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9 ways to work from home for students

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Working from home can be great. But it's a lot harder than it looks. Here are the best ways to stay motivated and productive when working at home.

woman's hand at laptop with coffee and a book

Studying or working from home has become a lot more common in recent years.

The possibility of 'going to work/uni' by simply rolling out of bed to get to your laptop sounds dreamy. However, doing this can have its challenges.

If you're planning to work from home as a student, we've got some tips on how to do this as efficiently as possible.

9 best ways to work at home

Here are our top tips for students working from home:

  1. Set a routine for working from home

    red alarm clock

    Credit: samritk – Shutterstock

    It may be exciting that you don't have the mega-strict hours of a normal job. However, the danger of this is that a lack of routine can mess with your motivation and productivity.

    Assign yourself fixed hours for starting the day, taking breaks and ending your day. If you don't, you'll find yourself working over lunch breaks and having to stay behind on your laptop until 2am because you've procrastinated all day.

    If you can squeeze in a walk around the block or a jog outside before you start, this will help.

    Essentially, treat working at home like a job where you have to show up at an office.

    Don't work in your pyjamas. Although it might sound obvious, getting dressed every day will help boost your motivation and prevent you from lounging around in front of the TV all day.

  2. Find ways to stay motivated

    Having a job where you can work from the comfort of your bed sounds amazing. But, you need the self-discipline to not roll over and go back to sleep every morning.

    There will be no one to ring you up and leave angry messages if you don't show up for a shift (great!) and no one to tell you off for slacking halfway through the day (also great!).

    But this can make it harder to fully focus.

    You need to be your own boss when you work from home.

    Your housemates may be playing a game of FIFA, and last night's photos may well have just hit Instagram, but you have to resist. If you don't stay focused, the quality and quantity of your work will take a hit.

  3. Manage your time on social media

    We spend a lot of time on our phones. Checking what your friends are doing on Instagram or endlessly scrolling through TikTok is almost second nature to a lot of us.

    However, social media is a massive distraction. Before you know it, half an hour has disappeared.

    Put your phone on silent and keep it lying face down. Or, better still, put it on aeroplane mode.

    This doesn't mean you have to go cold turkey all day. But, make a rule of only checking it once every hour and staying on it for no more than three minutes at a time. Of course, there's an app for this.

    There are even web browser extensions that will help you stay off social media.

  4. Don't spend too much time alone

    Friends in Brick Lane London

    Credit: William Perugini – Shutterstock

    In many ways, working from home as a student is so flexible that it can be the most social kind of work you can find. Meeting a friend for a coffee or inviting them over for lunch is as easy as pie.

    However, there's no denying this can also be quite a lonely way to work. Be sure to make time for self-care, and try to meet up with others when you can.

    One thing we strongly recommend is getting out of the house and working in a local library or cafe so you get some human interaction.

    Don't underestimate how much of an impact it can have on your mental health and wellbeing to sit alone staring at your computer for eight hours a day. The fresh air and chats with others will do you good.

  5. Don't work too many hours at home

    When working involves sitting on your bum at home and using your computer, you're probably well aware of how quickly time can pass.

    Give yourself a set number of work hours per day and stick to it. This is particularly the case if you have a part-time job alongside your degree.

    A lot of uni courses suggest a limit of 15 hours a week for any kind of term-time job. This way, you can still concentrate on your studies.

    If you have a student job from home, make sure you balance work and study as well as possible. Otherwise, you could find yourself spending a lot of time stuck at your desk.

    It's probably better to aim for a lower number of work hours at first and then add a few more later if you think you can handle it.

  6. Eat healthily when working from home

    Managing what you eat while you work from home can be tough. Having packets of biscuits and crisps lying around to graze on will only encourage unhealthy snacking.

    Be mindful of what and how much you're eating, and aim to stock up on brain fuel food. Having proper breakfasts and lunches (not just an apple or one slice of toast) will keep the urge to snack at bay.

    Meal planning will help. By preparing meals in advance, you can avoid having to cook after a busy day of studying, and it will make it easier to stick to a healthy diet.

  7. Become a self-starter

    Man on a laptop

    Credit: KaptureHouse – Shutterstock

    Most universities and companies will give you support when it comes to remote working. However, that doesn't mean someone will be there to help you when it's 3am, you're shattered and you have no idea what you're meant to be working on.

    If you do run into a problem, there is the option of emailing someone. But, if you can, try to work it out by yourself first.

    You could search for answers to your query online, look in textbooks, ask classmates and colleagues and do trial and error until you reach the correct conclusion.

    Getting organised and planning your workload is crucial. This will give you time to deal with any problems that arise before your deadline.

  8. Find the right work-from-home job for you

    If you want to make money from home during or after your degree, you'll need to find a job that involves hybrid or remote working.

    Finding an online job requires just as much effort as finding any other type of job. Fail to take it seriously and you'll fail to make a profit.

    As a starting point, we have our very own part-time job search engine.

    It's also worth checking out job sites, like WorkInStartups. As they may have fewer resources than bigger companies, startups are often keen to recruit remote workers.

    CV-Library is another good site to use as they advertise a huge range of jobs.

    Plus, check out our step-by-step guide to freelancing for everything you need to know, including tips on how to land different projects.

    If you're not sure what work-from-home jobs to look for, the list below can give you some ideas.

    Work-from-home jobs for students

    Here are some examples of remote jobs:

  9. Don't get conned by fake job adverts

    The mantra to remember when looking for your dream stay-at-home job is: if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

    You can forget your dreams of a £70 an hour gig. Unless you're very highly skilled or have a super niche skill to offer, you're not going to be making that much money at first.

    It seems that students and recent graduates are popular targets for online job fraud. Make sure you take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

    Do your research. Check out the company online before you apply. Expect at least a phone interview before being offered the role and check their office location on Google.

    If the address they give you looks like a kebab shop on Street View, it probably is a kebab shop.

Keen to make some cash at home but don't have the time for an online job? Have a read of our extensive guide on how to make some quick cash online instead.

Jem Collins

WRITTEN BY Jem Collins

Jem Collins, founder of Journo Resources, is an experienced journalist who has written for the i, Metro and more. For Save the Student, she's shared tips on topics related to careers, health, saving money and more.
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