Despite what the naysayers have predicted, working from home is not just a short-lived trend. In fact, it’s still on the rise. Two years ago, Forbes reported that “some 30 million of us work from a home office at least once a week … and that number is expected to increase by 63% in the next five years.” Another report, from Huffington Post, found that “Sixty-seven percent of employers were allowed occasional remote work in 2014 … up from 50 percent in 2008.”
With that kind of growth, it’s likely that you’ll eventually find yourself with the opportunity to telecommute, if you don’t already. And, while working from home does have many perks, it also has its challenges. So here are four ways to maximize your work time at home and stay productive.
Implement a Routine
Your body and mind respond to a routine, so in order to transition from personal mode to work mode at home you need a routine to help flip that switch. Your routine should match your individual needs, but some things that work well for many people are to get up at decent time, get ready, dress in something other than pajamas, eat breakfast, and drink a morning cup of coffee. It may also help to allow yourself a few minutes to scan your email, catch up on any professional blogs that you follow, or skim for news related to your industry.
Designate Your Workspace
Along the same lines as having a routine, you will likely get into your work zone quicker if you have a designated workspace. It may take a little time to figure out exactly what works best for you, though. Some people need an entire room where they can close the door and work in solitude, while others do fine at the kitchen table or even at the local coffee shop. The main thing is to find what works best for you and then stick to it.
Cut Out The Distractions
One of the perks to working from home is that many people find it helps with work-life balance. However, your work can quickly suffer if you don’t limit your distractions. Keep the TV turned off, stay off of social networking sites, and cut out personal phone calls. If you have children and it’s possible to arrange childcare, do it, even if it’s just for a few hours. Also, make it clear to family and friends that just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you’re available.
Set Clear Daily Goals
Setting daily goals, or at least keeping a list of tasks to accomplish each day, is good practice, no matter where you’re working. However, it’s especially helpful at keeping you on track when you’re working from home. When distractions do pop up, whether it’s a lunch invite from a friend or a household chore that keeps calling your name, you can look at your list and use it to help make the best decision.
Working from home is a great option for many of today’s working professionals. Many people find they’re able to accomplish more, focus better, and increase their creativity when they work away from the office. It just takes a little extra diligence to ensure you stay productive and maximize your work time.
What type of flexible work options does your company provide? How do you stay productive when working from home? Let us know in the comments section below.