How to make sure that you maintain your productivity when working from home.
Working from home can work for you…if you’re disciplined and create the right environment.
In theory it's never been easier to work from home. Many people have moved out of the office environment and now work in the comfort of their own space. Fast internet speeds and programmes such as Skype have made the world a far smaller place and have allowed both employers and employees the freedom of working from wherever they choose. The benefits are endless, commuting becomes a thing of the past, making your carbon footprint negligible, and you get to spend more time with the family.
The new buzz phase appears to be 'Work Without Walls'. In other words, employers are beginning to recognise the difference between productivity and being present in an office. It sounds simple, but anyone who decides to move their work to a home location needs to exercise a great deal of discipline. And that’s not the only requirement.
Creating a dedicated work space and ensuring that those around you respect that space is vital.
While it's not always possible to have an actual office, it is important to try and work in a habitual place, even if this means a desk in a spare room or in a living room. Family members need to understand that this is your own personal space and that they are, as far as possible, not to interrupt or distract you while you are working.
Unfortunately working from home means that you are often exposed to the distractions of everyday home life which can be incredibly problematic. This however, can be overcome by setting strict working hours and working to a timetable. It's also advisable to adopt an office mindset. Working in your pyjamas may do wonders for your clothing budget, but it's been proven that it has an adverse effect on productivity levels. Approach the home working environment in the same way you would if you were going into the office. Have breakfast and get dressed before you begin your daily tasks.
One of the most difficult aspects of working from home is too much socialising during office hours. Friends and family often don't understand that although you are at home, you are also working and are thus not available at their convenience. It is highly recommended that you start as you mean to go on and set boundaries for all concerned so that everyone knows when you will be available to socialise or attend to family matters.
Although working from home does allow for a certain amount of flexibility, this doesn't mean that work should control your every waking thought and take up all your time. Again, this is why a schedule is so important. Set your working hours, remembering to factor in lunch and tea breaks and close up shop and walk away from 'the office' at the prescribed hour.
Part of the beauty of working from home is that the old 9am to 5pm rule does not normally have to apply. We all have different strengths and all work better at various times of the day. Use this to your advantage and if you are a morning person focus your attention on getting the work done before others start their day. Likewise, if you perform better at a more respectable hour, start your day a little later when you are at your most productive.