Technology’s ability to provide instant communication allows employees to work remotely, checking in via email and IM with bosses, colleagues, and clients. Many of our customers work from home, and so do others around the country, including a few of our team members.

Working remotely offers flexibility and the ability to decide what your workplace looks like (one person we chatted with has Samurai swords), but there are challenges, too. It’s hard to stay motivated without people around, and some have a tendency to become cave-people, hibernating in their home offices all day and night. In the winter, they don’t go outside!

We talked to a few people to get some tips on how to be both productive and happy when working from home.

Here's what they had to say:

Jonathan Garven is an Account Manager and Sales Representative at Gurobi Optimization. He considers himself a social person and thought working from home would make him crazy. It hasn’t though, and he credits his aggressive pursuit of social activities, his methodology, as well as his love for the job.

Well, I have a methodology to my job… I have a spreadsheet, and I list out [what I have to do] in day order, and I just go through them, and I do them, and I don’t stop until they’re done...but I like what I’m doing, so actually, I’m happy doing it. It’s not a chore. I want to call these people; I want to sell them Gurobi Software. You have to enjoy what you’re doing to work from home, otherwise you’ll go crazy.

Andy Fortson co-founded a company called Co-Ed Supply that ships care packages to college students. Both Andy and his co-founder, Marissa, work from home, in part to save money before their big launch. Andy counters being alone all day with deliberate efforts to get out of his apartment.

I have to be very conscious about getting out otherwise I never leave. Thankfully, I have a dog that needs a lot of exercise so we go on twice daily trips to the park. Because my girlfriend [and co-founder] is [in business school] at Wharton, I have the opportunity to join a bunch of clubs there. I play soccer and participate in some other activities. I also try to consistently meet new people for lunch.

Steve Swartzlander is our very own software architect. He recently celebrated 5 years at Grasshopper and has been working from his home in San Antonio for 2 years. He even manages from home, and told us he loves his really good head set, one that allows him to work 300 meters away from his desk.

I avoid doing any actual housework during the work day to keep it strictly about work, so I don’t wander out and do something else. Definitely having a separate space for a home office helps. I used to play more video games, so I knew if I put my game computer in my office I would not get a lot done, so I have that on a different floor. Also, any stuff you’d normally do before going to work, get that done [before you start], even breakfast.

Matt Kostanecki is a happy Grasshopper customer, and takes care of business development and marketing for Archon Systems Inc.  Matt’s company makes inventory software to help entrepreneurs and small businesses stay organized, save time on paperwork, and free up cash flow stuck in excess inventory. Archon allows employees to work from home, believing that flexibility is an asset.

You come to the realization that working from home is a privilege and requires a level of trust. You naturally wouldn’t do anything intentionally to jeopardize that. In fact, I think working in the office can sometimes be more distracting than working from home...I also find having dedicated office space at home with a daily routine helps me stay focused.

Working from home can be challenging, which is why we do our best to provide you with tips. Stay tuned for more posts where our friends weigh in! Check out our guest blog on How To Be Productive When You Work From Home.

Do you work from home? How do you stay productive? Share how you do it in the comments!