Tips to Make Working from Home Work
It seems that over the last few years, fewer and fewer people are making the daily commute into the office, opting instead for flexible schedules and working remotely or from home.
The adjustment to the new kind of working week has been easier for some than others. There are those who find it easy enough to treat a working from home day just like any other day in the office. But for the rest, it can be a struggle to remain productive and keep focused on the task at hand when they are not in the office.
We’ve come up with several tips to help you stay on track throughout the day and make the most of working from home.
Start the day properly
There’s a good chance that by missing your regular commute you’ll have a little longer in bed, so make the most of it. Once you’re up and about, make sure to have a good breakfast. You don’t have to rush to catch a train or bus, so fuel yourself to last until lunchtime.
However, don’t let an easier morning slow down the rest of your day. Have a start time in mind, and remember that you have no excuse for being late!
Dress for work
This doesn’t necessarily mean putting on your full suit or a dress, but changing out of your pyjamas provides a positive psychological benefit. It’s a way of reminding yourself that even though you’re at home, you’re not relaxing.
Set up a separate work area
This step is critical to having a successful day of work at home. Your work area should be free from distractions including family, pets, personal phone and TV. You should have a good quality chair and large monitor if you are primarily working at the computer.
By doing this, every time you enter your work area you know consciously what you’re there to do. As in the office, you should take your breaks in a different room. This will help you make the distinction between the two spaces and increase your productivity.
Set a schedule
One of the best aspects about working from home is breaking away from the traditional nine-to-five schedule. But working without any structure could seriously hinder productivity. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, authors of Remote: Office Not Required recommend dividing the day into three sections.
Start with a catch-up period to look over emails, then a collaboration period when you should communicate with colleagues regarding any project work and planning, and finally a serious work period to get through the more daunting tasks of the day.
Don’t be locked in the room all the time. For every hour you work, have a 10–15-minute break. Give your mind time to digest what it’s just done, then come back.
Take lunch at a regular time each day you’re working at home and stand up and walk around. By keeping to a relatively consistent work schedule, it’s easier to maintain a distinction between your professional and personal lives.
It’s quite possible you’ll find communicating with colleagues over email and phone will increase while you work from home, to help stay in touch. Make sure you check regularly so you don’t miss anything.
Before finishing for the day, remember to let your colleagues know as well. Is there anything else you can do? Is there anything they need? Ensure nothing is left to chance before you log off.
Set a time to finish
Working from home can make it easy to carry on working late into the night. To stop this from happening, be sure to set a time to finish and pack up for the day.