Let’s face it; we all tend to romanticize working from home. Setting your own hours, time to work on pet projects, freedom from prying eyes, and casual conversations are just a few advantages. While working from home allows you a reprieve from chatty co-workers and bosses who need just a minute of your time, you are also exposed to different disruptions to hinder your workflow.
Gone are the days when working from home conjured an image of a slacker in pajamas. With the ever-going advance in technology backed up by employers looking to lower their costs and employees ready to forgo lengthy commutes, more people are working outside an office than ever before. According to a recent survey, 61% of the workforce in the U.S. is now making a conscious choice to work from home of their own will rather than just out of necessity. The same study also concluded that people are making tradeoffs in their minds and are seeing flexibility as more valuable than co-worker connection.
However, whether you are a full-time freelancer, an occasional telecommuter, or even a designer, working outside an office can be challenging if not handled with care. You need to learn to set yourself up for success by staying focused and productive while keeping your work life separate from your home life. Another study conducted by Stanford University revealed that employees who worked from home, maintaining a strict set of guidelines and clearly defined boundaries were 13% more efficient than their office-bound colleagues.
Based on these surveys, below are some best practices and tips to work from home and augment your memory and help you prioritize your work better.
5 Tips to Work from Home:
It all begins with maintaining a schedule.
The first of 5 tips to work from home more efficiently is maintaining a schedule. Without supervision, even the most hardworking and conscientious can slack off. When you sit down to work, planning is everything. Creating a plan and setting a schedule provides structure to the day and helps you stay motivated to keep going. Leading experts suggest that you must start your day as you would if you worked in an office. So get up early, get dressed, and avoid any online distractions once you sit down to work.
Whether you just started working from home or if you have been doing it for months, take a few days to focus on and determine the best rhythm for your day. Then set realistic expectations for what you can accomplish daily. By making a schedule and sticking to it day after day, you’ll notice a steady improvement in your productivity.
Stick to it and keep going on. However, while doing so, always remember to give yourself permission for some downtime. And if you have worked extra hours to complete a project, give yourself some extra free time later on, to compensate for it.
The subtle art of creating boundaries
Boundaries define us. They are healthy, normal, and necessary. It’s very easy to lose sight of the prize and let your work life blur into your home life when we work from home. These tips to work from home will help. To keep the two distant, try sitting down with your family and friends and help them understand that even though you are working from home, you are still off-limits during your scheduled hours. This allows you to stay focused and makes it easier to step out of your work mode at the end.
So, invest in a good calendar and plan out your work hours. While doing so, don’t forget to schedule some quality time with friends and family. And after you are done with your scheduled work hours, don’t worry about stopping for the day, even if you are on a roll. Pausing in the middle will only make it easier to jump into the task the next day.
Brain breaks matter!
For many of us, it may be tempting to work flat out, especially if you are trying to prove that you can be equally productive and efficient while working from home. However, taking regular breaks between work is vital to being productive. These breaks need not necessarily be a nap. In fact, they can take any particular form. From reading a newspaper to walking your dog or even something as simple as staring outside the window, anything that allows your brain to recuperate briefly is enough to remain productive.
The importance of staying connected
As humans, we are all programmed to be social creatures. Staying isolated for a prolonged period affects our mental health and weakens motivation and productivity. So if you don’t have a job that requires face-time with others daily, you need to put in the extra effort and try to stay connected with the outside world. Schedule regular coffees with colleagues and meetings with clients! Check in as often as you can with colleagues and superiors, get involved with a professional organization, and share what you have been doing with them.
The power of reflection
Staying motivated and being efficient at your job can be challenging, especially when working from home. From that tall pile of dirty laundry lurking in the corner to Facebook notifications popping in every few minutes, staying focused is undoubtedly not an easy task. One smart way to maintain momentum is to spend a minute or two every day acknowledging what you have been able to accomplish that day rather than staying fixated on things that still need to be done.
Reflect on the day’s events and focus on taking some time out at the end of each workday to reflect on the things you got done rather than those you didn’t. Consider the things you were able to cross off your lists as wins and celebrate them no matter how small of a task that might be. Trust me; celebrating these wins helps immensely in increasing your efficiency. These are the 5 tips to work from home.