Working from home is becoming much more common. On the surface, it sounds ideal. You can work in your robe while you talk to your dog. You might even have your favorite movie on in the background. Your boss can’t even track your internet time!
But working from home has its disadvantages, too. It’s not as easy to get things done from home as you might think. You can also go a little stir-crazy if you’re not careful!
Use these strategies to make working from home productive and enjoyable:
1. Stick to a schedule. If your company is flexible on your hours, make your own schedule and stick to it.
● Get up at the same time each day.
● Stick to your normal grooming routine.
● Sit down to work at the same time each day.
● Plan your lunch time.
● Quit working at a set time.
2. Dress effectively. Some people can take care of business just fine in their pajamas. Others might need to dress in their normal work clothes in order to get things done at a high level. Dress in a way that works for you.
3. Deal with the other people in your home. Kids, the spouse, friends, neighbors, other family members, and pets can all be a distraction. Set boundaries and enforce them. You might have to tell your kids to leave you alone unless there is a real emergency. Friends might have to be told to stay away until 5:00 PM.
● Each household is unique. Set rules that work for you and don’t be shy about ensuring that everyone is respecting them.
4. Put in face time. Use video conferencing tools or actually head to the office occasionally if appropriate. Avoid only relying on the phone and emails for communication. It’s beneficial to see your coworkers, boss, employees, and clients or customers regularly if at all possible.
5. Plan breaks. Part of sticking to a schedule includes taking regular breaks. A break is a good time to clear your head, check on the kids, or let the dog out.
6. Get out of the house at least once each day. It helps both your mental and physical health to get out of the house for at least a little while each day. You could run to the store, take a walk, or do anything else that takes you out of your home for a bit.
7. Communicate more. Communication can be less effective when you don’t have face-to-face contact. That means you’ll likely need to communicate more to make up for the lower quality of communication. Communicate as much as necessary to ensure that everyone knows what they need to know.
8. Have a dedicated workspace. It can be tempting to spread out on the kitchen bar. But are your papers going to stay where you put them? Can you have a decent phone conversation here? Are there too many distractions?
● Have a dedicated workspace that you and your family will respect.
9. Get some exercise. You might not think that you get a lot of exercise at work, but you probably get more at work than you do while working at home.
● At work, you have to walk further to the bathroom. You have to walk from the parking lot to your office. You might go out for lunch regularly. You have to walk to your boss’s office or take files to another department. The coffee pot might be at the other end of the hallway.
● At home, everything is close and convenient. It makes a difference regarding how much movement you experience each day.
Enjoy your time working from home but understand the potential drawbacks. It can be more challenging to get things done, and it’s much easier to waste time if you’re not cautious. Working from home can have more distractions. It can also be psychologically more challenging if you’re alone all day.
Take a look at your job responsibilities, home life, and your own idiosyncrasies. Develop a process that works for you.