Working Loudly in a Quiet Space: Tips for Working from Home

By Jen Burns

Jen Burns is a Senior Marketing Manager at Quip. This post originally appeared on her personal blog.

For the last decade, I’ve worked from home, ranging from a couple days a week to a couple of months a year.

If you’re working at home for the first time, you’ll discover all of the amazing things about working remotely (assuming you are free of young children or loud roommates). I wanted to share some of the benefits — and also some tips for what to do when you start to feel a little stir crazy.

6 Benefits of Working Remotely

Limited interruptions

If you can, create a space to only do work. You will be much more productive in that space. When you are remote, you benefit from not having the desk drop-by’s when you are in “deep work” mode. True introverts understand and appreciate this greatly. If you’re more extroverted, you may really miss chatting with your colleagues while working. To solve, you can set up more regular check-ins, maybe during a lunch hour, or even just give them a call to say hi.

Comfortable environment

At home you are able to adjust temperatures to your desired preference. The bright and sometimes flickering fluorescent lighting is likely non-existent, reducing chances of headaches for some. And, added bonus, you can have as many or few plants on your desk as you would like. (It’s even better if you give them funny names).

Goodbye headphones

Instead of wearing the largest headphones you can find to signal you are busy, you can rock a wild hairdo while listening to your beats as loudly as you like while you type away.

Party pants

This isn’t something I suggest doing, but many people prefer wearing more comfortable clothes when working from home. For me, I’ve decided that the best avenue is to wear the clothes I would wear in the office. It gets my head in the right place and I feel more of the structure I need to turn on work mode.

Conference room hunt is over

Not only will you not need to look for a conference room to take that call, you now have access to your own personal conference room! You can select the art on the walls and the call provider, and draw all over the shiny new whiteboard you just ordered in pink marker and even leave it overnight! The possibilities in your own conference room are endless.

Deep work mode

I’ve found I’m most productive when I zero in on a project for a chunk of time. I set a timer. I make sure I’m not hungry, thirsty, that I have used the restroom, etc. I pick lyricless background music (thank you LoFI beats), light a candle, turn off my email, and turn on focus mode — and I get going. At the end of it, I’ve made huge progress on one of my top deliverables and I’ve done so in a way that associates positive vibes with GYST (getting your s*&^ done).

4 tips for staying connected and well while working from home

Casual weekly lunch chat

Schedule time with your team for a lunch chat. I invited my entire sales team to a half-hour weekly meeting where we can discuss anything. I scheduled it during the lunch hour so it creates a casual vibe but still encourages the kinds of conversations you might have with a colleague over lunch. I leave Google Hangouts on the whole time and people can drop in and out as they are able.

Happy hour

Recently my team had a virtual video happy hour — each of us at home with our beverages of choice. We chatted about the news, saw people’s backyards, heard about their ongoing home improvement projects, and shared a few laughs. It may seem a bit silly, but during challenging times staying connected to people in your work and personal life is important for your mental health and well being.

Foster open communication and increase your engagement

If you’re on a video chat or an email thread, take a moment to ask people how they are. Talk to them about things outside of work. It’s important to remember that some people are new to remote work, and it can be an adjustment. It’s also a great way to build stronger relationships with your colleagues.

Take breaks

It’s so important to get out of your working space. We already spend such an incredible amount of time hunched over computer or phone screens. Take the opportunity to walk around your neighborhood. Set a steps goal on your phone and get moving. Eventually you can add more each week and work towards a larger goal. (Maybe you want to start walking 5 miles a day!) Walking reduces stress, boosts energy, and increases immune function (reducing sick days by 43 percent). Call a colleague instead of scheduling a conference call check-in, take a walk virtually together.

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