And who wouldn’t want that! You can work in your pijamas, the longest commute of the day is from the breakfast table to your desk, and you could be watching Breaking Bad all day while those other suckers are stuck in a cubicle!
1. Set yourself work hours
It’s very easy to get lazy when working from home. That’s fine, it would happen to the majority if they were taken out of an office situation. To combat it, you need to set yourself some rules that you will stick to. Firstly, set yourself working hours. You will start at 9am. You will finish at 5pm. While these don’t need to be set in stone forever, having a rigid structure will help format your day, and not allow you to get into the habit of saying “I’ll start in a minute”.
2. Figure out when you are at your best -morning, noon or night - and work appropriately, if possible
This goes hand in hand with point one. Some jobs won’t offer flexibility in terms of when you need to be “active”. If your office only works between 9 and 5, then you have to follow suit to some extent. But if you have some flexibility, it’s worth figuring out when you “peak” in terms of productivity. Morning person? Then get up earlier and finish in mid-afternoon! Night owl? Then sleep in, enjoy your mornings, then get your head down later on.
3. Make a “To-Do” list
To round off your productivity scheduling, it makes sense to make a simple, pen and paper “to-do” list, for what you need to accomplish each day. Without constant instructions from superiors or colleagues, you may lax on certain jobs. This way, you can have a clear scope of what needs to be done every day.
4. Regularly “Touch Base” with the office
This is a good habit to get into for two reasons. Firstly, it will let those you work with know that just because you work from home, you are working just as hard as they are. You don’t need me to detail inner-office politics, and the resentment that could build if you are perceived as the “lazy work at home guy”. It also keeps you in check to some degree. If you have to check in every day, you’ll be more inclined not to not fall behind.
5. Have an “Office”
The above points are more to do with organisation. Now we’re going to look at more practical things you can do. The first is the most important - you need to make a distinction between “home” and “work” within your house. Now, some people will be fortunate enough to have a room spare, that they can transform into an office or a study. This is the ideal situation, but if this isn’t possible, you can still create a divide.
A desk in your bedroom will suffice. Even something as basic as a kitchen table will do. It just has to be somewhere separate from where you spend your leisure time. Sitting on the couch in your living room not only creates a “too comfy” situation, which could breed laziness, but also means the divide between work and home isn’t there.
6. Build and maintain a good work area
After settling on a location for your work area, it’s time to construct a good one. Sitting on a kitchen chair, while sharing your table with a load of washing, is not a good environment to work in. You may not be able to do much about the table, but make sure it’s clear of clutter. Certainly get a good quality chair if you are going to be sat down for extended periods of time. Sitting on something not designed for working from can cause all sorts of problems, which will be detrimental to your output.
7. Steer clear of distractions
At home, you’re gonna have access to a lot more creature comforts than you would at the office. It’s a nice thing to have, but it’s critical that when you are working, you cut the cord. No TV, no social media, nothing. Again, allowing yourselves these two things blurs the lines between work and home, and could lead to you taking a lax approach to your responsibilities.
8. Family can be a distraction too
That didn’t mean to sound so impersonal. Perhaps the biggest advantage of working at home is that you are never too far away from your family and friends. But they too can be a distraction. The best approach is to all agree to treat everything as if you are at the office, instead of just being upstairs. It’s not too farfetched to ask them to phone you in your office if they want you. It seems alien to treat them this way, but the payoff is that when you finish work, you can get straight back to them.
9. Treat your breaks as breaks
OK, now for two good points. You’re just as entitled to a lunch break as anybody else, but it’s important to remember to use it as a break. Don’t make some food then sit at your desk watching YouTube. Either go spend some time with your family, or go out an exercise, because you’ll need to make up for any exercise you’ll miss going to or from work. Enjoy yourself! And then. . .
10. When you “Finish Work”, actually finish working
This may seem odd, but the flexibility working from home provides means the temptation to work throughout the day in little periods of time is prominent. You may have scheduled to finish at 5, but you’ve had some ideas come through at 4.55pm. Great, write them down and leave them for tomorrow. It’s time to go “home” and enjoy the rest of your day! Everybody else is!