In the last few years, there has been a reported increase in employers allowing their staff to work from home. While some may enjoy the flexibility this has to offer, bringing the office home can be an alien concept for many. From productivity to social isolation, here are 12 tips to get the most from working at home.
The key to beginning a productive workday when working from home is getting dressed. Ditch the pajamas and put on some workwear to get into the right headspace to start the day. It’s too easy to treat it like a lazy Sunday morning otherwise and not get the most from the day.
Plan the Day Ahead
As with any other workday, there are key goals to be achieved. Make a list of tasks that need to be completed and number them from most to least important, which will give a clear plan of action for the day ahead. Anything that crops up can be easily added in (or removed) without creating too much stress.
Consider Background Noise
If used to working in a bustling, busy office environment, working from home can be a shock to the system, particularly if home life is a lot quieter. Have some background noise if the quiet is too distracting. Youtube has some perfect background music that aides concentration without taking away focus from the workload.
Limit Social Media Distractions
Without having a boss keeping a close eye on screens, it is easy to slip into bad social media habits. What can start as an innocent click on a cute puppy video can lead to hours of crazy clicking. Social media is a time vacuum. Use it at your peril.
Handling Impromptu Visitors
Some friends and family may take this opportunity to go visiting. Be firm when answering the door and explain the working from home situation. Better yet, inform those nearest and dearest before the knock at the door comes.
Take a Break
It is extremely easy to keep pushing through the workday without scheduling breaks. When creating a to-do list at the start of the day, it is worth planning in some break times then. Try and stick to them, as studies have shown that productivity reduces when people don’t take regular breaks.
Work Friends and Colleagues
Working from home, mainly if living alone, can be isolating. It’s essential, not only for task-orientated discussions but also for mental health, to keep in contact with work colleagues as though it were any other day. Be sure to reach out to management if help is needed and arrange virtual meetups. Google+ hangouts is a perfect tool that allows up to 10 people to virtually meet up for free.
Dedicate Office Space
While it may be tempting to plonk down on the comfy sofa, laptop in hand, it’s not always the best option. Set a clear workspace or office to create the best work environment for concentration. Check that office furniture is appropriate for the job, as sitting for long hours on an uncomfortable chair that the whole family uses may not be ideal for your body.
The Work-Life Divide
Sometimes it can be not very easy to decipher where the workday ends and personal time begins. Set a clear structure of what time the workday starts and stops to allow better clarity. This will ensure that work does not spill into personal time.
Avoid the Chores
With more time spent at home, little tasks around the house might dominate a lot of employees’ time. Try and stick to chores outwith working hours. These can lead to distraction and take away the focus of the job at hand.
The mind can think best when it is not surrounded by mayhem, so start the workday free of clutter. This will remove the temptation of wanting to clean during the working day and will aid overall concentration. A clean workspace is a happy workspace.
Many people rely on little micro-lifts to boost them through their day. It could be as simple as grabbing a coffee from the coffee shop at breaktime or treating themselves to a doughnut. These can perk people up and create a happier employee, so create little micro-lifts at home. Whether it’s a treat to a ‘good’ coffee from the Dulce Gusto machine occasionally or have a small bar of chocolate stashed away, these can all help towards a more positive work at home experience.
Working from home is not without its pros and cons, but following some of these tips will lead to a much more productive and happy experience. Social isolation doesn’t have to be socially isolating, and with the wonders of technology, employers can rely on their staff to get the job done at home. Who knows, it may become a way of life for more of us going forward.