10 TIPS for Working from Home Successfully
By Agora Strategic Advisor, Kevin Brownlee
Many of you are working from home, which can be less productive, worrisome to your employer, and frustrating to you both. However, those don’t have to be!
My Wife has enjoyed working from home for several years and is more productive at home than she ever was in the office. How is she so productive? How does she stay focused? How does she actually enjoy working from home?
Here are ten specifics she’s taught me:
1. Get dressed and ready for work, just like you would if you were going into the office. Shower, shave or apply make-up, put on your work attire. Simply go through your routine just as if you were heading into the office or work site.
2. Eat breakfast and make coffee before you sit down for business for the day. Don’t allow those to interrupt your work, by taking the time to get them out of the way before you start.
3. Remove distractions from your work environment. Keep your work time your work time. No radio, television, personal phone, pets, snacks, kids, etc., and also make your home office environment most like that of your work office.
4. Give your boss/company 60 minutes of work for every hour of pay. When you are “on the clock” working, work! Refrain from doing any house chores or projects, including laundry, doing the dishes, or even making lunch when you are supposed to be working.
5. Take scheduled breaks. Breaks actually make your work-time more productive. Take 15-minute breaks every 2 hours or so to give your mind a break, and something to look forward to. Don’t only browse the internet or check Facebook then, but get up and do something that also gives your posture a break from sitting. Take a lunch break for 30 minutes to an hour just as you normally would at the office, and do so away from your workspace. After eating, take a walk around the block or city park. Walking and fresh air do wonders for your productivity.
6. Give a quick call to co-workers or friends for just a few minutes to chat about what happened during the weekend or discuss sports – similar to what you would talk about around the watercooler or breakroom at the office. We all need to communicate with others lightheartedly and personally. The key is talking to others on the phone, an email or text doesn’t work.
7. Separate work from home. Leave your work-related problems or issues work! Give yourself time to “unwind” after your workday ends and before you enter your home. When you close your laptop at the end of the day or close the door to your home office, do something that will create the sense of shutting the door to work and opening the door to home. Nothing from work should come into the home, including a work-like attitude.
8. Hide your workspace. Close your home office door, or cover your workspace with a blanket. Do something to simulate you are shutting down your work for the day and will reopen the next workday. Do not allow the temptation to reopen your computer or resend one last email or
work on one last item.
9. Schedule distractions. Articulate, and make provisions for no interruptions during your work time. Your family, pets, neighbors, etc. need to know when you are working, you are not to be interrupted except in an emergency. Schedule time during your breaks, or after work for quality and quantity time with them, especially your spouse. If done properly and consistently, you will gain their reverence and they will accommodate your requests.
10. Revise your commute. Since most of us no longer have the 20-40-minute commute to and from work, there is no longer the “ramp-up” and “wind-down” period of time we have become accustomed to. Replace your commute time with something edifying such as a 20-minute walk or jog or bike ride while listening to your favorite uplifting podcast or music. To some, this may be a 20-minute relaxing bath or spend the time on your hobby. Anything that will help you transition from workspace to home space, with an uplifting theme. See item 9 above, which applies to this time too.
The key to working from home successfully is to be intentional at setting these tips in place, tailored to your situation, and having the self-discipline to maintain and preserve them.
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