes a lot of dedication and discipline to effectively work from home. Here are some tips for working remotely that the Crucial team has created to help us, and – hopefully – to help you too.

Tip 1: Create a Workstation

For some, working from home is as easy as sitting on the couch and logging onto your laptop. For most of us though, we tend to not focus to the best of our ability in those circumstances. One of the best tips for helping to stay focused is to leave the couch and recliner in the living room and create a designated office space/workstation. If you don’t have a home office then find a table, nook, or counter space to set up daily with your laptop and work related items.

Advanced Tip! Having items like notebooks, pens and pencils, and a printer brings the office feel even closer to home.

Tip 2: Use Technology to help keep your Schedule

One of the hardest things for many can be balancing their time while working from home. It’s easy to get distracted by kids, pets, even work-related things like Zoom or Skype meetings. Yes, you can work too much and end up overlooking things at home.

One benefit of working from home is the ability to use common chores as a way to balance your time so you don’t burn yourself out. A load of laundry or dishes is an easy reminder in the background to tell you, take a break. Likely the time it takes for these loads is between 60-90 minutes. A perfect amount of time to focus on a project or meeting with a reminder at the end to clear your head for a few minutes and knock out a home chore. And, as a perk you get clean laundry and dishes on top of taking a short break.

There are several software options like Toggle or Clockify that you can use for tracking your time. If you don’t want to add or purchase additional software to your computer set focus time on outlook. A key benefit there is that it’s free. When Outlook shows you focusing, your teammates are un-likely to schedule meetings or distract you on messenger or teams. Well, at least not as much!

When you are done for the day, be done. Keep a schedule, start at a certain time and end at a certain time. Close your computer and enjoy the fact you don’t have to commute and have more time with your friends of family.

Advanced Tip! Try to schedule at least 2-3 hours of focus time a day if you can. It allows you uninterrupted time to devote to specific projects or prepare for presentations or meetings.  

Tip 3: Have Ground Rules

Not everyone can understand that when you work from home, you are still working while at home. Oftentimes, kids, parents, and even friends see you “working” at home, and believe you are just free all the time and they forget you are working. For some, working from home is incredibly difficult and they have a hard time focusing on their work. Creating ground rules such as do not disturb between certain hours will help you stay sane and productive. If you still have issues with erroneous calls, then silence your phone and ignore the calls.

Folding at home is one ground rule many across the world are doing to help the fight with COVID. Its easy, download the software and when you are done for the day. It will allow your computer to work with hundreds of thousands of others to give researchers a model for how the tiny mechanisms in the virus function.

If you have children, working from home can be a blessing and a curse. You get more time with your kids. And if you have young ones, then you know that’s awesome and tiring at the same time. If you have a meeting or need a set amount of time for a project. Have them watch a movie and explain they cannot talk to you for the entire length of the movie. Or put on the sprinklers for a set time amount of time in warmer weather, have them beat the heat playing outside for however long you need.

Advanced Tip! If you have issues with calls or are easily distracted by your phone, put it in airplane mode. You can’t access the internet nor make or receive calls. It’s an easy process to eliminate the desire of staring at your phone. 

Tip 4: Have Enough Storage for your Work

Having enough storage is a never-ending battle when working on a computer. Ensuring you have the right hardware for your requirements is essential. Upgrading to a larger SSD or even adding an external SSD can increase your storage space. In the case of external SSDs such as the Crucial X8, they give you flexibility to carry your work with you even if you don’t take your computer with you.

Advanced tip! Have multiple external SSDs for different uses. Having a specific external SSD for work may prevent you from an embarrassing mix up where coworkers see your prized gaming library instead of an important presentation. 

Tip 5: Stay Connected

Staying connected is huge when working from home. If you haven’t lost connectivity when working from home, I assure you at some point you likely will. Even with the best precautions. Not everyone has a huge internet plan. So, if you are on a smaller plan, optimize your network to keep up with your work demands.

If you have a large home or have issues with your wireless network, look at network extenders or even a mesh Wi-Fi network. While they don’t fix issues relating to congested use, they can help with signal issues.

If you live in an area where power outages can be an issue, consider adding a uninterrupted power supply (UPS). If you loose power, a UPS can give you an hour or more to save and continue work on computers even after a loss of power at your home.

Advanced Tip! Mute Your mic unless actively talking, position your webcam smartly, and shut off notifications during video and audio calls. It may save you some embarrassment!

Tip 6: Stay Secure

Working from home brings an increase of security risks. Having the proper firewall, antivirus, and internet security software will help prevent phishing attacks and viruses. If your work uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN), keep your log-in credentials secure. VPNs can still be accessed and exposed by hackers.     

Keeping your work computer separate from personal use is important. While it may seem like no big deal to allow family members (or even yourself) to surf the web on your work laptop, it potentially allows third parties the ability to access your company’s sensitive files. It’s important keep your work computer separate from personal use.

Advanced tip! If you practice folding at home, you are doing two things at once. Helping research and preventing the use of your work computer for personal reasons. 

Tip 7: Restart and Back up Often

Updates are both a headache, and a blessing. It’s no secret that slow, lagging, and freezing issues can result from needing an update. Solve the issue before it happens by restarting and updating your computer often.    

Advanced Tip! Troubleshooting can be time intensive. Often, it’s faster and easier to simply restart a computer to see if the problem resolves itself. 

Tip 8: Collaboration Tools

Not all companies use collaboration tools and some use very complex collaboration tools. In the end, these tools give employees the ability to work on projects more efficiently and with better oversight than without any tools. There are a multitude of tools available, some cost significant amounts while others are free.

Advanced Tip! Match your collaboration tool to your project management style. Some tools pair better to Kanban, Agile, etc.

Tip 9: Upgrade

There really has never been a better time to upgrade a computer than today. The cost of upgrading is almost always below the cost of replacement, and you get better performance. Upgrading memory and storage often results in reduced load times and faster boot ups. Time saved is time gained!

Advanced Tip! Let Crucial help you find a 100% guaranteed compatible upgrade.