Working from home has grown exponentially over the past two decades as technology gives workers the freedom and flexibility to work beyond the confines of an office. Workers have the freedom and flexibility that gives them time to focus on the things they love to succeed professionally while balancing their personal lives. Some people find that they are more productive when they can choose their schedule without the distractions of an office environment. Remote work also benefits employers because they are open to a pool of applicants beyond their geographical area. They can broaden their reach and hire great talent anywhere in the country.
At the same time, working from home poses challenges such as maintaining boundaries between professional life and home life and staying focused on work tasks. To maximize your productivity while working from home, it’s essential to establish a positive mindset, create an environment conducive to productivity, and maintain a positive work-life balance.
Mindset and Environment
A dedicated workspace will empower you to maximize efficiency and minimize distractions. Whether it’s a spare room in your home or a corner in your living area, it should be a space that inspires and motivates you to put in your best effort, and when you finish the day, you can set aside your tasks for the day and enjoy your time off. Install a desk where you can work comfortably for extended periods of time. Your workspace should put you in the mindset to tackle the day and accomplish your best work.
Set the same limits for your home life as your work life. Even though you’re at home, that doesn’t mean you’re responsible for duties around the house, like cleaning the bathroom or meeting with the plumber. Set boundaries for yourself and other household members to keep your work time uninterrupted. It will be tempting to hop on the computer whenever you’re anxious about a task or a project, but you need rest and respite to feel energized.
Working at the office with your peers and supervisors holds you accountable, but working from home requires strong independence and self-sufficiency. Set a consistent schedule, and show up at the same time every day.
Plan your day, organize your tasks, and develop a system for following up. When you work from home, it may be tempting to show up in your sweatpants or skip a shower, but even business casual attire will put you in a mindset that sets you up for success.
Time management tools such as Time Doctor, Toggl, or Pomodoro can help you stay focused on a task, and task management tools such as Trello or Todoist can help you prioritize and promptly follow through on tasks.
Communication and Collaboration
Communicating with your team is trickier when you can’t swing by their desk to ask them a quick question. Scheduling daily or weekly check-ins will allow team members to ask questions, clarify expectations, and manage a project’s progress. Video conferencing is a valuable substitute for the one-on-one interaction team members miss from working in the office together. Many teams rely on Zoom and Google Meet to fill the need.
Many remote teams have found programs like Slack or Microsoft Teams to communicate quickly and efficiently. Accountability is another hurdle facing remote teams, and project management tools such as Monday.com and Asana help them monitor a project’s progress so that they meet their deadlines on time.
Health and Wellness
Just like you need to set boundaries for work time, you should also set boundaries for personal time to reduce stress and avoid burnout. You may feel tempted to take a nap or extend your lunch break. It takes discipline and self-regulation not to oversleep or cut out early so that you can indulge in a Netflix binge. At the same time, you will be more stressed out if you jump to your desk every time you remember something you didn’t get done. These little habits can positively impact your health and wellness.
Rather than jumping out of bed, make time for a morning routine with a nourishing breakfast and schedule breaks in your schedule. Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks, and always keep a water bottle at your desk. Get up and stretch or go for a walk at regular intervals to avoid sitting for long periods. Follow a workout regimen just as you would working at the office. Of course, one of the best benefits of working from home is having more time to spend with your loved ones and nurturing those personal relationships will refresh you when you sit down to work. Finally, if you have good time management skills, it will be easier to maintain a positive work-life balance.
How can I stay motivated while working from home?
Establish a routine to keep yourself motivated. It may be tempting to slack off or get distracted by household chores. Hold yourself accountable for getting to your desk at the same time every day, and schedule regular breaks. Set and track daily goals to give you a feeling of accomplishment.
What are the best practices for setting up a home office?
Choose a designated workspace in a quiet area of your home away from high-traffic areas. Install a desk and chair where you feel comfortable sitting for long periods. Make sure you have quality lighting, whether natural light from a window or interior lighting, to keep you in a bright mood. Set up all the necessary equipment, such as computers, keyboards, and charging cables. Finally, create an organizational system to minimize clutter and maintain a tidy workspace.
How can I avoid distractions and maintain focus?
Communicate with household members about your work schedule and stick to the plan. That way, they know to refrain from interfering with your work and respect your space. Hold yourself accountable with time management tools or regular check-ins with your teammates. Use noise-canceling headphones or headsets to limit background noise when on a call.
What are the best time management techniques for remote workers?
Avoid multitasking as much as possible. Identify your most important tasks each day and commit yourself to complete them first. Time-tracking tools such as Toggl or RescueTime will help you monitor your activity and show how you spend your time. You can also use the Pomodoro technique, which involves working in focused 25-minute increments followed by a 5-minute break.
Working from home allows employees to balance their work and personal lives. To maximize productivity and remain focused, it’s vital that workers develop a positive mindset, maintain a productive work environment, and set boundaries between their personal and professional lives. With discipline and a proactive approach, remote workers can enjoy the benefits of working from home while reaching their full potential.