Friday’s Game Plan: Working From Home

For one, you can’t escape the stresses from the office at home, because the two are meshed. I’ve worked from home quite a bit in the past and it definitely has its pros and cons. I’ve come across a few helpful tips for making working from home both productive and balanced.

1. Adhere to a schedule

When you go into an office, you generally have a set office schedule, but when working from home you have the ability to create your own. Creating a schedule that you stick to is important, let clients know when you are available and when the office closes. Make sure to allow yourself time for lunch and a break.

2. Eliminate Distractions

Working from home can be distracting, you see the dishes or the laundry piling up and think to yourself about cleaning and then you find yourself distracted from work. TV is another big time zap, find a space for your desk that is away from distractions and allows you to work your best.

3. Take breaks

This goes back to adhering to a schedule and pacing yourself. Try and get outside and go for a walk, or stop by your local coffee shop and pick up a coffee. By spending time outside you can more easily decompress.

4. Regroup

At the end of each workday, be sure to clean up your desk and organize your space. Keep your important files within reach and jot down important notes for the next day that way you can clear them from your mind for the night.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a more productive time working from home.

Adhere to a schedule:

Individuals working from home have the luxury of creating their own schedule, but it is still important to treat your day like a regular work day. That means, waking up early, allotting a reasonable amount of time for lunch, and making yourself available to coworkers and clients at the same hours each day. This not only helps make you more productive, but it also ensures that you aren’t wasting your coworker’s or client’s time.

Eliminate Distractions:

A home office is an easy place to get distracted. Televisions, the Internet, spouses, and children can all contribute to a decrease in work productivity. While computers and the Internet are almost essential to perform any job in this digital age and therefore impossible to do without, utmost care should be taken to remove all other distractions from the working environment. You should choose an environment that is most relaxing to you. This could mean the peace and quiet of a basement or the beauty and radiance of a sun room.

Keep in touch:

The modern employee uses a variety of technologies to stay in touch with coworkers. Email, instant messengers, text messages, and phone calls are absolutely vital to communicate effectively with coworkers and clients. Keeping them up-to-date with progress on projects will help both parties work at an optimal level. As mentioned previously, making yourself available between predefined hours is a great way to stay productive.

Take Breaks:

A Gallup Poll conducted in 2000 showed that 80% of workers feel stress on the job and over half said they need help managing it. Working from home may help alleviate some of the stresses that come from a regular 9-5, but it may also create some new ones. After all, it is somewhat hard to escape the stresses of the office when you live in one. A great way to avoid “burning out” is to pace oneself throughout the work day. Short breaks every couple of hours can go a long way to reducing stress. Lastly, don’t be afraid to close your laptop and turn off your work phone when 5pm rolls around. You obviously need to finish all work-related responsibilities, but you are not obligated to be on call 24/7.

Stay Organized:

Clutter kills productivity! Excess clutter is a distraction and can make it awfully difficult to find what you need amongst a mess of paper. The solution, go paperless! Throw away all sticky-notes, calendars, and to-do list and opt for their electronic equivalent. Removing all non-work related materials from your desk will help you stay focused on the job at hand. If you aren’t the type to continually maintain a clean working environment, dedicate a day in the week to tidying up.