work from home

How to Work From Home and Still Be Productive

I bumped into a friend a couple of days ago who had just closed her rented office to work from home. This got my thinking… Whilst working from home can be a perfect solution for some of us, it can be somewhat of a double edged sword for others if they allow it.

We have worked from home for the last year two years but I knew when we embarked on the change of working situation we would need to put some procedures in place to ensure we still remained productive. Working from home can throw a lot of distractions in your path so having a systematic approach to your week and to each day will help keep you on track.

There’s a real upside to deciding to work from home

Not having to battle rush hour traffic on a daily basis with the rest of the population has huge appeal especially if you live in a city. The time saved can be redirected into something more productive. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that no commuting because you now work from home means you can set the alarm clock for an hour later. If you truly want to establish good working habits then set you alarm at the usual time. Use that extra time to either start the morning with some form of exercise, mediation or business reading to prepare yourself for the day and get your head in the right space.

Have a space in your home that is a dedicated office. Working off the kitchen table is not going to cut it for the long term. You need a room or area that is dedicated to work and doesn’t have other distractions. This must be a place you can spread out (if required) and you can walk away and leave things to come back to when required. When you work from home it’s vital to have an area that can be separated from the rest of the house.

Dress accordingly when you work from home but remember the more you dress down more it will effect your motivation and commitment levels. If you make the effort everyday to present yourself well it will be reflected in standard of work. Even if you are content to wear jeans match them with a nice shirt, don’t skip the shave, makeup or hairstyling, as the better you look the better you will feel.

Set yourself an expected schedule for each day and do your best to stick to it. Resist the temptation to be distracted with household duties, television or a constant trip to the refrigerator and back. Have a time allocated for morning and afternoon tea and lunch and stick with the plan. If you want to incorporate some household activities make sure they fit in with those meal breaks.

Set a Monday morning meeting time (even if you work alone) and use this time to compile a list of ‘to do’s’ for the week. Consulting your list on a daily basis helps to prioritize your work load and there is a lot of satisfaction gained from ticking off items as they are achieved.

To keep the social aspect of your work life up and running join some networking groups and attend some of their events. When you work from home, especially if you are a one man band it can be lonely so it is important to have activities that get you out of the house in a work/social capacity. Even if you make a point of setting a coffee meeting once a week with a colleague, mentor or someone that’s on the same professional page as you. Keeping your motivation levels high can be a struggle if you are working alone.

One major risk you are likely to encounter when you work from home is visitors. Because you are in the home environment when friends ‘pop’ in they often linger a lot longer than they would if they popped into your old work environment. You must have polite control of this situation to ensure your work time is not sucked up unnecessarily. Equally too, having visitors staying for a period of time can be challenging. If you have chosen to take time off work to spend with them then that is not a problem. However, if you are wanting to work you must be committed to the task at hand and not easily swayed. Having a work area at home where you can shut yourself away will be a huge help in this situation.

Whilst the above may sound like a lot of rules and regulations, they are all worth considering and implementing so you can enjoy the all the benefits available when you work from home and still achieve great things.