If you are considering working from home, you should be prepared for the occasional cat vomit and noisy neighbor. The benefits to working from home far outweigh these minor annoyances, however. You get to set your own hours, wear whatever clothes you want, and eat lunch in bed! Working at home has many perks that make it a great choice for some people.
There are many reasons why top talent would rather work from home. But which environment actually allows them to be more productive: the home office or the office?
In the office, your coworkers often pose the greatest threat to keeping you from getting some real, heads-down work done. They drop by your desk and invite you for lunch in order to socialize with their colleagues – when really they’re just trying not to go stir crazy all day long! This can be a challenge if it’s easy for you to get distracted easily (or even sometimes).
In an ideal situation, we would spend our time at home working on tasks without interruption but unfortunately, that is rarely what happens as we have roommates or family members who need attention too. It becomes difficult when there are people around us constantly approaching us about every little thing that needs doing or talking over important phone calls because of how chatty they may be.
Since it’s just you, there is no one to keep up appearances for. At work, people are always looking and judging other employees but at the home office, they can be themselves without any judgment from others. There isn’t the same peer pressure or obligation either which in turn provides more opportunities to relax after a long day of work instead of taking on additional tasks because nobody will know if not done anyways.
At the home office, I find that it is easy for you to become your own worst enemy. It can be really tempting when there are no coworkers around because then all of those pesky inhibitions and responsibilities drop away. No one’s watching or judging what you do at a home office — so if nothing else, maybe try working on not being yourself?
Tips if You Work From Home
1. Maintain regular schedules
Work-life balance is important, but it can be a balancing act to maintain. When you work remotely, there are fewer opportunities for social interaction and that time with family members or friends becomes more precious than ever before. This means making sure your schedule allows enough flexibility for those moments when they come up – whether that’s an early start so someone else has the day off in their own time zone, taking some extra hours now and then because other people need them too, or finding ways to make yourself available during different times of the day if necessary.
You may think you’re being productive, but is your schedule really giving your productivity the best shot it can? If you use RescueTime or a similar app to track how much time on task versus off-task during each day then at the end of that week you will be able to see where and when most of those invisible hours are spent. You’ll also know what times of the day tend to have a higher output than others for yourself so if there’s an important meeting coming up with clients who need results by Friday afternoon, make sure not only they don’t happen between 9–11 am (when I found my highest performance) but take care as well about scheduling them the early morning before lunchtime too!
2. Make social media less tempting as a distraction.
Social media is a great tool for your personal life, but it can be the bane of your work productivity. At home you might use Facebook to schedule parties or Instagram as an art gallery; at work, these networks are only adding to impede on what really matters: getting things done! To keep from being too tempted by all those notifications popping up in our browser tabs (Facebook has over one billion monthly active users!), remove social networking shortcuts and log out of all accounts during working hours. If that doesn’t cut down enough temptation, try using private browsing with Chrome’s Incognito mode – this will minimize distractions without sacrificing access when needed most later on.
This ensures you stay signed out of all your accounts and each web search you conduct doesn’t autocomplete the word you’re typing. It’s a guarantee that while at work, social media breaks will be few and far between.
3. Establish ground rules with those living or working in your space.
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space when you work. For example, if you have children who are learning at home or come from school while still working, they need clear guidelines about what they can and cannot do during that time. If you live together with another adult which is already employed at the same residence as I am, it’s important to agree on a few principles like quiet times for study sessions and meeting hours so we don’t disturb each-others efforts too much by being always present around one another.
Furthermore, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume that’s how things always are. If this is your method for dividing up domestic labor then good on ya! However, if it simply becomes a default habit to do everything when they know you’ll be at home anyway, don’t feel like less of an equal partner in the household.
4. Monitor your home environment for distractions and take care to work when you are most productive.
You’ll never sprint through your work from morning to evening, and that’s alright. Your motivation will naturally ebb and flow throughout the day but when you’re working at home it is of utmost importance to know what those ebbs are so as not to be wasting time on a task that isn’t moving forward.
Design your day to not only be more productive but also less overwhelming. Save the difficult tasks for when you know that you will have enough mental stamina and emotional energy to tackle them properly. Use lighter points of the day as a breather so that these small victories can build up eventually lead to tackling heavier projects with ease later in the evening or on another time frame rather than waiting until tomorrow morning where there may be too much pressure from other priorities.
5. Set breaks for yourself
If you are an organizational employee, take your allotted break times. If you work for yourself and have a computer-based job or other sedentary position, make sure to get up from time to time during the day. It is also important to move your eyes away from the screen regularly even if it’s just for 10 seconds at a time; this will help increase blood circulation throughout the body which in turn helps prevent eye strain and fatigue as well as backache among others.
6. Plan out your work schedule ahead of time
People often find themselves wanting to rearrange their tasks on the fly, but it’s important that you commit yourself wholly to your agenda for one day before figuring out what will happen next. Spend some time planning activities ahead of time so they don’t feel like a chore when you get started and plan them as close as possible today. It’ll help make tomorrow seem less daunting because every task has been completed up until this point in order!
7. Use technology to stay updated and connected
Working from home can be a great way to stay focused on your work, but it also means that you will feel disconnected from the rest of the team. Instant messaging and videoconferencing are easy ways for you to check in periodically without being too disruptive- which is good because nobody likes an interruption! Remember though: this shouldn’t replace face time, so if there’s something urgent going on or someone needs help – don’t hesitate to head back into the office.
8. When working from home, match your
music to the task you’re undertaking.
Like gamers who listen to soundtracks at work, you can find inspiration in the music that accompanies your favorite game. As a soundtrack for our professional lives, it makes sense: like video games and their lyric-free tunes designed with a concentration in mind–the best way to get through an intense project is by tuning out any extra noise (including music).
9. Set expectations for home time with any family members or roommates who will be home with you.
When you’re working from home, it’s important to keep your space professional. This means that any roommates, siblings or parents should respect the boundaries between work and personal time during designated hours- even if they are also in the house with you. Make sure spouses and dogs (well maybe not dogs) know when is appropriate for social interaction as well!
10 Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
If you need a desk, call your company’s HR department and ask for one. If they don’t have enough desks to give everyone who wants them their own, then make sure that the person on top of the totem pole knows how much work-from-home employees can save when given these basic necessities.
It is important to set a precedent early on that you will ask what it takes for your job. These items might include the right monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair desk, and so forth. Organizations that are accustomed to remote employees often have an allowance of home office equipment such as software or printers in order for them to be successful at work from their homes instead of coming into the building every day do not worry about asking what these things would cost because they may already offer one without even knowing it.
If you’re working from home short-term and are expected to return to an office when it’s safe, ask for what you need without fear of compromise. Ordering a new office chair and desk might be off the table but there is still plenty that can make your environment more conducive to work. For example order a mouse, keyboard, laptop riser, or back support cushion which will cost less than $200 altogether. There are other cheap fixes as well such as placing furniture in front of windows with natural light so they don’t distract; adding curtains on all sides if possible (especially behind monitors) because glare makes reading difficult; removing any small objects near keyboards since clutter breeds distraction—the list goes on.