Tips to Work from Home More Effectively (The New Frontier: Working from Home)
Of all the abrupt changes society has gone through the past year and a half, one of the more lasting is the transition from working in the office to working from home. According to one study, 70% of companies are planning on adopting a hybrid work model and at least 97% of workers want some form of work-from-home.
This new movement has some amazing benefits: less commuting, more flexibility, more time to spend with friends and family.
However, working from home has its own unique challenges. How do you maintain a work-life balance when your work is at home? How do you stay focused throughout the day, especially if you live with children or roommates?
To help you tackle these problems, this article will be the first in a new blog series I’m calling “The New Frontier: Working from Home.”
Below are some actionable steps you can take to create the sanity needed to manage work and home from the same place.
- Create a separate workspace
When you go into the office, you automatically have a clear separation between work and home. So when you’re working from home, you need to create a space designated for work. Whether that’s a whole home office or a desk in your room is up to you, but outfit it accordingly. Make sure you have reliable wifi, a comfy chair, and any other technology you need to do your job.
- Or go to a different location
I often find that getting out and working at a cafe or library—somewhere other than home—increases my productivity. Try it out. If you hit a wall at work, take a walk. Make time to get out of the house everyday, even if only for a short while.
- Maintain a schedule
This is crucial. Keeping a morning and evening routine will help you feel better, more productive, and generally sane. You don’t have to have the same schedule everyday—heaven knows that’s impossible for some people (AKA me)—but creating a schedule the night before will help you stay focused the next day.
- Pick a clear start and end time
This piece of advice goes along well with maintaining a schedule. Decide when you will start and end work each day, whether that’s 9 to 5 or 10:30 to 7:15. Doing so will help you delineate between work and rest.
- Set boundaries and expectations for anyone who will be home with you
Living with someone, especially if that someone is a child, can make it more difficult to work from home. Have a conversation with whoever you share your space with and make it clear that during whatever period of time you decide, you’ll need to focus on work. This sort of conversation will differ depending on who you live with, but it’s important to have. If you have children, it will help minimize distraction. If you live with a roommate, it might help keep you accountable.
- Minimize distractions
Speaking of distractions, minimize them as much as possible. Set aside your phone, turn off the TV, and refrain from scrolling on social media. If you have trouble concentrating or finding the energy to get started working, set a timer for 20 minutes. Work until the timer goes off, then take a 5 minute break. This is a trick I do myself, and I’m always more productive and focused when I do it.
- Remember to take breaks
Taking breaks is crucial no matter what, but especially when managing your own time. If you usually take a half hour for lunch, take that full half hour at home. Don’t shortchange yourself just because you’re not in the office.
- Interact with people
As an extrovert, being around other people fills me with energy. I need to plan time to be around others, whether that be spending time with a friend or sitting in a cafe surrounded by other people. Interestingly enough, research has shown that introverts have been most affected by the work from home shift, as they no longer have an excuse to see anyone. No matter who you are, you need social interaction. Reach out to your coworkers, both those in and out of the office. Have lunch with a friend. Do something to keep yourself from becoming isolated.
- Stay in contact with the office and your coworkers
It can be incredibly easy to never speak with your coworkers, especially those working in the office, when you’re working from home. However, it’s important to maintain those relationships, as it will help you feel connected to your work and remind people that you are still a valuable part of the team.
- Know the ground rules from your employer
Of course, working from home can’t be successful without knowing what your employer expects from you. Set up a meeting with your boss and ask for the ground rules. Some examples of what to ask might be:
- Do you expect me to be available during regular work hours, or can I work a flexible schedule?
- Are there any days I need to come by the office?
- What is the best method of communication to keep me connected to the rest of the team/office?
Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your work from home experience.
Do you have anything that’s helped you work more effectively from home? Contact us and let me know! I’m always looking for what others have to say, and I’d love to hear from you.