Working from home comes with both positives and negatives. Finding the right balance between the good things like the comfort of your home and the bad things like too many distractions is key to being productive. In this article, we will examine seven ways to be more productive when working from home.
1. Keep Regular Working Hours
A schedule is everything when working from home. As a place where you also sleep, eat, relax, and do your hobbies, home can be a hard place to work from. Therefore, it is crucial you set and stick to your working hours every day. If you do not follow the guidelines of when you work and when you relax, you will never be able to do productive work. A healthy work-life balance has to be made and you should think of it the same way you would if you left your home for your work. Most people who work from home also have the luxury of extended flexibility and making their own schedules. This is a huge advantage that needs to be utilized as best as possible and you will never slack if you keep to the rules. A regular amount of “office” hours go a long way when working from home, and to learn more about organizing your time, click here.
2. Create a Morning Routine
Closely connected to a regular work schedule is a strict morning routine that will help you get ready for the workday. Simply sitting down on your chair at your work desk is not enough to really kick off the workday. To put your mind into the right working state and get as ready as possible early on, it is advised you create a morning routine that will naturally guide you to the start of your work. Think about what triggers the working day for you. Is it waking up early, drinking a cup of coffee, or having breakfast? Is it maybe a short stretch or a light morning workout? Many people who work from home find it beneficial to get dressed more formally than they usually would at home, resembling office dress code and readying their mind for the job. Whatever it is, make a routine out of it you will be glad and eager to follow. Such a routine can be made even if you start work in the afternoon, or late at night.
3. Compromise with other People inside the Home
Working from home is the easiest when you live alone, but of course, not everyone does. If you live with someone from your family or with a roommate, you have to set some ground rules for both of you so that you have your peace and space to make a living. With children, explain to them they cannot be as noisy or needy for a certain amount of time during the day, work when they are at school, or when they are doing something, be it studying or extracurricular activities. With a roommate, try to divide housework and ask them nicely if you could do your part at a certain time of day when you are free. If everyone does what they want, your productivity will suffer and so will theirs. It all comes down to understanding and talking to each other.
4. Breaks are Important
Breaks in the workplace are there for a reason, for the employees to take a breather and recharge their batteries. The same should be done if you work from home, especially if you have the three previous steps already in place. Depending on how much and when you work, incorporate at least two 15-minute breaks and a 60-minute lunch break into your shift. This is a generally accepted standard for 8-hour shifts worldwide. You could do also take a short walk and stretch around your home after every hour of sitting down, as it is very healthy and beneficial for your body. In addition, it is important to always go through with the full break and never go back before it runs out. If you have to, however, make up for it later. For example, if only 45 minutes of your hour for lunch have passed and there is an emergency, once you cover it, take the 15 minutes you have lost.
5. Leave Home
Since you now do everything from home, it may be sooner than normal that you will feel the need to leave it for a bit. Spending all of the time in one place is not in human nature, which is why you will probably often feel the need to take a walk, cycle, jog, or shop for groceries. In order to keep your focus and mental health in good shape, leave your home at least once a day. It is smart to do it twice if possible, once in the morning and one more time either in the afternoon or at night. The body needs movement and the mind and the senses need to take in things other than your home office. You will be surprised at how much fresh air and natural light help us relax and reset. Even a short walk in your backyard helps!
6. Dedicated Office Space is a Must
If this were a perfect world, everyone working from home would have a real office, just like they would at their actual office. Sadly, our world is far from an ideal one, which is why remote employees are left to their own devices when providing a home office for themselves is concerned. What your employer should at least do is provide you with a separate laptop or desktop working computer, to help you further separate your work and private lives. The most important thing here however is a dedicated office space where you will do nothing but your work. If you work at the same table where you play video games, at the dining table where you eat, or worst-case scenario, in your bed, it will be very hard to concentrate just on working. Distractions are many and it could take you hours to even start working, let alone finishing some important projects.
7. Separate Phone Numbers
Last but not least, just like you have to separate other aspects of your work and private lives, you should try to have two phone numbers. Use your private number for everything other than business-related things. This means your boss, colleagues, and business partners should not even have your private numbers, and your friends and family should never call you on your work phone. Of course, you will still need a person on both sides who will have both numbers, just in case of an emergency, but other than that, this neat trick will put an additional level of work-life balance we all need.