5 ways to make working from home productive
Working from home is a benefit coveted by many employees; there are no traffic snarls and long commutes, no fixed working hours, and no need to deal with colleagues you don’t like much. All this while being as productive, if not more, as had you been in office. Organizations see telecommuting (or working from home) as a great way for employees to keep a healthy work-life balance.
Working outside of a traditional office setting does, however, create challenges for maintaining a consistent level of productivity. Making telecommuting part of your usual routine takes discipline and diligence. Here are five strategies for working effectively while you’re at home:
- Act like you are still going to work
Your home is a place of maximum comfort where you relax and just be your own self. Your body associates pyjamas, bed and daytime TV with lazy weekend mornings. If you want to be productive, you’ll need to flip the switch into work mode. The best bet is to make some coffee or tea, take a shower, and get dressed in comfortable casual wear. You don’t need to wear formals but do get out of your sleep clothes! Kick start your body into thinking it’s work time, not sleep time!
- Have a designated workspace
Don’t work while sitting on your bed. You might end up sleeping off or being unproductive. Instead, make sure you’ve got a quiet spot in your house with a small work desk and chair that will serve as your work area. Ideally, this should not be an area where you also sleep or spend a lot of time with your family; combining work space with personal space can bring work stress into your sleep or relaxation habits.
- Communication is essential
Since you won’t be stopping by your colleagues’ desks for quick chats or meetings, communication tools are especially important when you work from home. Make it a point to contact your team members and boss during the day. This helps you keep in touch with what’s going on in the office and gives them an opportunity to ask you about projects or challenges they’re facing. A few tools to consider are: email, instant messaging, video calls etc. which will help you interact easily with your colleagues.
- Minimize distractions
You may have the freedom to create the ultimate death-metal playlist in the comfort of your home office, but that doesn’t mean you should do that during your work hours! Make a conscious effort to minimize distractions like music, sleeping, constant snacking, pets, children, deliveries and visitors during your working hours. Pretend like you’re not at home when your landline rings or someone’s at the door.
- Work from a coffee shop occasionally
Though it’s important to have a work station, getting out of your home also has benefits. Working in a coffee shop once a week can refresh your creativity and productivity. A moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition. You can even work from your office once a week if you can work out such an arrangement. This will help you meet your team members and boss in person and keep them updated with your work assignments.
When you work at an office, you leave for the day when your work is over, which allows you to refocus your mind and shift your outlook. Working remotely can blur the lines between what work is and what home is, which can lead to increased stress and a reduced ability to maintain focus. It’s important to separate yourself from your house often, to avoid the downward cycle towards a lack of productivity.
Being alone every day and isolated in your own living quarters can have negative psychological effects as well. The key is to remain focused and follow the above tips to make this work from home experience truly work for you.