How to Work from Home: Six Strategies for Creating a Productive Home Office

When Drexel University made the call to close campus facilities to the public and conduct classes online in accordance with statewide preventative measures, the students, professional staff and faculty who make up the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) quickly adapted to working and studying remotely. We asked members of the CCI community how to be productive while working from home, and they delivered their best advice. Check out these top tips, tricks and secrets for how to make working from home work for you.

1. Keep necessities within reach

Culinary professionals aren’t the only ones whose workflows can be improved by practicing mise en place. Computer science student Vivek Khimani explains the importance of having necessary supplies within reach. “I am more productive when I have everything I need around me, including water bottle, sanitizer, lotion, and snacks on my desk. Also, writing down my goals for the entire week helps keep me on track.”

A workspace with two laptops and supplies in reach.

2. No standing desk? No problem

“Try using an ironing board as a makeshift standing desk,” says computing & security technology student MJ Tranchitella. 

MJ Tranchitella recommends using an ironing board as a DIY standing desk.

3. Set the right mood  

“Plants and candles help me feel relaxed,” explains Academic Advisor Will Ahern, who also recommends that you continue to dress the part even when working away from the office. “Sweats are great when I wake up, but it helps get my mind right to change into something nicer." 

CCI Academic Advisor Will Ahern recommends setting the mood with plants and candles.

4. More monitors, more productivity  

Multiple students recommended utilizing more than one monitor as a tool for increasing productivity. “I highly recommend having a minimum of two monitors (or at least an ultra wide monitor) if possible," recommends computing & security technology student Luke Sanabor.

Luke Sanabor's desk has more than one monitor for increased productivity.

“I connected my laptop to an old monitor using an HDMI cable for more screen real estate,” explains software engineering student Neil Kanakia. 

HDMI cable connects a laptop to a larger monitor

Adeeb Abbas shared his work-from-home setup featuring monitors oriented in multiple directions – an arrangement that helps him stay organized while working for Drexel’s Wireless Systems Laboratory. 

A student's work from home setup includes 4 different monitors. Two monitors are portrait and two are landscape oriented.

5. Don’t underestimate the importance of pen and paper

While most of the work takes place on a computer, CCI students recommend keeping it low-tech when it comes to note taking. “Even though it seems a little dated, I always keep a note pad and pen on my desk to jot down quick thoughts or tasks for the day,” says Luke Sanabor.

6. Work from wherever

“The best thing about learning: it’s not conditioned upon location,” says computing & security technology student Mark Amon who shared a photo of his work space from inside a car – talk about flexibility! “Developing time management is an elevated necessity when learning away from school,” he explained.

CCI student Mark Amon works from his car with a laptop sitting on the console.

“Moving around the house helps!” says doctoral student Maria Valencia-Devin, who shared a photo collage of her versatile workspace shifting from her home office to her kitchen, her TV room, and next to her coworker, six-year-old son Simon.

A photo of four work spaces spread throughout the house

Be sure to follow CCI on Instagram (@drexel_cci) as we will continue to share advice for making the most of remote learning this term. 

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