Many employers offer the opportunity to work from home a few days a month or even most of the time. This sound appealing. However, creating the right environment so that you remain productive, reduce distractions and remain productive is key to successfully working at home.
1. Dedicated Space
Having a space that is just for work and doesn’t double as your bedroom, kitchen or other often-used space is necessary. Just as easily as your home chores might tempt you to work on them during the day, your work will tempt you if it lives on the kitchen counter after dinner. Set up a space in your home that allows you to work when its time to work, and to step away when the evening whistle blows.
2. Limit Distractions
TV, message alerts from your phone and even a busy street view from the window can become distractions that take away from productivity. You don’t have to work in a dungeon, but a workspace that minimizes external distractions. A distraction guideline is to make sure that whatever you do in your home office during work hours, you would do if you were in the office-office.
3. Find Comfort
If you are using an old folding chair and card table as a desk, you might not make it more than a few days without complaining of back pain. Invest in a comfortable chair and workspace that won’t lead you to an appointment with a doctor a few hours into your workday. Build in regular breaks and a lunch hour. Set alarms to make sure you get a break to stretch your legs or grab a cup of coffee.
4. Must Haves
- Make sure you have adequate power sources and enough outlets.
- The WiFi signal needs to be strong enough that you can participate in a web conference without cutting in and out.
- The right lighting can be a deal breaker. Ever tried to read an email on your phone while outside at lunch? You squint and still can’t make out every word. Make sure there are no windows at your back or a purchase a high-quality glare-reducing screen cover.
5. Set Office Hours
Let family, neighbors or co-workers know that you have a certain “office hours.” Make a point to start at the same time every day, maintain a schedule and ask others to be respectful of those hours. Sure, one of the perks of working from home may be your mid-morning dog walk or picking the kids up from school. Build those “breaks” into your workday and maintain hours that your company keeps at the physical office.
6. Test Run
Do a test run at home before committing to working at home. Maybe your neighbor has a noisy dog that barks every time UPS drives by. Maybe the lure of catching up on Netflix shows might be too distracting. Working from home isn’t for everyone. Give it a try and be honest about whether it would be the right decision for you if given the opportunity.