Someone in your office coughed and now everyone is asked to work remotely. So, now you must figure out how to successfully work from home. For many people working in an office environment provides much needed structure and can be a place with fewer distractions – or at least different kinds of distractions. So, how can you create a suitable work environment in your living or dining room?
As a Productivity Coach and Solopreneur and I have been working from my home my entire adult life. Many of my clients struggle with productivity and staying organized and on top of deadlines and projects on a regular basis. Working from home can make those challenges even more difficult. There are some amazing benefits, however, to working from home (below taken from Order! A logical Approach to an Organized Way of Life):
- You eliminate travel time getting to and from an office.
- You will have fewer car expenses.
- You don’t have to wear shoes 😉
- You are home in time for dinner with your family
- If a child is sick (or you are for that matter) you are where it is comfortable and easier to handle that
- If you need to wait for a repairperson – you are right there.
- You can choose the times when you work – if your job allows for that option
In many ways, working from home can be an optimal solution for many people and in today’s technological world – it is a great situation for many. Some people regularly work one or two days a week from home. If you are concerned about how to set up a home environment for work success — read on.
Here Are 6 Steps To Be Productive While Working From Home:
1. Maintain Your Regular Work Hours:
This is crucial because it is tempting to sleep in a bit, because who is going to notice, right? But the truth is YOU will notice, and it could become a bad habit and hard to break. Consistency in your schedule is necessary to stay on track with all your tasks and keep your brain in the game too.
2. Get Dressed And Get Ready As If You Were Going Into Work:
Since you may end up on a conference call at some point, it’s probably a good idea to get out of your pajamas, brush your hair, and make yourself presentable. You don’t necessarily have to get as dressed up as you would if you were heading into the office, but you may FEEL better and be more productive if you are dressed in something other than your t-shirt and slippers. If you do have to be on a video call, you can always put on a nice shirt and just don’t stand up when the camera is on.
3. Select A Space To Work In That Has The Least Amount Of Distractions:
If you don’t have a suitable home office, you may need to work on the dining room table or a family room. Find a location in your home that is conducive to the kind of work you will be doing. Stay out of the room with the big screen TV or gaming devices nearby. Some find that staying far from their kitchen is also helpful so they don’t need to start a diet following their work-from-home experience. You may find that your living room is great for conference calls, and your dining room is good for project tasks. It’s okay to move around within your home –just keep your tools and materials together (if you have them) and stay organized wherever you settle to work.
4. Establish Boundaries Now:
Determine tasks you WON’T allow yourself to get distracted by and engaged in while at home. It is so very tempting to go to the kitchen for a snack when you are supposed to be writing a report. Or putting a load of laundry in while on hold during a phone call, or watching a new TEDTalk, but these are not good uses of your work time. Keep in mind that when you are at the office you are not doing those things – so resist the temptation to do tasks around the house you would not have been there to do otherwise. Make your boundaries known if your spouse or housemates are home too so that there is a good understanding as to what you can and cannot be disturbed for. If you normally have someone watching your young children at home, keep that in place so you can be free to get work done. A bonus is that you can play with your kids when on a work break!
5. Create A List Of Small Tasks You May Wish To Do While Home:
To that end…There may be a home chore tugging at you, or you want to marinate something for dinner. This is completely okay to do – but only during planned breaks. If you allow yourself to engage in what I refer to as “Productive Procrastination” while you should be working, you may never get your real work completed. Schedule breaks, as you would at the office, and tackle the tasks you designated to work on during those breaks. If you find yourself popping out of your chair to “just do that one little thing in your house” you may realize at the end of the day that you got a lot of non-urgent, and not important items done, and the big report due tomorrow is still hours away from completion.
6. Keep Contact With Co-Workers:
If everyone is working from home, you can’t run down the hall and consult on a project – so use the online tools you have to keep the projects on target. To that end; don’t become annoying to others by PMing co-workers all day long, or they won’t be able to get their work done either. Consider setting a time near the beginning and/or at the end of each day to have a ‘recap’ call with team-members to go over what everyone accomplished and plan what the following day will entail.
While working from home, remember that this is not an opportunity to binge watch your favorite TV program. You are on the clock; it is a workday; and you have work to do. Keep your boundaries in mind, and avoid the temptation to drift to an activity, that is not work related nor moving your productivity along.