More and more people are working from home, but can you really be as productive at home as you are at the office? If you enjoy the flexibility of combining office work with days at home, this guide will help you ensure that you maximize your time at home and make working from home work for you.
Establishing a routine
When you work in an office, a studio, a bank or a shop, you have a routine. You have fixed or flexible hours, which require you to spend a certain amount of time at work each day. When you work from home, there may not be set rules related to when you have to sign in and clock off, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t establish a routine. If you’re used to getting up early and starting your working day, stick to this pattern. If you get jobs finished earlier than normal, you can always start on tomorrow’s tasks or log off early. If you get into the habit of working set hours at home, you can ensure you get everything done, and you’ll probably have more time to get through additional tasks or relax, as you haven’t got to worry about commuting.
Dealing with distractions
When you’re at the office, everyone is there to do a job, and the environment lends itself to work. Your home is usually a place where you chill out and spend time with the family. Although you may feel relaxed at home, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be productive. The best thing to do, if you work from home on a regular basis, is set up a workspace. If you have a spare room or you don’t use all of the garage, convert it into a home office, and kit it out with everything you need. Once you’re in your office, you know you’ve got work to do, and you won’t get distracted by the lure of the TV, kids running around or noise outside.
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Creating a positive working environment
Everyone works better when their working environment makes them feel comfortable, but also inspired and motivated. Spend a little time creating an office that enables you to do what you need to do, but also makes you feel energized. Invest in the kit you need, like Dell monitors, Bluetooth headsets, a printer and a laptop, and make sure you have the software you need to collaborate with colleagues, get involved in meetings and video calls and keep track of the work you’ve done. When the tech side of things is sorted, you can channel your inner interior design guru, and think about what kind of office you want to create. Natural light is proven to lift your spirits and increase energy levels, so try and position your desk close to a window or door. Plants are also said to boost mental health and productivity. Choose colors that suit the tone of the room, avoid drab, plain walls, and make sure you have a comfortable chair that supports your back.
Organizing your time
Time management can be more difficult to master when you’re at home, but it you’re organized, it should soon become second nature. Use a diary, calendar or an online schedule planner to keep track of what’s going on each day. Note down when you have meetings, keep an eye on impending deadlines, and make sure you know what the day ahead holds. Check your diary and update it regularly.
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When you’re at the office, it’s very easy to touch base with colleagues, discuss group projects, and ask questions. When you’re at home, it’s not quite as simple to keep in touch, but it is possible thanks to amazing advances in technology. You can call, instant message and participate in virtual meetings using video technology. If you have the right software, you can work remotely, remain in the loop, and communicate with colleagues even though you may be miles away.
If you’re toying with the idea of adopting more flexible working arrangements and spending more time at home, you may be wondering whether it’s really possible to be as productive at home as you are in the office. It can take a little time to get used to working at home, especially if you’re used to the 9-5 grind, but if you have the right setup, you have a routine in place, and you manage your time wisely, you should find that working from home can work for you.