These seven tips will make you a pro at working from home

Photo: 123rf, Shutterstock. Illustration DUB

Now that almost everyone is forced to work and study from home, many of us could use some tips on working from home. This was precisely the reason for DUB to organise the competition last month for the book Working from Home Survival Guide in cooperation with author and coach Lieneke van Waalwijk van Doorn. To have a chance of winning a copy of the book, we asked participants to share their ultimate working-from-home-tips with us. Of course, we do not want to hold these tips from you. You can find the winning entries in tip 5. We have listed seven of them:

1. Keep your work life and private life separate

Keeping your work life and private life separate and working from home. It is often easier said than done. Especially with (young) children at home, it can sometimes seem impossible. But a few small adjustments can make all the difference, according to our readers.

"Keep the place where you work and where you relax separate. If this is in the same room, you can create this, for example, by only using the desk for work and the bed or sofa for relaxation. So no phone and social media at the desk either!"

"Keep fixed working hours and plan blocks in which you can do private things. This prevents work and private matters from getting mixed up. The temptation to open your laptop late at night is also less likely to occur.”

"Buy good headphones. That way, all background noise is kept to a minimum and others won't hear the children or other housemates during meetings."

2. Keep moving

We already knew that sufficient exercise is important. Even when we work at the office, it's good to get up regularly. But because everything is often within reach in the home office, you move a lot less in a day. And to make matters worse the gyms are closed as well... So read the tips below and take action.

"Run up and down the stairs a few times every two hours, do some squats and go for a walk. Keep moving: it's good for your body but above all for your mind!"

"Put on a disco hit once in a while and then go and dance to it!"

"Use the travel time you have left for activities to clear your head. Think of sports or another hobby."

"Work for 1.5 hours; take a short 15 minute walk and repeat this concept during an 8 hour day. You will see that this promotes production and, moreover, it keeps you fit. You can also make the walk more fun by taking a fitness rope and doing three exercises along the way."

3. Go outside

Since you no longer have to travel to work and you often don't even have to leave the house for lunch or an appointment, if you're not careful you might not get out of the house for a whole day. While fresh air is so important for body and soul. But don't worry: our readers know how to deal with this. Read the tips and use them to your advantage.

"Go outside for half an hour in the morning before you start work or study. This way you can switch your mind from relaxation mode to work mode and your home becomes your office. After finishing the working day, go outside for a while again to switch back."

"After your work day, take the bike and cycle 'home' (just a small lap around the neighbourhood, it still feels like coming home after a working day!)."

"Walk a call a day outside."

4. Plan ahead

It is sometimes said that planning is half the battle. By planning well, and sticking to it, you can complete tasks better and clear your head. But keep it realistic and plan time off as well.

“Find out when you are at your most productive and adjust your working day accordingly.”

"Make sure you have a good schedule and don't forget to include nutrition, exercise, and relaxation. This will give you a good balance and you'll be able to keep it all going longer."

"Make a To Do notebook where you write down in the evening what you want to do the next day and what you want to get done. You can also do this per week for the bigger projects. That way you keep an overview and control over your work."

"Use a work schedule and plan your activities by day, by week or by month; whatever you like. And stick to it."

5. Work hard, play hard

Work hard, play hard. It is clear that many of our readers also support this motto. And rightly so. Because you generally work better when you feel good. So in addition to a tidy desk, make sure you have some fun too.

"Keep your work or study space at home not only tidy and quiet, but also as cosy as possible. I do this by lighting (scented) candles, listening to (study) music and making sure I always have something tasty to eat and drink at hand. It makes you a lot more motivated!” This is one of the two winning tips

"Make the office cosy with bright colours, blossoming plants, and photos of fun memories."

"Make it comfortable for yourself, with good company (roommates, of course), good coffee, and the best 80s hits."

"Work with a friend or colleague through Teams where you set an alarm after 30 or 45 minutes to chat for 5 minutes or get a drink. When you get back to work, set another alarm."

"My home working tip is: start a vegetable garden - you can also do this on a balcony or in a box on the windowsill. Watch the seeds become little plants through your loving and attentive care, and eventually enjoy the harvest on your plate. This growing, blooming and harvesting, despite sitting at home in a boring way, goes on forever and makes you realise that, despite everything, there is (new green) life to which you can contribute." This is one of the two winning tips.

6. Take a break (on time)

At home, there is not always someone to offer you a cup of coffee or to remind you that you really need to have lunch. This makes it more likely that you will just keep on working without taking breaks. These tips will help you avoid sitting at your laptop for hours on end.

"Don't work for too long at a stretch. Because you are now working alone and have no distractions from your colleagues, you are more likely to keep working. That is not healthy. Interrupt your work every now and then and get moving or take a break."

"Take breaks just like you would at your normal workplace. With working from home, it's harder to stop."

"After every hour of work, take a five-minute break. For coffee, some food, a chat or the toilet."

"Eat and drink enough (and on time), treat yourself to a good lunch and take regular walks."

7. Dress yourself

As tempting as it might be to curl up on the sofa in your tracksuit, laptop in hand, don't do it. That's something our readers understand too.

"Do your hair in the morning. Even though you can disguise your bad hair day from home, you'll feel better if your hair is right."

"Pretend you're really going to work and adjust your clothes accordingly."

"Dress yourself as if you're going somewhere, so you don't spend the whole day in a track suit or pyjamas."


For those who could use some more tips on working from home: have a chance of winning a copy of the English version of the book: The Working from home Survival Guide