In theory, working from home sounds great. You don’t need to commute, you can work in your pajamas, avoid office politics and expensive lunch bills. But, well the distractions mean it can be a lot more difficult to stay focused and productive.
It goes without saying that doing work from home is very different than doing work in the office. In the office you have a working environment which helps you to be focused, you are surrounded by busy colleagues and all of that keeps you motivated to stay on task. But in the home, the situation can be very different. You are surrounded by distractions that pull you away from work. Whether it’s social media or your five-year-old, there is so much more scope for work evasion and procrastination.
To work effectively from home you need a system and you need self-discipline. Without those pillars, your work-life balance will be in tatters, and both your private and your professional life will feel the strain. Here are a few tried and tested ways to make working from home work for you:
1. Make a timetable
Make a timetable for your day and stick to it. Allocate time for work and time for leisure. Make it clear to family and friends that when you are at work you’re not to be disturbed. If they need to talk to you and can wait, schedule them in during a break.
2. Use online platforms for communication
With modern technology, there is no need to be isolated when you are working on your own. Video conferencing and meeting technology means that you can even stream HQ all day if you want, just like sitting there alongside them in the office.
There are several platforms and mobile applications available that help you to communicate with your colleagues and companions. Monday.com, for example, is a task management software that enables a remote workforce for the team. If you are a team lead, you can manage your team, communicate to them, and assign tasks to them and a lot more.
Some of the advantages of using these applications are –
- Enables a collaboration of a team on one platform so that the team members can share files and other important media relevant to the project. Some examples of this type of application are Slack, Microsoft teams, and Taskade.
- Other apps provide conference video calls with team members. Video conferencing becomes extremely important when it comes to screen sharing and attending a meeting remotely.
- Many applications provide cloud content collaboration; some of them are Dropbox, Google Drive, ShareFile, etc. These applications enable on-demand access to files and media from remote locations.
3. Decide your goals
It’s hard to beat the good old ‘to do’ list. Write out your goals for the next day as you finish work. Then you’ll be able to start work each day with a clear focus. For many of us, a ticked list is up there on the happiness scale. So put your list on paper, in a notebook and watch those ticks mount up!
4. Decide your priorities
The other thing that can help when you’re working from home, in terms of daily goals, is to get the worst tasks out of the way first. There’s a book all about this, called ‘Eat that Frog.’ I can’t remember why it has that title, but basically it is all about getting the horrible tasks done first to free up your mind from the anxiety that can build up when you’re putting off something unpleasant. Do it first, you’ll feel better and you’ll get through a lot more work.
5. Sort your work space
Ideally, you will have a separate office space at home. Somewhere where you can shut the door and keep your work entirely separate from home life. If that is not possible, then try to make sure that your work space, whether it’s a corner of your living room or the kitchen table, is dedicated to working.
If you have to work around others, then invest in noise-canceling earphones and position your desk so that you are looking away from their activities. Looking out the window can be pleasant, or at a wall if necessary. Put up your work planner and relevant or inspiring materials.
6. Manage to get good Wi-Fi
A good internet facility and wi-fi are essential. While working from home, you will need to remotely connect with your office. You may need to share your screen, documents, and video conference. One other advantage of having a good internet facility is that you can access files from cloud storage. Don’t scrimp on internet access, make sure that you have the best connection available.
With a bit of planning and structure, working from home can be a delight. Without a plan, your business will suffer and so will your mental health. But if you take the time to really think about how to work from home effectively, then you will save both time and money and both you and the business will thrive.