Work-at-home jobs are becoming more common, but switching from a structured office environment to the comfort of your own home can be challenging. Learning how to work from home is vital if you want to be efficient and effective.
There are many distractions at home, less accountability, and less communication than when you’re working in the office. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still be productive. There are lots of ways to keep yourself working productively from any location.
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Whether you work from home every day, a couple of times per week, or even if you’re working from home while you recover from an illness, these tips can help you to get the most out of your remote work hours. You won’t believe how much you can get done in a day!
Build a Permanent Work Space
The first step in your “work from home” journey is to designate your home area, specifically for getting work done.
This could be an empty or spare bedroom that you convert to a home office. If you are pressed for space, you can set up a desk for your computer and office supplies.
Regardless of space or location, establish an area of your home where you will work, and commit to working in this space every day. Be sure your workspace is quiet so you can focus on the task at hand.
Invest in Quality Technology
Yes, setting up a home office or workspace may require a small investment. Much like starting a new business, you may have to purchase technology, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet, or remote phone system to do your job every day.
A high-performance router will save you from many technology hassles. Since working from home often requires more than chat messages, you need a router to keep up. A router from several years ago might be prone to common network issues.
Depending on the nature of your work, you may also need to purchase hardware or software. You might need to buy monitors, ergonomic keyboards, standing desk, comfortable chair, etc. If you plan on doing this long term, invest now.
Update Your To-Do List Every Mornings
When working from home and you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, it can be challenging to keep track of what you have to do throughout your workday. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities, tasks, and deadlines. Depending on your role, you might be spending hours just trying to clean up your inbox.
Start your day by reviewing priorities for the day. Pick the top three items each day then prioritize everything else after those three items. When you make your task list, stick to it. It’s tempting to leap into your email, but you can move the needle with a little extra focus while working from home.
Develop a Morning Routine
Another enjoyable perk of working from home is not having to get up, rush out of the house, and commute to an office.
However, working from home doesn’t mean you get to skip your morning routine altogether. Since you’ll likely be cooped up indoors, take a brief walk around the block to take in the fresh air.
Get up early, take a shower, make your coffee and breakfast, and prepare your lunch, just like you have to leave the house.
Eat Healthy Meals & Snacks
Another work from home reality is that we have full access to the kitchen. So, when it’s time for lunch or a snack break, we are immediately drawn to the usual snacks, such as chips, cookies, or leftover pizza.
When we work in an office, we are at the mercy of whatever is available in the cafeteria or whatever lunch we brought home.
However, research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables has a direct link on overall productivity levels. You can also avoid buying unhealthy snacks altogether. With extra planning, you can purchase more nutritional snacks on Amazon rather than buying on impulse.
Reward yourself with a sweet snack on Friday after a successful and productive week.
If you are an avid snacker, then make it a point to make yourself a healthy lunch, just as you would if you had to go into an office.
Separate Work Time and Personal Time
Just as it’s important to work when you say you will, it’s essential to give yourself time for home life when you need it. Don’t extend the workday too far beyond what you planned, at the risk of burning yourself out.
One of the most crucial working from home tips is to keep your work life and personal life compartmentalized as it helps you stay productive while you’re at work and reduces stress when you aren’t. In the same way that you set your work hours, schedule, communicate and plan when you will not be available to work.
For example, if you like to take evenings to spend time with family, make sure you communicate that you aren’t available for work during that time. And then hold yourself to that commitment!
Be Your Janitor
Unlike in the office, you don’t have a janitor to clean up after you, which means you have to do it yourself. Keeping your home office clean helps you stay focused, get organized, and be productive. Even if you’re not bothered by a messy desk, maintaining some semblance of order helps ensure that nothing important falls through the cracks (or gets lost in a stack of paper).
However, this goes beyond just keeping your home office clean. Having a messy home could inspire you to procrastinate on work tasks in favor of cleaning, which is bad news for your productivity.
Setting yourself a weekly cleaning schedule can help you keep on top of cleaning your home, so you won’t be tempted to clean during work hours. Make sure to schedule regular tidying of your home office!