Working from home can be a very new concept for some people, whereas many have been doing so for years.
I’ve been working about 90% of my time from home for the last 4-5 years, and have many colleagues and employees who do the same. The truth is that working from home has both positive and negative aspects.
As such, here are three tips I’ve found helpful for successfully working from home.
1. Have the Right Mindset
First, and potentially most importantly, you have to wrap your mind around the concept, the fact, that you are at work.
As simple and straight forward as this may sound, its honestly not easy for everyone to do. There is just something about being at home that is mentally different from being in an office environment, and for some, it can cause a mental distraction.
Unfortunately, if not careful, this can completely derail your productivity. Next thing you know, 2-3 hours, or even 2-3 days, can go by and you’ve not really accomplished anything.
If you think getting sidetracked or lost in minutia is bad at the office, it can be ten times worse when trying to work from home.
So, first things first. Get your head on straight and set your mind to the fact that you are at work and there is work to be done. The environment may be different, but your work responsibilities are probably not.
2. Set Routines
This is probably as essential as mindset. I have found that one of the best ways to ensure productivity when working from home is to establish consistent routines.
In fact, routines are probably even more important when working from home than when you’re in the office environment.
When your commute is literally two minutes from the bedroom to the home office or kitchen table, it can be easy to find yourself sleeping until 10 minutes before the start of the workday. Then, once you open that email and start… Well, you look up and its time for dinner, you’re still in your pajamas, and you’re honestly not even sure what you accomplished for the day.
To avert this dilemma, a best practice is to actually wake up at the same time you normally would and go through your routine the same as you would if you were commuting to an office. Get dressed. Drink your coffee or whatever.
Then, once you sit down at your desk to work, before opening any email, making any calls, or anything else, attempt to schedule out your day. What are your priorities for the day? What tasks do you absolutely need to get accomplished? What time will you go to lunch? What time will you stop working for the day and “go home”?
After several days of scheduling like this, your routines will begin to emerge and take shape. Its important to determine what schedule works best for your job and establish these routines.
Set your routines and stick to them as deliberately as possible. Your workday will be much more productive as a result.
3. Stay Socially Connected
Working at home obviously means we are physically apart from our colleagues. However, we need to still be socially connected.
This is important not only for the benefits of teamwork and collaboration. But also because of the need for social interaction for our mental and emotional wellbeing.
Like it or not, we are social beings, and regardless of “introvert versus extrovert”. Yes, some of us are quite introverted. But we still need healthy and regular social interaction.
Here’s the thing, when it comes to working remotely, sometimes we have to make an intentional effort to be socially engaged. Depending on the type of job you have, you could easily find yourself going 2-3 days or more without talking to anyone outside your home.
Honestly, that’s probably not a good thing. If you were in the office, you would likely be talking to half a dozen or more people throughout the day.
Sure, some of these engagements are distracting and may very well keep you from your productivity zone. But others are healthy social interactions that are needed, and more than you probably know.
So make time to socially engage. And not just via email or group apps. Actually call someone on the phone (remember, its original use…), or even get on a video meeting.
How ever you choose, be intentional about staying socially connected, and your work-at-home experience will be much more successful.
Conclusion An internet search for working from home will no doubt provide thousands of results on best practices. While there are many more to consider, three tips that I’ve learned over the years are to have the correct mindset, establish routines, and stay socially connected.