Snow Day: Staying Productive While Working From Home

Having a snow day? Did you glance out your window this morning and feel that trekking into the office was out of the question? If your boss gave you the “okay” to work from home, let’s talk about how to make the most out of being productive on a day you’d rather relax.

Photo credit: Flickr

The trouble with working from home is that you’re home.

In an office, you have your desk as a “home base” for productivity. Your work computer probably doesn’t have many personal distractions on it, and you typically carry out a daily ritual at work that helps you get though your day (1pm lunch, 3:30 pm coffee break, etc). When you’re home, your schedule and environment are out of whack. Your desk may be cluttered with stacks of cable bills and rent checks, misplaced items, and your brand new Xbox that you got for Christmas is just staring you in the face, begging to be played. Avoid the distractions by getting yourself organized before you even begin to work. Set aside an area in your home that is exclusively for work. And avoid sitting on your couch or bed to get anything done. Otherwise you’ll unintentionally attend a 2:30 nap!

Be extra extroverted!

Coworkers and supervisors in your office may bring you ideas, give you assignments and take some work off your hands – when you’re working face-to-face. But when you’re nowhere to be seen, you may be out of sight and out of mind. That’s why amping up your communication is a must! Try to be as present in the office while working from home as you would be if you were physically at work. Offer to help others as much as you can remotely. Ask for help or advice, and try to communicate via phone call or video presence instead of email or texting. More direct ways of communication are more efficient, and disable your coworkers from taking their time to respond to you.

Don’t feel too guilty.

Sometimes, there is only so much you can do from home. Perhaps your computer doesn’t have the necessary software you need to finish a task. Or maybe you’re not able to open your snail mail and packages you’d typically receive at work. Ask a trustworthy coworker who is at work to help you out by organizing your desk a bit. Place any mail or packages in your cubicle, and even have them open anything that looks urgent. In meetings, ask them to take notes on your behalf, and have them email you any important information or updates you may be missing out on. Or better yet, be dialed in via phone or video. When your absence is hindering your productivity, think of ways you can work around obstacles to conquer the day and triumph 5:00pm!

Need help getting organized? Check out these awesome apps to add to your computer at work and at home!

  • Unroll Me – A great way to clean up your email inbox!
  • Momentum (for Google Chrome) – Personal dashboard features todo list, weather, and inspiration!
  • Stay Focusd (for Google Chrome) – Limit the time you spend on time-wasting websites.
  • Pocket – Save any items that you want to view at a later time.

We want to hear from you! What are your tips on stay productive in and out of the office?

About the Author

Nickie is the founder of claywithme and a stop motion animator, video producer, and writer. Learn more about her work at

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