Many people have images of lazing on the sofa in their pajamas while watching daytime talk shows with laptop in hand when they hear “working from home.” In reality, this picture is neither sustainable nor productive. Working from home can have many benefits; you can avoid wasting time commuting, which in-turn can provide you with more time with your family. However, these benefits are diminished if you end up not actually getting work done. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you can enjoy the benefits of working from home without sacrificing productivity.
1. Create a distraction-free work zone.
When working from home, it’s very easy to get distracted. Your child may interrupt you, that pile of laundry keeps asking to be folded, or sometimes you may think, a little TV break won’t hurt. Interruptions and distractions will hurt your ability to efficiently get work done. Create a space, which can be as simple as a desk and a chair in the corner of the room (not the sofa), that you will use for work purposes. Make sure that others in your household understand that when you are in that space, you are at work, and interruptions are not ok.
2. Treat working from home the same as working in the office.
With the right mindset, you can be equally as productive as when in the office, if not more. This requires you to think of working from home as the same as working in the office. The only difference is where you are physically sitting. Start working at your typical start time, and take coffee and lunch breaks, just as you would at the office. The benefit to working from home is that your breaks can be enjoyed with family and friends. If you must take a break to attend to non-work related tasks, be sure to carve out some time later to devote to work.
3. Stay connected.
When you work from home, you often miss out on having meaningful interactions with your colleagues, which can potentially be detrimental to your long term career. Be sure to stay connected with your colleagues. Call to check-in on how things are going, consult them on an assignment you are working on. You don’t want to be forgotten or viewed as an outsider, so sometimes you have to work a little harder to maintain relationships around the office.