How and where we work is changing. The nature of modern businesses and lifestyles means working from home is more popular than ever. Going to the same office eight hours a day, five days a week is no longer the norm.
While working from home can sound like a dream, anyone who’s actually done knows how unproductive or unsociable it can make you feel. If you frequently work from home here are some ways to make it a happier and more productive environment.
Make sure you can work when you want
A home workspace needs to be somewhere you can actually complete tasks. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, you need to make sure your workspace is suitable for the hours you’re most productive in. If you want to work remotely make sure your home doesn’t have partners, roommates or children roaming around distracting you. The more you can keep your focus on your work the better it will be. Work when they’re out of the house or make it clear when you need some time alone.
Make sure you aren’t confined to a bedroom either. Muddling the wires in your brain with what room is for sleeping and what room is for working will only make it harder to keep a good life schedule. Designate one room for working from home and design it around your habits and needs.
Tech out your work station
A difference you’ll likely notice working from home in comparison to an office is the drop off in quality of equipment. It’s unlikely your home office has a workstation as well designed as the one at your desk at work.
StarTech’s guide to the perfect docking station highlights how we now find ourselves moving around and jumping between tasks more than ever, even at home. Having technology that allows you to do that is just as essential at home as in the office or on the move.
If you do your best work with two monitors and a particular desk size then try and replicate that feeling when working from home. For a lot of people working from home is about comfort, but trying to do a full day of work with your laptop on your lap isn’t ideal.
Have an office structure
If you’re new to working from home it can be tempting to be a bit liberal with your work schedule. With no one watching over your shoulder and the lack of a productive office atmosphere it’s a lot easier to take an extra break to stare at your phone for half an hour. To make sure your productivity levels stay high and your guilt levels low you should try and stick to the same schedule that made you a success in the office.
Limit the number of breaks you take and don’t be tempted to elongate your lunch with an extra episode of something on Netflix. Mindset is a big part of what makes working from home successful. If you can carry over the same schedule you kept in the office it’ll be a more seamless transition.
Working from home can be lonely. You need people out of the house to keep yourself focused, but you miss out on the buzz of an office environment. There’s no need to feel disconnected though. There are a number of tools for staying in touch with your team remotely without having to spend all day on the phone. You can also keep an eye on what people are doing so you don’t lose step with the rest of the team and get a bigger picture of the business operation.
If you frequently speak to clients make a point of scheduling regular meetings with them over phone or video chat. This can help break up your day and act as a replacement for the contact you’d usually get from colleagues. Suddenly previously boring client meetings become a highlight of the day.
Treat your space like an office
A happy workspace is a productive workspace. When working from home keep the house as if all your colleagues were there too. Don’t just keep your workspace clean, make sure the house is somewhere you enjoy being and has an ambiance you enjoy. Businesses have noticed the benefits in recent years in having lots of plants, plenty of natural light and pleasant scents. Modern workplaces are often a nice place to be, so replicate that in your home.
Maybe work in your PJ’s if it makes you feel more at ease, but try and avoid sitting around in your underwear. Working as if someone else is in the room with you is about keeping yourself productive and retaining a professional state of mind for the full workday.
Keep to-do lists
Everyone working from home has the same thoughts. Maybe I should just clean those dishes quickly. The house could probably use a vacuum. Chores have never been as appealing as they are when you’re working from home, but you need to resist the urge and stay on track. Making a daily to-do list before you go to bed every night is a great way to achieve this. It leaves you with no illusion about what needs to get done that day and gives you direction, which is what remote workers need more than anything.
Working from home is both a blessing and a curse. It can be relaxing to skip the commute and have an extra half hour in bed, but home can become somewhere you become stressed and unproductive. Follow these tips to keep your performance levels up wherever you work.
Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Rodney Laws. Here is additional information he provided about himself.
Rodney Laws is an eCommerce platform specialist and online business consultant. He’s worked in the eCommerce industry for nearly two decades, helping brands big and small to achieve their business goals. You can get his advice for free by visiting EcommercePlatforms.io and reading his detailed reviews. For more tips and advice, reach out to Rodney on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.