Whether you’re thinking of working from home on a permanent basis, or have been offered to do so a day or two a week – there are things to consider to ensure you’re making the most of it. From the simple action of getting dressed to planning how your day is structured, read our tips to discover how to work from home effectively.
1. Plan in advance. If you know you’re going to be working from home for a few days, make a plan at work while your head is still in office mode. That way, the sorts of tasks you’d be expected to complete on any given day are fresh in your mind. For a longer term WFH set up, consider what you might need access to that you can’t get at home. Are there certain files that require a connection to the server? Save them to a cloud service. Are you expected to be doing any creative work? Ensure your computer or laptop is equipped with the software you need.
2. Be productive. Working from home can present tempting distractions which are harder to resist when your manager’s not sat right there. So in an effort to ensure you reach maximum productivity levels when working from home, try over-committing to your tasks. If you promise your boss you’ll get x, y and z done, you’ll feel extra accountable when procrastination sets in. Knowing you’ve got quite a lot to do should exert the pressure necessary to motivate you to complete your tasks.
3. Get dressed. This may seem obvious but if you have no reason to leave the house, staying in your PJs might feel like a little luxury. After all, who’s going to know?! However, in order to get into ‘work mode’ – you need to replicate some of the hallmarks of office life. Getting showered and dressed is a pre-requisite of starting the day, therefore your brain will be more prepared for working and less tempted by a potential Netflix marathon.
4. Create a dedicated work space. If you don’t have a home office, you need to allocate an area specifically for work – and this should remain consistent. Floating around the house on your laptop isn’t conducive of good working behaviour, so whether it’s a particular corner of the dining room table or up at the breakfast bar – carve out a little space that you can revisit each day. You don’t have to lock yourself away in a shed at the bottom of the garden by any means. Real life distractions are inevitable, but that’s not to say you can’t have the TV or radio on as background noise. Often, silence can be the biggest distraction especially when you’re used to work in a bustling environment!
5. Mimic your regular working structure. Are mornings a time to get your process-driven tasks completed? Perhaps you do your best writing towards the end of the day? Work when you’re most productive. If that means putting some solid hours in from 7am when you wake up and wrapping up early, that’s OK as you’ve managed your time effectively. Or if you expect to have an afternoon slump, perhaps reserve the remaining hours of your day for conference calls, where the back and forth between colleagues is likely to keep your attention.
6. Take regular breaks. Without the distraction of calls, colleagues stopping by your desk on the way to the water cooler and general office chit-chat, you may find you actually work more solidly at home. It’s easy to while away hours once you’ve got your teeth into a task, but don’t forget to give your brain a rest. Alarmingly, we blink up to 60% less than normal when staring at a screen so set yourself a limit on the time you spend at your computer. Why not multitask by putting your bed sheets on a two hour cycle, then break to hang up your washing? Similarly, eat your lunch away from your screen…
Are you working from home efficiently? Or will you be trying it out for the first time soon? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below with any other tips or tricks!