Working from home can be a blessing for some and a curse for others. Regardless of your feelings about remote working, Amazon Alexa can make the experience much more enjoyable and increase your productivity, even when you’re still in your pajamas.
We’ll show you some Alexa features you can start using to make working from home easier.
1. Use reminders to stay on top of your schedule
When you work from home, it’s easy to let your private life blend into your work life, especially if you don’t have a dedicated work environment. An hour can quickly pass as you sit down to watch TV over lunch, and before you know it, you’ve accidentally missed that important meeting.
Or maybe you need a reminder to walk the dog, take a drink of water, or stretch your legs. Whatever it is, Alexa can help you stay on track. You can ask Alexa to remind you by saying “Alexa, remind me to attend my meeting at 2:55 PM”. weekday.”
Create a reminder in the Alexa app (available for iOS and android), tap More in the lower right corner and press Memories. Select the blue plus to create a new reminder, enter what you want to be reminded of, the date and time, and whether you want to repeat it.
To learn more about how Alexa can keep you organized, check out our article on using Alexa as your personal planner.
2. Add items to and check today’s agenda
A little-known feature of Alexa is that it can actually connect to your Google, Microsoft, or Apple calendar, whether personal or business. It’s quite common for many businesses to use Outlook as their dedicated email provider, meaning you can link your business email using the Microsoft integration if that’s the case.
After you’ve linked your account, you can say things like:
- “Alexa, what’s on my calendar?”
- “Alexa, when is my next meeting?”
- “Alexa, schedule an event for 2:00 pm tomorrow.”
- “Alexa, move my meeting.”
- “Alexa, cancel my meeting.”
To link your calendar, simply open the Alexa app and navigate to the More tab along the bottom row. Tap Settingsthen scroll down and search Calendar. Press Add Accountand select your calendar service (don’t forget to switch voice profiles if it’s not your name next to “Hello
Now you can use any of the above commands to test the functionality.
3. Set Home Work Routines
Alexa routines are at the heart of Alexa’s automation capabilities. Routines allow you to link actions that you would normally have to request individually, such as turning off your lights, turning off the TV, and locking your doors – all in one sentence.
Two specific routines can help you be more productive while working from home, or at 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 a reminder to take a break in a few hours. To do this, open the Alexa app and tap Morethen routine. press the plus sign to create a new routine.
Enter a name and a trigger, such as “Alexa, let’s get to work.” Then, under Add actiontap Smart home and set your lights to turn on. Then press Calendarand select Today’s Calendar. Scroll down to Music and podcastsand enter the name of your favorite podcast. Finally choose tailored and type “remind me to take a break in two hours.”
Pomodoro Technique Routine
This routine is based on the Pomodoro Technique, which you can read more about in our article on how to use the Pomodoro Technique while working. It essentially divides your workday into manageable with frequent but short breaks.
To create a Pomodoro routine, start by choosing a trigger such as “Alexa, start Pomodoro”. below Add actiontap Alexa says and then tailored to have Alexa confirm that the routine has started. Then select Guardand set it to 25 minutes.
To elect Send announcement or Notification to get Alexa to tell you it’s time for a break, then Guard for five minutes. Set another Announcement or Notification to tell you the break is over.
You can activate the routine each time your break is over, or repeat the above process to create four work blocks, then take a 15-30 minute break and then reactivate the routine.
4. Visit your other ultrasounds
If you work in the house with a family, you know that unless you have rock-solid discipline, it’s all too easy to ask a quick question and end up chatting for 10 minutes. If you’re trying to make the most of your work time, relying on willpower may not be enough.
Instead, you can keep your interactions short if you have another Echo in the house with Alexa. Using the Drop In feature, you can quickly walk in, ask your partner what they want to eat, and then get back to work with minimal interruption.
To invade with your voice, all you need to do is say “Alexa, Drop In on (Echo device name)” to communicate directly through another Echo. Alternatively, you can use the Alexa app. Tap To communicate along the bottom, then Invade. You can then select the device you want to invade and start talking.
We take a closer look at this feature in our article on setting up and using Drop In.
5. Call colleagues and join conference calls
Alexa can also make quick calls to work much faster because you can call a mobile number directly. This means you can say “Alexa, call (name)” to make an instant call, even if you don’t have your phone with you.
To get started, make sure your contact list has been imported from your phone. Open the Alexa app, tap More and Settings. Select Communication and Manage contactsthen turn IImport contacts On. Alternatively, you can add contacts individually under To communicate by tapping the person icon in the top right corner Add contact.
By linking your work calendar, you can participate in Zoom and Skype conversations with Alexa (but unfortunately not with Microsoft Teams or Google Meet conversations). When you have a scheduled meeting with a meeting ID and PIN, Alexa can automatically use this information to join when you say, “Alexa, join my meeting.”
6. Play music to help you focus
If you are isolated in a home office or no one is around, working from home can become an annoying experience. If there’s nothing to fill the void, your attention can quickly fade, even if your work is the only thing you can focus on.
Many of us find it easier to focus with instrumental music playing softly in the background, and Alexa can certainly help with this. If you’ve hooked up a streaming service like Spotify, try finding an ambient/jazz/Lo-Fi beats playlist and asking Alexa to play it. If you don’t have one plugged in, you can still ask Alexa to play a mix by saying, “Alexa, play Deep Focus on Amazon Music.”
7. Ask Alexa Quick Questions
Finally, Alexa can give you the answers you need to any question that isn’t worth opening your phone or any other tab to search for. For example, if you need to multiply quickly, you can ask Alexa and hear the answer by the time you unlock your phone.
Or, if you need to spell a word, you can have Alexa spell it for you.
Plus, you can ask for things like definitions, synonyms, or even how many days are between two dates. Of course you can also ask about the latest weather forecast or how the traffic is when it’s time to get out of the house.
Increase your productivity with Alexa
While working from home has its benefits, it can undeniably lead to unintentional slackening, especially without a committed work environment. But with Alexa, it becomes much easier to stay on track when you have a smart assistant to help you out.
The next time you sit down to work, try setting regular reminders to get up and move. Your body (and productivity) will thank you for it.