7 Alexa Features to Use While Working From Home

Working from home can be a boon for some and a curse for others. No matter your feelings about working remotely, Amazon Alexa can make the experience more enjoyable and increase your productivity—even when you’re still in your pajamas.

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We’ll show you several Alexa features you can start using to make working from home easier.

1. Use reminders to stay on top of your schedule

When working from home, it’s easy to let your home life bleed into your work life, especially if you don’t have a dedicated work environment. An hour can go by quickly when you sit down to watch TV with lunch, and before you know it, you’ve accidentally missed that important meeting.

Or, maybe you just need a reminder to walk the dog, get a drink of water, or stretch your legs. Whatever the case, Alexa can help keep you on track. You can ask Alexa to remind you by saying, “Alexa, remind me to join my meeting at 2:55 PM.” If you want the reminder to repeat each weekday, you can say, “Alexa, remind me to stretch every weekday at 11 a.m.”

To create a reminder in the Alexa app (available for iOS and Android), tap More in the bottom-right corner and press Reminders. Select the blue plus to create a new reminder, then fill in what you want to be reminded of, the date and time, and whether you want it to repeat.

To learn more about how Alexa can keep you organized, take a look at our article on using Alexa as your personal planner.

2. Add and check items in today’s calendar

A little-known feature of Alexa is that it can actually connect to your Google, Microsoft, or Apple calendars, whether personal or corporate. It is quite common for many companies to use Outlook as their dedicated email provider, which means that if so you will be able to link your work email using the Microsoft integration.

To link your calendar, simply open the Alexa app and navigate to the More tab in the bottom row. Tap Settings, then scroll down and find Calendar. Press Add Account, and select your calendar service (don’t forget to switch the voice profile if it’s not your name next to “Hi <name>”). Then, follow the steps to log in with your personal or work account.

Now, you can use any of the above commands to test the functionality.

3. Set up a work from home routine

Alexa Routines are at the core of Alexa’s automation capabilities. Routines enable you to chain actions that you would normally need to ask for individually, such as turning off your lights, turning off the TV, and locking your doors—all with one phrase.

Two specific routines can help you be more productive when working from home, or at the very least, make it more enjoyable.

Work from home routine

You can have Alexa turn on the lights in your office, read your calendar, turn on the radio or your favorite podcast, and set reminders to take a quick break every few hours. To do so, open the Alexa app and tap More, then Routines. Press the plus sign to create a new routine.

Enter a name and a trigger, such as “Alexa, let’s start working.” Then, under Add action, tap Smart home and set your lights to be switched on. Then press Calendar and select Today’s calendar. Scroll down to Music & Podcasts, and enter the name of your favorite podcast. Finally, choose Customize and type in “Remind me to take a break in two hours.”

Pomodoro technique routine

This routine is based on the Pomodoro Technique, which you can learn about in our article How to Use the Pomodoro Technique While Working Out. It essentially divides your workday into manageable chunks with frequent but short breaks.

To create a Pomodoro routine, start by choosing a trigger like “Alexa, start Pomodoro.” Under Add Action, say Alexa and then Alexa is customized to confirm that the routine has started. Then select Wait and set it to 25 minutes.

Choose Send an announcement or notification to tell Alexa it’s time to take a break, then wait five minutes. Set up another announcement or notification to let you know break time is up.

You can trigger the routine every time the break is over, or repeat the above process to create four work blocks, after which you take a 15-30 minute break, then trigger the routine again.

4. Drop in on your other Echos

If you’re working with a family at home, you’ll know that, unless you have firm discipline, it’s all too easy to ask a quick question and chat for 10 minutes. If you’re trying to make the most of your work time, relying on willpower might not cut it.

Instead, if you have another Echo in the house with Alexa, you can keep your conversations brief.

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