Almost 10% of white-collar workers in the US now work from home on a full-time basis, and more than 40% of all white-collar workers work from home at least once per week. This flexible work arrangement is one that costs employers nothing but engenders high engagement from employees. While many people report that they are more productive when they work from home, many also struggle with the blurred line between home and work. To combat that, try implementing some of these protocols to make working at home efficient.
Have a designated workspace. Don’t sit on the sofa with your laptop, or camp out in the laundry room. Ideally, your work-at-home workspace should be separate from the rest of your living space. Do you have a spare room you can transform into a home office?
Have dedicated working hours. Commit to working only on work-related tasks for certain hours of the day. Many businesses have “core hours” during which all employees must work. If your employer has a core hours policy, be sure that you stick to it. At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of working all hours day and night. (Sounds like me!)
Equip yourself with the right equipment. That means a good desk and chair, along with a high-quality router and high-speed internet service.
Get dressed. You don’t have to put on a suit every day, but get out of your pajamas! Aim for pants that have a button and a zipper each day. Dress and groom yourself as if you were going to the office.
Let others know that you are working. Just because you are at home and not in the office does not mean that others have carte blanche to interrupt you. If they wouldn’t bother you about something if you were in an office, they shouldn’t bother you about it at home either. This goes for children, too. Just because you are at home instead of in an office does not mean that you are a non-working, stay-at-home parent.
Maintain good contact with colleagues and managers. It’s paramount that you are in regular communication with your coworkers and your boss. In fact, when you’re working remotely, you might even have more interaction with your peers than you would if you were in the office with them daily.
Plan for human interaction. Maybe you can go out for lunch or coffee but be sure to get out of the house. Sitting at home, isolated except for conference calls, is a recipe for loneliness and disaster.
Manage your workflow. Create a daily list of things you need to accomplish. Prioritize that list and work off of it. This will also make it easier for you to write your status reports.
Follow these suggestions to help make your work at home setup work for you. You might even find that you are most efficient when you don’t have to trek into the office.