The modern workplace is rapidly changing. Every year we can see an increase of people who prefer to do their jobs at home. Working from home is becoming an attractive alternative to people who no longer want to spend more time going to their work due to heavy traffic.
Although working from home (remote work) offers a lot of advantages, just like any endeavor, it also has its own set of disadvantages and challenges as well.
Here are seven practical tips to help you overcome the common challenges when working from home:
1. Plan your day ahead
As simple as it may seem, planning ahead is still a sure-fire way to ensure productivity for your workday.
When you have a clear, mapped-out plan for your day (whether it is a regular routine or a task you’ve always been
doing or not), it’s easier to tick those items on your to-do list because you already have, at least, a clear picture on how your day would look like.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of day do I want to have tomorrow?
- What do I envision? What do I want to see?
- How do I want things done? Are there any blockers for me to accomplish my tasks?
After you’ve written down all these things, you should have an “attack-plan” for your day. Strategize each item on your to-do list. Think ahead. Go to bed early the night before (if you work at night, get enough sleep during the day – the goal is to produce mental alertness in you). Be proactive! Stay “on-top” of things and be offensive!
Planning your day ahead gives you a clear sense of direction to reaching your goal.
So, go ahead and make your calendar your best friend and plan your day!
2. Set up a good workplace
Your environment is important.
Do you have a designated workplace at home? How does it look like? Are you comfortable working on your space? These are important things to consider when you’re working from home and you want to be productive.
I understand some people have small spaces; therefore, having a designated workplace is almost next to impossible.
If that’s the case with you, here’s a tip: find a place you can realistically work with, just don’t work next to your
Sleep scientists have proven that working inside your bedroom is detrimental to both the purpose of your work and your sleep. They say that “Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.”
The goal is to set up a clear boundary between the place you work and the place you rest. If these two are mixed up, stress is inevitable!
On the other hand, when there are distinguishable boundaries between the two spaces, productivity is ensured!
3. Dress up for success!
The practice of “dressing up” for work actually helps in activating your brain that it’s time for work.
When you dress up well for work (even though you work just a few steps away from your room), you are setting up yourself to connect with your present reality – WORK!
Besides, you will be prepared and confident whenever your boss calls for an immediate meeting with you or a conference with the entire team on that day!
It’s always good to keep one foot ahead.
4. Communicate expectations
Unless you live alone, communicating certain expectations with the people who are at home with you is a must!
Do you want a quiet place? Do you want to stay focused and not being called upon every time a meal is ready and served? Is your pet dog caged already? Then, learn to communicate.
Talk to the people in your home about your work time. Set strict boundaries around your schedule and tell it to your love ones. (Just make sure you tell them in a loving and respectful tone to avoid misunderstanding).
You want to make sure that everybody is set to respect your working hours so that you can be productive with your day.
5. Take your breaks seriously
Taking your breaks seriously in between work is not a waste of time. As a matter of fact, you’ll be more productive taking a couple of pauses when you need to.
A study recently conducted by the Draugiem Group has shown that employees who took frequent breaks (and not the ones who put their heads down until they get the job done) are the ones who were more productive than their peers!
They said that “…the length of the workday didn’t matter much; what mattered was how people structured their day. The ideal work-to-break ratio was 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest. People who maintained this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work.”
Taking a 15-20-minute break after an hour of work would be a good idea to revitalize your mind and come back to work more determined and focused because you are now approaching it with “fresh eyes.”
6. Avoid social media at all cost!
One of the productivity-killers you will encounter is the unceasing temptation to visit your social media accounts while working: a little dabble here, a little fiddle there, a little Facebook…will cost you a lot of supposedly productive time!
Sign out all of your social media accounts. Turn off all notifications (except the ones you will be using at work) as much as possible.
To help, you might want to use the “Incognito” feature of the Google Chrome browser (if you’re using Chrome) to ensure you stay signed out from all of your online accounts.
Unless you are a highly-disciplined person, stay away from social media while working.
Focus is the key here.
7. Face your day with a positive attitude
No matter how tough the challenges are to your job, always keep a positive attitude when you deal with them.
As author John Maxwell said, “Attitude is the first quality that marks the successful man.” So if you want to be productive and ensure success in your workday, it will undoubtedly be the
result of, first, facing the day with a positive attitude!
I encourage you to always see the good in your work, no matter how small they may seem. Refuse to complain; instead, say something positive about the task you are about to work on before you start; and watch how your positive attitude can turn your work into a fun-filled adventure!
If you will keep these simple, yet profound tips in mind when you work from home, your productivity will soar and your success will be apparent to all!