More and more companies are offering hybrid or remote working options to their employees. While that can be exciting for some, adjusting from the office setting to working from home can be quite challenging. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that you’ll have to make a few changes to the way you usually do things. For this reason, many people continue to prefer the traditional office environment where they feel more stable. Everyone is different, however; so let me share a few tips that may help make your transition easier and help you maintain your productivity levels.
Create Your Own Home Office
While it may be tempting to work while lounging on the couch or lying on the bed, it’s easier to stay productive when we create a home office space for ourselves. Ideally, your home office should have a door you can shut to minimize distractions and create a quiet space where you can focus. If you have a spare room in your home, for example, that would be the perfect space. If space is more limited, choose a corner of your home where interruptions are less likely.
What office supplies you’ll need depends on the type of work you do. Most of us, though, will need a computer, a webcam, and a pair of headphones. Don’t forget to decorate your space with things that will attract you and make you comfortable being in that space for a good amount of time. For example, you might include a plant or a pleasant-smelling candle.
Looking for more help creating a home office space? Check out my list of must-haves for a home office.
Set Daily Priorities
Before the day begins, I suggest you draft a to-do list to show you what you need to get done by the end of the day. This list will help you track how much work you have to do and help you manage your time accordingly. And what happens if you meet your target early? What to do with your leftover time? I suggest you go over your work.
Many times we try and rush things so we can get out of the office right on time. Working from home can be a bit similar. We may be tempted to rush through our work in the hopes of finishing up early so we can enjoy the rest of our day. It’s important to remember, however, that when we rush, we tend to make mistakes — some of which can be costly! And if you still have time left over after checking your work, you may want to get ahead of some other projects you have pending.
Dress in Your Usual Work Outfit
This one may sound a bit odd, but studies show that dressing in your work clothes improves productivity for people working from home. It’s important to feel comfortable, but we don’t want to get too comfortable either. You don’t want to lose the habit of getting up and ready for work.
Even though you might not be communicating face-to-face with anyone, your morning routine helps you transition to a work mindset. Consequently, you feel more motivated to carry out your work duties and to stick to your schedule. If you let yourself become too comfortable, you may start to slack off on work. And that can negatively affect your productivity.
Maintain Normal Working Hours
One of the most important things to do when working from home is to draft a work schedule and keep to it. When working from home, it can be easy to fall into the bad habit of taking “quick breaks” to do things around the house. Maybe you have kids who need your help with homework or pets that want your attention. The point is other things will come up, so you’ll have to keep in mind that you are on the clock.
This is why having a regular schedule is so important, in my opinion. You’ll have a clear line between office hours and personal time. This in turn can help trick your mind to feel you’re in more of a work environment and enable you to achieve maximum productivity. Of course one of the best perks of working from home is that you can often choose a schedule that matches your natural energy cycle. Doing so will help you complete more work in less time.
Make Time for Breaks
In creating your workday schedule, be sure to include time for breaks. Productivity research shows that many remote workers actually work longer hours than their in-office counterparts. Don’t push yourself to work more than you have to; a person can only work productively for so long after all. In my opinion, it’s wise to take 1 or 2 regular breaks during the day. Most jobs offer employees such opportunities in the office setting, so try to stick to that same time frame.
The cool thing about working from home is that you don’t have to stay in the office during your breaks. Instead, you can play with your kids or pets, if you have them. You can communicate with friends or coworkers or take a walk. The point is to let your mind get rested enough to finish the rest of your day with focus and in a good mood. Again, though, don’t let your breaks run too long, thinking, I can work later. Procrastinating only makes meeting your deadlines and maintaining your productivity more difficult.
Avoid Social Isolation
It’s easy to isolate yourself while working from home. The one thing you don’t want is to lose is your connection with your team. Be intentional about checking in with colleagues at least a few times a week by social media, group messaging, online meetings, etc. Doing so will not only boosts your work ethic but also keeps you feeling like part of the team. After all, you don’t want to lose your flair for socializing and collaborating with others.
In conclusion, staying productive while working from home can be challenging, but it’s achievable. Discover the routine that works best for you, and follow it consistently. It’s up to you to provide the structure you need. Do so, and your success can be assured.