Working from home is quickly becoming a popular trend as more companies offer flexible work opportunities to employees. I was very fortunate to be offered a work-from-home position three years ago when my husband took a new job in Houston and I was faced with the possibility of having to leave Marketwave. Though it took some adjustment, here are a few tips that help me stay focused and productive when working remotely.
Establish an appropriate working environment
Many people think working from home means sitting on the couch and working in your pajamas, but this is far from the truth. Just because you have the flexibility to stay in the comfort of your home, doesn’t mean you can slack off. It’s important to establish an appropriate working environment that will help you stay focused on your daily tasks.
For me, I have to treat each day almost like I’m going into the office. I wake up early, get dressed and enjoy a cup of coffee, then begin working in the home office. Having a space that is 100 percent for work, helps you mentally prepare for the work day. I choose to use this space during work hours only, and avoid using it during other times if possible. I have found this is a good way to separate work life from home life.
Between piles of dirty clothes, dishes in the sink, barking dogs and unexpected door solicitors, distractions are easy to come by when working from home. Eliminating these situations and managing your time can help keep your focus on track. If you’re unable to tackle home chores on the weekend or in the evenings, take a few minutes out of your lunch break to get a few things accomplished on your home “to-do” list.
If you have an important conference call coming up, remove any possible distractions or disturbances. Put pets outside or in a kennel, place a sign on your front door telling visitors not to ring the doorbell or knock on the door during that time and silence other home phones.
It’s easy to fall into a routine when working remotely and quickly loose contact with your other colleagues and your surrounding network. If you find it difficult to stay connected with your office coworkers (especially your manager) schedule weekly phone calls with each person you work with to touch base and discuss current projects.
Remember to stay connected outside of the home as well by attending monthly networking events such as happy hours and luncheons. Building professional relationships within your network is just as important as maintaining those among your colleagues.
Do you work remotely? If so, share some tips that help you stay focused and on track when working from your home.