If You Want to Work from Home, Do It Right!
Find out what works and what doesn’t
Why would working from home benefit me?
Moving work away from an office and into your home can bring a lot of satisfaction. You can work from home whenever it suits you best, you can still make it to the bank within opening hours, you get to choose your own music and you can, of course, enjoy the comfort of your sofa.
If you are employed and decided to try out working from home, you probably have already figured out the great benefits this might bring.
- You can forget about time wasted in traffic.
- Now you can wake up, enjoy a delicious breakfast in your pajama and then start working whenever you feel most productive.
- You can work from home even when you are sick, since you don’t risk infecting anybody else.
- There is no boss to look over your shoulder, no annoying co-worker that talks all the time.
- Statistically, those who work from home are up to 10% more productive than those working in the office.
However, there are risks you need to be aware of, like getting distracted. Research has identified the top 5 most common distractions encountered by people working from home:
- Family demanding attention
- Difficulty concentrating
- Family or pets interrupting
- Lack of office equipment (for instance, fax or printer)
- Household noises (for instance, washing machine)
Furthermore, you might be considering freelancing as a full-time job, you might want to start your own business or just make some extra money and work from home. Either way, these tips can help you make the most of your time and avoid getting distracted by your pet, family member or bad internet connection.
But how do I get started?
While offices are specially designed to be handy, distractions-free, with proper access to internet and other technologies (like fax, printer and so on), when working home you might miss some equipment. There are people that can easily focus and get things done even while lying in bed, while others need to be at a desk, away from any distraction, in order to start working. You need to figure out exactly what works for you, in order to design a productive working from home routine. If you need a pretty desk with a comfortable chair, invest in that, you will be thankful in the long term. Keep it clean and make sure you have everything you need close by.
Planning should also be an important part of your working from home routine. With all the newly discovered flexibility, you may start procrastinating, thinking you can catch up with work whenever. However, you still need a plan in order not to get lazy. Set some goals for yourself, as to how many hours per day you should work, what you should accomplish and when you should get started in order to manage. Try to keep up with this and not postpone tasks for the following days. Especially if you are employed, it is important to show your boss that you are reliable and professional, even when working from home.
Another step to cover is setting boundaries with your family. When you work from home, there is always the risk of them interrupting. Your little one might need help with homework, or your partner might want you to try the best chocolate cookies that are freshly out of the oven. Every time someone knocks on the door, your line of thoughts is interrupted and you lose your focus. Depending on the time of the day and your tasks, it is important to set clear expectations with your family and decide on the times it is important not to be disturbed, in order to get things done.
3. Three best tricks for being efficient when working from home
You’re all settled in; you have a plan and you made sure you will not be interrupted. You’re almost ready to go! There are three more tricks you need to have in mind, to maximize your productiveness when working from home. Firstly, if you are employed, it is important to check in the office from time to time. Even if you are very efficient and your boss seems satisfied with your results, don’t underestimate the importance of face to face networking. Especially if you are considering a promotion or coming back to the office one day, it is important not to lose contact with your co-workers and managers. Statistically, the results of the employees who are in the office are easier to spot than those of people working from home. Therefore, the latter are the first ones considered when a promotion is in place. Stop by the office from time to time, catch up with the others, emphasize on your latest achievements and stress out your future plans.
Secondly, eliminate potential distractions when working from home. Don’t waste too much time on Facebook, don’t start vacuuming the room because the dust doesn’t let you concentrate and don’t start doing laundry while you planned working hours. Prepare the room in advance, make sure it’s well ventilated, and choose music appropriate for working from home, that would increase your concentration levels. A great choice is instrumental music, which sets the mood without distracting you with lyrics. Make sure Internet is working properly, and you have printer/scanner/fax available if needed.
Finally, dress code is a controversial issue when working from home. You may argue that you can sit in your pajamas all day, since you have no meetings and you’re alone in your house. That might work for you, and if you manage to get things done, great! However, keep an eye on how much you tend to procrastinate. People who work from home feel more comfortable and might get lazy. It can, therefore, be a good idea to still dress up as if you would be going to the office, in order to trick your mind into being more productive. We know you enjoy the perks of working from home and ditching that uncomfortable suit. However, at least for the important days with lots of tasks to accomplish, consider dressing up to boost your confidence and efficiency!