Working From Home: 7 Tips to Stay Productive In Your Home Office
“Successfully working from home is a skill, just like programming, designing, or writing. It takes time and commitment to develop that skill.” - Alex Turnbull.
For many employees, the opportunity to work from home is a welcome one.
In many ways, working from home is a convenient alternative to working on site. It allows you to cut down on transportation expenses, get a restful night of sleep, have a head start on house chores, and manage your time better. Indeed, working from home is what most employees and professionals would consider a blissful working setup. However, while working from home may seem like the ultimate worker’s dream, this arrangement is not with its own set of challenges. For many offsite employees, one of the most significant setbacks in working from home is trying to stay productive in an environment where you are conditioned to relax and wind down for the day. Staying on top of your work responsibilities and accomplishing all the tasks you have lined up for the day requires discipline and constant motivation—something that may not be so easy for many workers.
As Byron Pulsifer would say, “To be able to work home successfully takes all of the following: motivation, perseverance, work, good habits, no excuses, balance, accountability, and action.”
All that said, some may even say that working from home presents more considerable challenges than working in a conventional office. After all, conventional workers have their superiors around to ensure that the work output is reached, whereas offsite workers need to keep themselves in check. Working from home means having to deal with many distractions on top of having less accountability and reduced communication with your workmates. In a less disciplined employee, a culmination of all that may mean reduced productivity. However, this does not have to be true for all employees. If you wish to stay productive even while working from home, you can always do so by putting your mind to it.
Whether you work from home every day, just a few days a week, or even if your home office is just a temporary setup, below are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your remote work hours:
1. Dedicate a space for work
Ideally, you should have a dedicated space for your home office if you work from home. That said, if you are still scouring for a real estate property, whether that be a house and lot in Batangas for sale or a condominium unit elsewhere, ensure that you can dedicate space for your home office. Many work from home employees make the mistake of working from their couches, easy chairs, or even their beds. However, this can negatively impact your productivity. Always work from a consistent room, desk, or chair to condition your brain that it is time for work and not relaxation. Our brains tend to associate places of relaxation with rest which can shift your energy levels accordingly. Accomplishing tasks and responsibilities consistently in a place dedicated to work helps you feel more alert, confident and organized.
Find a spot in your house where your focus is at its peak—whether this may be indoors or outdoors. Once you find this spot, establish your workspace and try to limit distractions. Distractions can come in many forms, and while it is a daunting challenge you need to overcome, it can be mitigated.
2.) Keep regular work hours
Creating a consistent schedule is paramount when you are learning to work from home, whether you are doing it full-time or part-time. It may be tempting to give yourself complete flexibility, but you may give yourself more breaks than necessary and call it a day before you are even finished. Keep your schedule consistent and set regular hours to keep yourself accountable to your superiors. Doing it this way results in getting all of your work done and makes it easier for people to get in touch with you. Some of the things you need to take note of and consider when you are setting a work-from-home schedule are when you are needed for calls and video conferences and the time of the day when you are most productive.
You do not have to strictly adhere to an eight-hour workday so long as you accomplish everything you need to get done. Work when you are most productive. However, it does not hurt to find out when your boss really needs you to be at work.
3.) Create a schedule
Before beginning your workday, be sure to have a list of tasks you need to complete each day and allocate time to achieve each task. If you are a firm believer in to-do lists, create one and cross off each task you complete. Be sure to take your breaks and have a realistic schedule. While you can always speed through your day and accomplish work tasks without it, having a schedule helps you stay focused, organized, and productive. Also, it is recommended to track how much time you spend on routine activities in a spreadsheet or notebook, as this will help you stay productive.
Schedule your day to reflect your energy and make sure to accomplish essential tasks when your energy is high, and take care of less important tasks when your energy has dipped.
4.) Separate work time and personal time
Work is important, but it is also vital that you give yourself time for your home life whenever you need it. When you are working from home, it can be easy to extend your work hours far beyond what you initially planned. While you get more done this way, you also open yourself to the possibility of being burned out.
Keep your personal life and work-life in separate compartments. This helps you stay productive while you are at work while simultaneously reducing your stress when you are not. That said, also set your hours and plan for when you will not be available to work. Schedule his and communicate this to the rest of your team. A great example of this is to take your evenings off to spend time with family. If you wish to do this, communicate this clearly to your team and superiors. And hold yourself to that same commitment!
5.) Establish boundaries
Telling family and friends that you work from home can often get lost in translation. To them, this may mean that you get to stay at home and are free for any social visits or any house chores they may wish for you to do. That said, it is your responsibility to train them on how to relate to you and how to treat your working hours. This is an imperative step as a lot of them may make the mistake of thinking you are available for long lunches, movie breaks, or house chores.
Sure, working from home is quite the advantage. You are in charge of your own time and schedule, after all. However, in doing so, be sure to create boundaries that work for your kind of position.
6.) Plan your workflow
Working from home efficiently requires you to be innovative in planning your workday. Before you start working, know what your priorities are for the day, and how long you think it will take to get everything done. Also, it is a good idea to determine what you will work on should you have any extra time left.
Before heading to bed, you may find it helpful to take even just a few minutes to plan for the next day. You can sleep better without the stress weighing you down at the back of your mind. When planning your day, always consider what your highest priorities are and pepper rewards and breaks throughout the day. You may also want to plan your day around your own natural cycles. Do complex and challenging tasks when you have the most energy.
In this way, you can stay focused and not get distracted easily.
7.) Break your day into segments
Now that you have created a schedule and planned a workflow, be sure to follow that same schedule to the dot. Take your breaks as scheduled and get up from your desk during those breaks—grab a healthy snack, get some fresh air, socialize with another human being if possible. All of these will help you reset and give your mind a bit of time to relax before you tackle the next set of tasks.
If you find yourself having trouble sticking to a strict time limit for your breaks, you can set your alarm to remind you when you need to get back to work.
The shift of working in a home office from a work environment may be a bit challenging for many, but with the right mindset and attitude, it is doable. Having a productive day can be done with just a few changes to your routine and space. With the tips above, find out what works for you and make sure you stay focused on work tasks—even while you are working on them remotely.