The thought of avoiding morning traffic and getting through the ‘to do’ list in absolute peace makes you wonder why more people don’t work from home as it’s a pretty appealing notion. With so much technology at hand, it’s now possible for employees in all kinds of industries to work from home.
However, as any regular home-workers will know, there are some unique challenges that come with not leaving your house in the morning. Offices are built for working, whereas your home is dedicated to relaxation – staying productive can be tough. Here are a few ways to help you to stay focused.
It’s nice to spend the day in the comfort of your own home, but too much relaxation is a bad thing when work needs to be done. The best way to avoid switching off is to act as though you’re still going to work. This starts the night before; set your alarm for the usual waking time and make sure you stick to it come the morning.
There’s no need to put on workwear when you’re working from home, but pyjamas should be avoided too. Find a balance between the two by going for some casual working clothes – the kind you’d wear on a dress-down Friday. This should help to trick your mind into thinking it’s still time to work.
Peace and quiet are wonderful things, and you should have plenty of both at home. That’s not to say you can shut yourself off completely. You’ll still need to stay on top of emails and be ready at the end of the phone in case your input is needed somewhere. Instead of keeping up with your inbox in real-time, though, try checking for new messages at regular intervals. This’ll give you a guilt-free and welcome break from the work you’re doing, while also allowing you to stay on top of important goings-on.
Don’t just rely on conventional communication methods either. With the help of technologies like Skype and FaceTime, you can still talk face-to-face with your colleagues back in the office should the need arise.
It’s really important to have your own space when working from home. Set up a more long-term environment from which you can work and make sure you’re able to shut yourself away without being disturbed.
When you are setting up your own space, think about the things that would make a typical office environment such as a spacious desk, an adjustable chair, computer/ laptop. Non-essentials like plants and pictures can help set the right mood too, just as they would in the office.
Your home can be full of distractions with the television being the main cause. However that’s not to say that you have to work in complete silence all the time. Music can be great for concentration if you know what to choose.
Studies have shown that lyrics are the most distracting aspect of music, as you’re naturally trying to work out what’s being said. This is why most of the ‘focus’ playlists you find online are made up of ambient and instrumental tracks. If you do insist on having something livelier on, make sure it’s an artist you know well – if you know the words already, you won’t be listening so intensely.
Last but not least, don’t overdo it! Just because you’re at home and comfortable, it doesn’t mean you can skip breaks. Take regular walks around the house to get away from the computer screen, and be sure to leave the house at least once during the day; the fresh air will work wonders.