My sister recently started a new job that gives her the perk of working from home every Monday and every other Friday. She excitedly explained the set up to me over dinner last week and asked me what tips and suggestions I would have for her to make sure she stays productive. The benefits of working from home are clear: no stressful commute, less office distractions, and the comforts of being at home. There may come a time in your career when you have the opportunity to work from home for part of, or the majority of, your time with a new company. Here are five strategies you can implement to help you stay productive while working from home:
- Set Up a Defined Workspace – One of the easiest habits to fall into while working from home is to lie down on the couch with your laptop and allow distractions to dictate your day. Whether the TV is on, your kids are running around, or your pets are making noise, it’s important to minimize distractions. The best way to do this is to have a defined workspace in a quiet part of your home. Distractions are inevitable at home, but having a set space and room to work will keep you focused on the work tasks at hand.
- Get the Right Tools – One of the perks of working in an office is that you get to utilize equipment and space devoted solely to a work environment. High speed internet, defined workspaces, and easy collaboration with co workers are readily available. If the internet or equipment causes you any trouble, there is usually someone in the office who can help you right away. Since you don’t get those advantages at home, it is important to plan ahead and acquire the right tools for your home office. Make sure you have ample desk space for your laptop, extended desktop, mouse, and any other tools your job may require. Get a comfortable office chair and headset if you use one for your work. Planning ahead will make the transition to working from home much easier.
- Prepare Like You are Going to the Office – Keeping a routine in the morning is important to your productivity whether you work full time from home or just a day or two per week. Do the things you normally do in preparation for work like showering, shaving, eating breakfast, or working out. Give yourself the chance to mentally prepare for the day ahead just as you would any other day in the office. You just don’t have to put on that suit like you normally would for a trip to the office!
- Communicate – The one area where working from home can really be a hindrance is in communication with your co workers. You don’t get to walk down the hall to talk to someone face to face or even yell from one desk to another. You will want to be proactive in your communication with fellow employees and try your best to be quick in your replies. Whether that means using a company chat system, emailing, or calling, it’s important that you stay in the loop so that your work isn’t negatively affected.
- Use Breaks Effectively – The final strategy to be mindful of is to make good use of your breaks just as you would in an office. Spending your work day at home and then transitioning to off hours while still at home can be tough for some people. Get out of your home, stretch your legs, and get a change of scenery from time to time. It will help you relax and recharge for the rest of your day at home.
Working from home is on the rise in the US according to the latest Census statistics. If you’re like my sister or if you work from home full time, be sure to implement these strategies for making the transition seamless. Your company and superiors will appreciate it!