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Insights

Hacks to Stay Productive, Motivated, and Connected When Working From Home

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
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As we shift to a teleworking mode because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hacks for working from home are top of mind. To successfully manage this change, keep teams engaged remotely, and minimize loss in productivity, we need to tackle knowledge, motivation, and tools. Here are some curated reads and videos that can help you make the transition during this challenging time.

What You Need to Know About Working Remotely

Communication, organization, and planning are key to staying productive when working from home. Many of us are looking for tips for making the transition with minimal disruption. Some hacks include:

  • If you're looking for ideas about how to keep your work life separate from your home life, this 2014 Harvard Business Review article offers five guidelines, like keeping a schedule and setting boundaries.
  • Feeling isolated? Having tech issues? Advice offered in a post from FlexJobs can help you overcome the biggest challenges of telecommuting.

How to Stay Motivated

The key to staying motivated when working from home includes setting up a dedicated workspace, taking regular short breaks, staying connected with colleagues, and dressing as if you are going to the office. Here are many more tips about how to stay motivated:

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  • Check out this three-minute read from Forbes for 11 tips about staying motivated, like how to stay connected to others.
  • The Time Doctor website offers nine tips for getting into your usual work groove when working from home.
  • No matter how satisfying the work, you'll still crave connection. In this Harvard Business Review article, a telecommuter with 15 years of experience offers some advice for staying motivated every day.
  • In this TED Talk, Jay Hayes shares his experiences about years of working remotely.

Tech Tools for Being Productive


When working from home, technology is imperative to staying connected, efficient, and productive. Here are a few suggestions to consider. (Keep in mind that you'll want to ensure these are approved by your employer to mitigate cybersecurity and related risks.)

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  • Take a look at the best tech when working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic from ABC News.
  • Check out these 27 tools to choose from when working remotely.
  • This video from the Washington Post shows employees actually teleworking and sharing their perspectives and learnings after working from home for a week.

In addition to these hacks and tips, we need to remember during this time of crisis (and always) to take care of ourselves so that we can support and be of assistance to others.

Take care, everyone. Be safe, and see you on the other side.

Editor's Note: The opinions shared here are the author's alone and do not represent those of the Defense Acquisition University or the U.S. Department of Defense.

About the Author

Marina Theodotou, EdD, is a learning faculty member at the Defense Acquisition University. She is a learning and development leader with global business experience across private, government, and nonprofit sectors. She helps organizations increase productivity, profitability, and performance by optimizing their talent through the design and development of relevant, game-changing, and measurable learning curricula. Marina is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

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