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Working from home the N26 way—6 tips to make the most out of your home office

Many of us are working from home right now. Read on for insights on how we’re handling this new situation at N26, and which tips we found useful.

5 min read

You’ve probably already seen plenty of blogs, articles and videos about how to make the most out of working remotely. Most of us at N26 are also working from home, and it hasn’t always been an easy transition: we miss the office, the free beverages, the cute office dogs, and of course, our colleagues.

But having to adapt to this new situation has taught us a few new things, which we want to share with you—maybe you’ll want to try them out for yourself. Here are our 6 tips to make working from home that little bit easier!

1. The stop-working-alarm

You need a solid daily routine. This might seem obvious, but if you don’t actually see your colleagues leaving the office, you might forget about the time and work late into the evening. That’s why we suggest setting four alarms: two in the morning and two in the evening, each with half an hour in between.

When your first alarm goes off in the morning, you’ll have plenty of time to get ready, make your coffee, and maybe even do a quick yoga or meditation session (we’re big fans of Headspace!) Also, make sure to get dressed as if you were going to work. This will help your brain to differentiate between work time and free time. We know that you’d rather stay in your pyjamas all day—we feel the same way! But luckily, we have daily video calls which prevent us from doing that.

Use the buffer time in between the two evening alarms to wrap up what you’re working on and send out some final emails. You might want to make To-Do notes for the next day. When the second alarm goes off (we lovingly call it the “stop-working-alarm”) it’s time to shut off your computer and all work-related apps on your phone. Try to be strict with yourself! This will help you build a healthy work-life balance.

2. Get Stuff Done times

Yes, GSDD (Get Stuff Done Days) are a real thing at N26. No meetings can be scheduled during these time slots, so everyone has adequate time to properly focus and work on their tasks. You can use the same principle for your home office, by setting GSD slots according to your preferences.

Figure out exactly when in the day you are most productive. Are you an early bird or an evening person? Are you most productive right after your first coffee, or do you feel more motivated later in the day? After figuring out your most productive time, set Get-Stuff-Done-Slots. Make sure to actually note them down in your online calendar or your planner, and again, be strict with yourself.

It’s equally important to reward yourself after each GSD-Slot. This could be 15 minutes of sunbathing on the balcony, or indulging in some sweet treats! Either way, regularly rewarding yourself is key to keeping yourself motivated and healthy.

3. Social life and virtual wine dates

Setting up clear boundaries is essential, particularly if you are sharing living space with someone who is also working remotely. It can be impossible to focus if you’re facing constant interruptions from those sharing your home. Examples of clear boundary-setting might include:

  • Informing your flatmates about your GSD-Slots. Ask them not to interrupt during these times, unless there’s an emergency.
  • Scheduling shared lunch hours so that minimal disruptions are made while one of you is trying to work.
  • Schedule virtual coffee dates! With Google Hangouts, Zoom, or the Headspace App, it’s easier to stay connected with friends and family.

But we also believe that staying socially connected is important. At N26, we have regular virtual coffee dates, and sometimes we even get together virtually for after-work drinks! Of course, it’s not the same thing as meeting in person, but especially during these times, it’s important to foster that connection with our coworkers.

4. Share pictures of your home office

We’re probably not the first to remind you of the importance of a clean, tidy working space if you’re spending a considerable amount of your time there. But really, a few plants and a clean workspace can go a long way! At N26, we love to share pictures of our home office—not only is it fun to get a peek at our coworkers’ setups, it also motivates us to keep our own space organized and tidy.

So, snap some pics and share them online. Look at how others have set their spaces up and get inspired! Stop by @peopleofn26 on Instagram to see how we’re doing it. Here are a few examples:

5. Limit your social media use and news consumption

Without your colleagues to look over your shoulder, it can be very tempting to stay glued to social media and news apps, especially during this period. However, whether it’s open on the background of your desktop, or if you have your phone next to you 24/7, both our passive and active use of social media can have negative effects on our productivity.

Of course it’s difficult to completely stay away from social media and news apps. That’s why we suggest setting a schedule. Your lunch break and those two 15 minute breaks you’re allowing yourself everyday? These are timeframes for you to get the latest from your friends, family and from the world at large (and post some pictures of your home office space!).

But be strict with yourself! Social media is designed to be addictive. When the end of your scheduled break comes, put your phone down—even consider putting it in airplane mode!—and close all the social media tabs on your browser before starting again.

6. Create a post-work routine

Your stop-working-alarm went off? Time to shut off your computer. It’s a great idea to plan your free time ahead, as it will clearly define the transition from business mode into your free time, encouraging you to genuinely switch off and relax. Here are some of our post-work activity suggestions:

  • A Youtube home workout, such as a yoga or bodyweight training class
  • A guided meditation session, through the likes of Headspace
  • Cooking yourself a healthy dinner
  • Taking time to snuggle up with a good book
  • Skyping your loved ones

These tips have helped us to transition into working productively from home. Let us know what you think!

Your money at N26

However you work and whatever your lifestyle, N26 makes managing your finances easy. Access your bank account directly from your smartphone, without having to leave the house. No matter where you’re at, we’ve got your finances covered.

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