While an office is the best place to promote a productive working environment, there will be some occasions where working from home may be a better option. This could be for convenience, such as avoiding a troublesome commute, or to even strike a better balance between work and home life.
Whatever the reason, working from home offers many benefits, as well as distractions. Your home is where you are most likely to feel comfortable and relax, which is why you must practise discipline and commit to your workload.
If you struggle with staying on-task when you work from home, this article will explore what you can do to remain focused and complete your workload with minimal impact from your homely surroundings.
Set Working Hours
Just because you’re not in the office, that doesn’t mean you’re not on the clock. Despite the distractions and the freedom that working from where you live provides, you need to have the same mindset as you would for any other working day.
Being able to manage your time effectively, such as prioritising tasks and setting a realistic schedule is essential when working at the office. Why should it be any different when you work from home? Reflect on how your work regime is usually structured and try to implement it into your home environment.
If you’re used to breaking up your workload in hour-long blocks, with your breaks and lunch hour divided equally throughout the day, keep to this at home as well.
Does your work require input from your co-workers? If you do have the luxury of flexible working hours, you should keep in mind when your colleagues are available. Communicate where and when you will be working well in advance, so that your team can co-ordinate how to reach you in your physical absence.
It might be worthwhile to plan your workload for working from home well in advance. You might want to check with your line manager to see if they have any comments or suggestions for you to maintain the workload they have come to expect from you.
Get Dressed for Work
When working from home, productivity should still be your number one priority. You might think that working in your pyjamas when at home won’t make a difference to your output. However, according to a survey commissioned by Printerland.co.uk, 35% of workers lack the motivation to get changed when working from home.
Uniforms are often implemented in the workplace to encourage a professional image and environment. Wearing a professional uniform encourages workers to associate the dress code with what is expected from them in the workplace.
When you work from home and opt for casual dress, it may impact your approach to work as changing into your uniform is the beginning of your workday routine. If you miss out this first step, you might be more likely to be more relaxed in your approach to work, and therefore your productivity will decline.
Work from Home at a Workspace
When you reflect on how to be productive when working from home, take some inspiration from your office workspace. This is where you get your work done most of the time, after all.
A productive worker will spend most of their workday at their desk, and for good reason. It is where they can access everything they need and focus on the task at hand with minimal distractions.
When you are at work, you are provided with the tools to manage your workload as efficiently as possible. Make sure you have access to everything you would expect to have when working at the office, such as a computer as well as any specialist software needed to carry out certain tasks.
If your desk at the office has a particular layout that works for you, try to introduce those features into your home. This will help you to associate your surroundings with where you go to work, rather than where you go to relax.
Work environments are best when they are away from distractions, and your home is bound to be full of them. If you have a spare room that you can convert into a temporary office when the need arises, consider setting up a desk there rather than slouching on the sofa or working in bed.
Consider Using an Internet Blocker
The internet can be a useful resource for your work, such as for conducting research or emailing clients, but it can also be a major distraction. Social media, news coverage and all kinds of information are readily available at a few clicks of a button.
If you can’t trust yourself to be disciplined with unregulated internet access, you may want to consider using an internet blocker.
Limit your internet access with a blocker or a restriction app, which you can program to take affect for a pre-determined amount of time. This will allow you to focus on your workload without the temptation of a quick internet browse, which can take valuable time away from the task at hand.
Following these suggestions on how to be productive when working from home will help to keep you focused and making the most of your work schedule, so that you don’t fall behind on deadlines and maintain the quality of work that you are capable of.