The Business.com community often asks about how to be productive when working from home. Our answer? Follow these tips.
Working from home can cause distractions that attack efficiency and motivation. However, remote work is an ideal setup for many modern employees. When fostered the right way, it has many benefits, from saving money to encouraging work-life balance.
You can be just as, if not more, productive working remotely than working in your company's office. But doing so successfully requires self-awareness and discipline. Here's how to master the practice of remote work.
Get out and network
Just because you work from home doesn't mean you can't still expand your contact list or make business connections. In fact, if anything, you should try even harder to branch out, meeting clients for coffee or scheduling video calls with colleagues to collaborate.
Ronald Bannon, CMC, senior business partner at Assellin Bannon Strategic Management and Business.com community member, is a prime example of this initiative. He's worked from home for 20 years and attributes his success to traveling internationally and maintaining virtual contact with colleagues and customers on a regular basis.
Editor's note: Need a video conferencing solution for your remote team? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.
Prepare for a typical work day
When you wake up each morning, treat the day as if you're going into the office. Get up early, brush your teeth and hair, make your coffee or tea, and dress appropriately. It will put you in the right mindset to get things done.
You'll have more energy and motivation to do your work, feeling less tempted to stay in bed or lounge on the couch. Sit at a desk or table, keep the TV off and limit social distractions.
Set schedules and to-dos
If you schedule out your work and create a list of tasks you want to complete by the end of the day, you'll better manage your time and remain more focused.
"I find that I make the most of my remote working time and experience when I know just what I need to get done, what resources I have, and the basic timeline it needs to be completed in," said Sabrina Greenwood-Briggs, director of people at LeadPoint, parent company of MoneyTips.com,. "With that said, I also make sure to check in and take time to see that I'm on track. If I'm ahead, great. If I'm behind, I look to see why and adjust."
Change your setting
Working from home can feel isolating, and you might feel taunted by overflowing laundry baskets, unwatched Netflix episodes, housemates, etc. If you were in an office, you might not feel as tempted to stray from your work.
Also, it's easy to fall into a routine of mundanity. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery. If you feel unmotivated, drive to your favorite café or meet up with colleagues at a co-working space, said Greenwood-Briggs.
Make time for breaks
Just because you're working from the comfort of your own home doesn't mean you don't deserve some time away throughout the day.
"Most people don’t realize how valuable it is to just get up for five minutes and stretch or change gears," said Greenwood-Briggs.
Take time for coffee breaks, walks around the block, long lunches with loved ones, or even quick gym sessions. You'll return feeling more inspired than before.