How to: Work from home

How to work from home

Working from home: you either love it or loathe it.

For some of us, the idea of working remotely within the comfort of our own home is the perfect embodiment of a work/life balance. However, if you find it difficult to focus and get things done outside of the office (insert ‘easily-distracted’ here), working from home can be easier said than done.

To help you maintain your productivity while you’re working from home, here are some of our top tips:

Work on your workspace

First things first: if you’re going to be as productive as you are in the office, you need to think like you’re in the office. And that means making sure you have the right tools to do the job.

Avoid sitting sedentary on the sofa if possible, and if you have a desk, make sure you use it. Stock up on office supplies before you start to avoid any time wasted wondering where to put your waste paper. It sounds like simple stuff, but creating a slightly more formal setting will help you keep in the office-mindset.

And if you’re thinking you can probably get a lot done lying in bed all day, think again. The temptation to nap is far too strong…

Plan your time

Once you know where you’re working, plan your day accordingly.

Write a to-do list of the tasks you need to complete before the close of play and attach set times to your activities wherever possible. That way you can build a realistic picture of everything you want to achieve during the day.

Not only will it help maintain your focus, imposing deadlines on yourself is also a handy way to try and keep distractions to a minimum.

Turn off the television

OK, so you work better with a little background noise, and you’re excellent at multitasking. The television shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

The truth is, whether you’re tuning into to your favourite show or not, even the best of us can get drawn in by some classic daytime televisual delights. All it takes is a catchy theme tune or a nice bit of nostalgia, and your attention could be lost for afternoons on end. So, to avoid temptation, turn it off.

The same goes for social media or news sites. Ask yourself: would I be doing this at work? If the answer’s no, it should probably be the same whilst working from home.

Take breaks

All work and no play is not a good strategy. Distractions are one thing, but avoiding a little time off to break up the day is quite another.

Make sure you take regular breaks, or a regular lunch break at the very least (going al-desko in your dining room does not count).

Even something as simple as going for a walk or sitting outside in the sun can help recharge your batteries and avoid burning yourself out.

Work set office hours

Working from home is not the same as flexitime. To put it simply, you’re at work. So work your regular hours.

It can be all too tempting to start a little later, or finish whenever you choose, but it’s a temptation you should avoid at all costs.

And let’s face it, you’ve managed to circumvent your commute (no, five second commutes don’t count). The least you can do is work your contracted hours.

Keep connected

Finally, one of the most important arguments against working remotely is the lack of collaboration and communication between colleagues. To combat this, make sure you’re connected at all times.

Whether it’s a quick call to the office to check in, instant messaging information about the latest product iterations or simply responding to your co-workers emails in a timely fashion, keeping in touch should never be underestimated.

And, if you’ve made a to-do list, send it to your boss to keep him in the loop. At the very least, it shows that you’re actually attempting to work.

Honourable mentions: Plan childcare or activities to keep the kids busy, turn off your personal profiles and telephones, get dressed, bathe.

Final thoughts

Whether you work from home full-time, or on more of an infrequent basis, the key to keeping your output productive is to keep focused at all times.

Maintain the same mindset as you would in your workplace. If you see working remotely as a day to slack off, you’re already starting on the wrong foot.

And if you’re still struggling, try this tip: imagine your boss was in your house. If he or she wouldn’t be happy with how you were spending your day, it may be time to mend your ways.