Many entrepreneurs start out working from home as they grow their business. The perks are obvious: no commute time and a potential tax write-off for your working space. But they’re not the only ones taking advantage of the benefits of working from home.
According to a Gallup poll, working from home has increased 30% during the last decade. The downside is that maintaining a high level of productivity can become a challenge. Establishing a set of working habits will help you maintain productivity while on your own.
1) Get Dressed.
You may consider working in your pajamas one of the biggest perks to working remote, but doing so can cramp your productivity and make it harder to shift into working mode.
Clothes themselves don’t directly influence your productivity, but the state of mind they put you in does. An added bonus is that you won’t be embarrassed running into someone you know when you step outside the house for a quick coffee run.
2) go outside.
Not getting outside the house is more of a problem for those who are 100% remote versus those who are just occasional or partially remote workers.
Try working a few hours at a local coffee shop, or alternating days between home and a co-working spot.
One of the benefits of working in an office is being able to interact with other people. Working too long by yourself can make you feel like a hermit.
Using software like Slack can help you communicate better with your co-workers and make you feel more like you’re working with them.
4) Establish a set workspace.
If possible, have a space in your house dedicated to working, and then only work in that space.
This is back to forming those work habits again, promoting better focus and productivity by training your mind to get into work mode when you’re in your working space.
Having a dedicated spot outside your house counts as well, as long as you've got access to good wifi.
5) Schedule breaks.
It can be easy to work a few hours straight, especially in the morning, and then feel brain dead for the rest of the afternoon. Not exactly productive.
In an office it’s a bit easier to get up from your desk and refill your coffee, chat for a few minutes with a co-worker, etc. At home, with everything within arm’s reach, it’s not so easy to remember until it’s too late.
Try using something like the pomodoro technique to schedule your break time. Having predefined “off” times helps you focus more when you’re back to work.
6) Set boundaries around your working time.
This is usually more of a problem for workers living with family members: “Oh, ask Jeff to do that...he doesn’t have to be at work.”
Be firm and set boundaries so that family members know when it’s your work time and when you’re actually off. Yes, this is easier said than done.
7) Have a firm quitting time.
Most jobs have a strict start and stop time which helps limit the hours you put in. When working from home, the lines are more blurred; you might get started a bit later than usual or feel like you didn’t get enough done, and before you know it you’re working through dinner time again.
Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Don’t stay up late the night before watching Netflix just because you don’t have to drive to the office in the morning. Being consistent about when you start and stop work will make it easier to focus, thereby increasing your productivity.
8) Set reasonable goals.
Set goals to measure your own productivity. Aim to get your goals done for the day and then don’t feel guilty when it’s time to quit in the evening.
Whether you write a list or use something like Trello, crossing off your tasks or being able to drag the card to the ‘done’ pile is rewarding and helps keep you motivated to finish more tasks.