The recent changes in legislation giving the right to request flexible working means more people than ever may have an opportunity to work from home if they meet the criteria.
Great news! Your boss has accepted your request to work from home twice a week, trusts you enough to do so and now the world’s your oyster, right?
Well, yes and no. If your workflow goes out the window, so will your opportunity to work from home. Many people are very productive in the home environment, but others, not so much.
Below are a few tips on how you can keep your productivity afloat and stay focused:
1. Get dressed:
It seems simple enough, getting dressed. Lounging on the sofa in your pyjamas with your laptop, well, in your lap, might sound like great fun, but it’s not always the best way to get the job done. You don’t need to wear a business suit to sit at your home office desk, but actually changing into ‘regular’ clothes can help you get into the right frame of mind to concentrate.
2. Have set work hours with a finite lunch break:
Schedule in a morning work session, a lunch break and an afternoon work session. Without this it’s easy to find yourself ditching that report at 10am to fix that broken chair leg you’ve meant to fix every weekend for the last 3 months.
If you’ve got chores to do, get them done before or after work, just like you would if you were commuting to and from an office.
3. Set yourself up with a dedicated work space:
While not everybody has an actual home office, you should definitely have an area dedicated to work, even if it’s just a fold out desk in the corner of the spare room.
Having a specific place to go and work in helps you to focus and makes it easier to keep your work and home life separate, so it’s easy to switch off at the end of the day.
4. Establish boundaries:
This is one of the hardest but most important rules.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand that you can’t just up and leave to go on a shopping trip without any prior notice when you’re working from home, so make sure those close to you know you’re working hours and know to treat you the same as if you were working in an office. If you can’t take a personal 11am phone call ‘just for a chat’ on the days you’re office-based, make sure people are aware that you can’t really do the same just because you’re working at home.
A practical way to deal with this is to always use your work phone number for calls during the day instead of using your personal mobile (tell your boss our VoIP services for business can help with that!) so you won’t risk losing any business calls. Likewise, always continue to use your business email address so you aren’t distracted by non-work related emails.
5. Ignore the lure of the internet:
Ah, internet, the black hole of productivity.
Yes, it might be tempting to spend two hours browsing your favourite websites and Instagramming your photos, but that’s not going to help you hit your deadlines and targets, so save that for a lunch break.
If pure willpower isn’t enough, there are plug-ins out there that will block certain websites for a specific amount of time. Can’t stay off Facebook? Install a plug-in like Leechblock or StayFocused and block the offending websites from your computer until the end of your working day.
Likewise, Netflix is the kryptonite of all remote workers. Never has it been so easy to spend an entire day binge watching TV shows…but that’s still not going to help get that project finished, so save TV watching for the evenings and don’t get tempted into ‘just watching one’…because seven hours later you’ll have blitzed through half a season and be mystified as to why it’s already getting dark outside. Oh, and you’ve missed an important business deadline, too.
6. Prepare your meals in advance:
This is a small one but can make a real difference.
Now you have more time at home you might be tempted to nurture your flair in the kitchen and try out a fancy new recipe for lunch. This definitely isn’t a bad thing but if that recipe takes an hour to prepare and forty five minutes to clean up from, you’re eating into your work time in a big way. Save the culinary exploration for the weekend and instead prepare a packed lunch like you would in the office.
Do the same with drinks, too. Limit yourself to a few cups a tea or coffee or you’ll soon find yourself wiling away your morning preparing a brew in the kitchen. Why not make a pot of tea in the morning and keep it on your desk to save even more time?
7. Write a list:
Without a boss keeping an eye on you, writing yourself a daily or weekly to do list is a great way to stay on track and not fall behind with work.
Split the tasks into AM and PM lists and work through them in order. Don’t save your least favourite for last or you’ll end up carrying it over to the next day.
So there you have it, seven golden rules for making the most of working from home.
Before we go, let us know, what tips would you add to the list? Has it been harder for you to work from home or have you gotten it down to a science?