It can be awesome to work from home but it’s not always as easy as it seems. There are many challenges that don’t exist when working in an office but there are steps you can take to make working from home successful.
Working from home may not be for everybody so first, we’ll talk about some of the benefits and disadvantages of teleworking.
Benefits of Working From Home
Many companies allow you to schedule your hours as long as the work gets done.
2. No Commute
With no commute to work, you save both time and money.
3. Money Savings
We already discussed the savings from no commute but you can also save money by not going out to eat for lunch and you may not need as much clothing since you don’t have to have work clothes.
4. Choice of Office Environment
Many work environments require shared offices but when you work remotely you choose where and how you want your office space to be and there is nobody to object.
5. Not Location Dependent
Working from home does not necessarily mean you have to work from home. You can work remotely from just about anywhere with WiFi and a laptop.
6. Fewer Dealings with Co-Workers
You don’t have all the drama and problems that sometimes comes along with being around co-workers all day long.
7. Relaxed Dress Code
Unless your job requires a lot of video meetings you are free to wear whatever you want to work in.
Disadvantages of Working From Home
1. Communication Can be Difficult
Face to face communication is the best form of communication. You can video chat when working remotely but that can be very frustrating. Emails and even phone calls can sometimes be misunderstood making communication more difficult.
2. Remote Work Can Get Lonely
When working from home you lose the interactions with other employees. This can get surprisingly lonely.
There can be many distractions in your house like kids, pets, spouse, and television just to name a few.
4. Relies on Home Supplies
Although some companies give work laptops and possibly a work phone, you are working off your internet and providing your own office space.
5. Productivity May Suffer
Everyone handles working from home differently. For some people productivity increases, while others have a hard time staying productive at home due to distractions in the house. Luckily there are some great tips below to keep your productivity high.
Work From Home Tips
1. Use a Schedule
When working from home a schedule is very important. Set a time when work begins, schedule your breaks, and schedule when your workday ends. If you don’t use a schedule, you will be more likely to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get your work done.
2. Minimize Distractions
There are many distractions when working from home. The television, family, pets, chores around the house and many other things can distract you form your work. You need to find a way to eliminate or reduce these distractions.
You can’t necessarily tell your family to leave but you can let them know about your work hours and tell them not to bother you until your workday is over. This is one distraction you may not be able to eliminate but other distractions like television can be eliminated.
3. Have a Dedicated Work Space
Having a dedicated workspace is not only a great way to help reduce distractions but it also gets you in the right state of mind to work. The best option is to set up an office in a spare room but this may not be an option for you. If not you can set up space in your bedroom or kitchen just try to make sure there is a clear distinction between the normal use of the room and your work use.
You want to avoid using the living room unless you have a separate space set up from where you lounge and relax. Try to save that room for your scheduled breaks. Using the same space that you relax can make it hard to find the motivation to get to work because your subconscious won’t be able to differentiate between work and relaxation.
4. Stick to a Morning Routine
A morning routine is a great way to get yourself in the right state of mind to work. Your morning routine should be consistent each workday to be most beneficial. My morning routine consists of waking up at 0500, making a cup of coffee, reviewing my to-do list for the day, and taking a shower. This routine wakes me up and gets me ready for the day.
5. Get Familiar with Team Apps and Programs
There are some great apps out there that can assist you in staying connected with your team. Take advantage of these apps and use them to be more efficient and productive. At my current employer, we use Viber to help communicate more effectively with groups and we have begun using Microsoft Teams for meetings and shared documents. For a list of more great team management apps click here.
6. Take Sick Days When Needed
Just because you are working from home it doesn’t mean you need to work through sicknesses. If you are sick and your job offers it, take a sick day or two. Working through sicknesses can slow down the body’s process of fighting off the sickness and may even lead to the sickness becoming worse. Especially if your job is stressful. Not to mention it is nearly impossible to give the job 100% when you feel terrible, which can lead to subpar work and results.
7. Keep Communication Lines Open
One of the hardest parts of working from home is maintaining the communication you had when you worked in the office. Don’t be afraid to overcommunicate with emails, phone calls, and chats with your boss, subordinates, or coworkers. These forms of communication aren’t as effective as face to face communication so it is imperative to clarify and make sure you and the person you are communicating with understand each other.
8. Keep a Positive Mindset
I believe a positive mindset is a key to everything in life. Your mindset can determine how well you do when working from home. You will have some challenges that you may not have had to deal with in the office but you will get through those hurdles.
9. Enjoy the Perks of Working From Home
There are many perks when you work from home. Enjoy these perks and make working from home a good thing. You get to work in your sweat pants if you wish. You can take lunch with your family. Depending on the job your hours may be flexible. You also save a ton of time by not traveling back and forth to work. Take advantage of these perks.
10. Don’t Beat Yourself up
Just like being in the office, you will have bad days. Don’t beat yourself up over it too much. Bad days happen. Just figure out what went wrong and find a way to fix it. Tomorrow is a whole new day. That means it’s an opportunity to be better than you were today.
11. Have an Actual End to Your Work Day
One thing you want to avoid when you work from home is your work-life getting intertwined with your personal life. To do this you should have an end to your workday. Whether it’s getting a certain amount of work done or a set time, make sure that you tell yourself when your workday is done. Once you are done try to not resume working. Spend your time with family or doing something fun. Not having this separation can make you start to despise working from home.
12. Know the Rules
Know the rules before you start working from home. Some companies have certain requirements like being available online during certain hours or having certain programs downloaded on your computer. You want to ask what is expected of you as a remote worker.
It’s also a good idea to know what rules and guidelines you are going to set for yourself. Set up a work from home plan and stick to it.
13. Discuss Your Requirements with Family
Family can be a huge advantage and disadvantage of working at home. As awesome as it is to spend extra time with family, they can be huge distractors when they don’t understand your work construct. To minimize this, it’s important to discuss what times and where you will be working. The more consistent you are, the more they will understand and will be less of a distraction.
14. Utilize To-Do Lists
To-do lists are great for boosting productivity in or out of the office. This can be a very useful tool when you work from home. With so many distractions in the house, a to-do list can keep you focused on what you need to get done. It can be extremely helpful to get in the habit of reviewing your to-do list at the beginning and end of every day.
15. Seek Feedback
You are always evolving and getting better every day. You may find it hard to work remotely in the beginning but just like everything, it gets easier with time and experience. Don’t be afraid to seek out feedback from your boss or even your coworkers. Ask them what you can do better and what you are doing well. Don’t take it personally if they tell you that you are doing something wrong. Use their advice to become a better worker.
16. Get Out
Getting out of the house can be a great way to break up the monotony of working remotely. If all you need is the internet and a laptop to work, you can work from a lot of different places. Free wifi is offered at many coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, and even some parks. Sometimes a change of scenery can help boost your mental state and kick start productivity.
Working from home can be very rewarding but it takes work. It can be very difficult to separate work life and personal life. These tips are intended to help you do that and be productive while working remotely.
Are you currently working from home? What tips do you have for everybody? Leave a comment below.
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