Working From Home
More industries are starting to join the work from home band wagon. Allowing your employees to do remote work can alleviate some of the frustrations of having to come into the office every day. For some a commute can take hours away from not only your life but also from your family. By working from home you not only save time but also save money. Driving in bumper to bumper traffic can cost hundreds of dollars a year in wasted gas. If you are fortunate to be allowed to work remotely I will offer some tactics on how to be more effective in your work.
Keep a routine
One thing that a lot of people joke about is they want to work from home so they can just stay in their pajamas all day while they work. This to me is one of the biggest motivation killers. When I want to relax in the evening I take an early shower and get in my comfy clothes and just sit on the couch and read a book or watch a TV show. And on the weekends when I get up and have nothing to do on a Saturday morning I stay in my pajamas most of the morning because it relaxes me. But being in that relaxed state doesn’t motivate me to do any work. In fact it motivates me to be lazy the rest of the day.
When I need to get work done I find the best way to get motivated is to trick my body into thinking I am going into the office. I get up, eat some breakfast, brush my teeth, and get dressed. Now I won’t put on work clothes but at least I get dressed enough to make my think that we are going to do something today and be productive. Now in some organizations you may be required to be on video calls while you are working remotely so this tip may already be enforced. But keeping your normal routine convinces your mind that you will be doing something and not relaxing.
Dedicate your work area
When I first started a job that I was able to work from home my wife had just had a baby. My wife was home with the baby so I knew I needed a dedicated working environment. If you sit in your recliner and watch TV or play video games after you get off work, don’t use that as your work environment. Make sure you have a spot dedicated to work. It can be just a small desk or the kitchen table. But it has to be away from the area you would normally hang out and relax. It should also be a convenient location that is away from your family. This may be a bit more difficult if you have a small apartment or house but just make sure the area is dedicated to work.
Move your area if needed
If you work from home and have family that is in the house there will be days you need to move your work space in order to concentrate. My first location was in our downstairs family room at a desk that was dedicated for work. But when my wife wanted to lay down for a nap with the baby our room was on the other side of the wall. In those times I would have to be willing to move to another part of the house so I didn’t disturb them and they didn’t disturb me if the baby started crying. In times I really needed to get away from the family like holidays that the kids were out of school but I had to work I would leave the house entirely. I would go to the local library or coffee shop that had good WiFi and work from there to get some quality work done.
Set rules with your family
If your family is home while you are working make sure and set some clear boundaries. Younger kids have trouble with this but at least with older kids let them know when and if they can bother you. I know when I work from home my son always wants to know when will I take lunch so he can talk with me or spend a little time with me. But I assure him at noon every day I will take a break and eat some lunch with him. Now there may be times when you can’t break right at noon to eat because an emergency at work may come up. Just remind them that these situation may come up and not to bother you. I would also suggest that if you can take a few breaks during the day so you can check on them and let them know how your day is going.
Make sure you have a good internet
If you are working from home don’t skimp on internet speeds. Make sure you have a good high speed connection and a solid router. Nothing can kill a relationship with your workplace faster than having an internet connection issues and you don’t get your work done when expected.
Check in with teammates
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you need to isolate yourself completely. In today’s workplace there are not a lot of jobs that can be done solely by yourself. If you have teammates check in with them regularly. You can simply just have a chat on a messaging platform or do a quick video call just to see how everyone is doing. Just don’t go days without checking in or those that do work in the office may get the idea that you are not doing any work. If possible I would even suggest going into the office once a week or biweekly. This way you can still have those connections with your teammates and keeps you from feeling so isolated. And it is good to have that communication outside of your family. We love our families but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming if they are the only people you interact with for days on end.
I hope this guide helps ease your transition to working from home or gives you some tactics to allow you to work remotely. And if you currently work from home and have any additional tactics feel free to comment on our Facebook page.