How to work from home productively
The number of employees working from home is on the rise – increasing by 12.35% in the UK between 2012 and 2016. Working from home is expected to be a reality for half of UK’s workforce by 2020 and if done effectively, can be beneficial to employers and employees.
Many tech workers feel that frequent meetings and constant interruptions can be disruptive to workflow. Nearly one in three UK employees find that working from home is the most productive working environment, according to research by Jabra.
Although working from home has many benefits, it does come with its own set of distractions. From a TV begging to be turned on, a load of washing to be done to sunshine in the garden, it takes discipline to ensure you get the work done.
To stay on top of your game and be your most productive self when working from home, here are our top tips.
1. Structure your time
Structuring your day is key. Decide on the hours that work best for you and stick to them. Without set hours, it is easy to mix personal errands into your schedule which may result in less work getting done.
Although working from home frees up your schedule by reducing time spent in meetings, this does not mean that you should be available all the time. A real benefit to working from home means that you can take the time to focus solely on your projects. Let your colleagues know that you’re setting aside specific time for your projects to limit distractions.
2. Be in contact
With today’s communication technologies, there is so much potential to keep up contact with your team.
Top of the list is video calling. Whether it’s just a Skype video call with a colleague, or a video conference call with your team, there is no reason to be out of contact. With video conferencing, employees get to see, listen and interact during the meeting as if they were physically there.
For casual queries, Instant Messaging (IM) is perhaps the quickest means to touch base. It is useful to use group chats such as Slack to collaborate with your colleagues on team projects.
Staying in contact is good for your own mental health. Working from home can be lonely, so keep in touch when you can. That, and it demonstrates to your boss and team that you’re engaged.
3. Make a workspace
It can be tempting to work on your couch when you’re at home. Although it can be comforting, this isn’t a proper workspace. This temptation can lead to procrastination, as well as a sore back and neck.
Setting up a home office, or even a simple desk where you work, can give you the right motivation and focus, especially if you’re working on a highly technical SAP implementation task. Make it comfortable, organised and away from distractions.
Unlike in an office, working from home gives you complete control over what you hear while you work. Studies show that soft background music can help concentration and productivity as well as put you in a positive state of mind.
4. Avoid distractions
Start your productive day by turning off all social media and communication app notifications. This way you won’t be tempted to scroll through Facebook for the latest gossip. If possible, ditch your phone for the day, eliminating the temptation for distractions.
Avoid turning the TV on – at all costs. You may think that 5 minutes of TV is fine, but it never really is just 5 minutes.
5. Set boundaries
It’s important that your family/house mates understand what working from home really means. There is a misconception that being at home means you’ll have the time to clean the house or take the dog for a walk when in fact that is not the case at all. You need to lay down the rules and let them understand that you’re working a full day, just as everyone else is.
Let your team understand what your working hours are. In the same way that your loved ones need to know that your working hours are for working, your colleagues also need to know that outside of work hours your home time is your personal time. Just because you’ve spent the day working from home, does not mean you need to continue working outside your designated work hours.
Whether you’re working in the office, or working from home, the same approach is required. Keep focused and don’t allow yourself any distractions until the job is done.
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