From accessibility hurdles to an overwhelming number of distractions, working from home brings its own set of challenges that have to be addressed in order for home-workers to get the job done.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 7 essential tips to help you make your home the ideal workplace away from the office.
It might be tempting to work from the comfort of your bed, But to be more productive, you should create a distinct “work zone”.
This will put you in the right state of mind to work and create boundaries between your personal life and your job. Your workspace may be a repurposed spare room or even a desk set up in your living space.
Depending on your work style, investing in good quality office furniture can help you increase the comfort of long work sessions.
What is important here is to establish an enjoyable and effective space where you can focus on the tasks ahead, with as little distraction as possible.
But even when you are working, distractions like TV noise or pets or family members in the vicinity can be overwhelming.
The best way to tackle these distractions is by creating an environment where they won’t pop up during work.
That might mean working in a nearby coffee shop if you can’t resist leaving your desk every 5 minutes, or simply locking yourself in your dedicated workplace away from interruptions.
The latter is a must if kids are around, especially if you want to avoid ending up like Professor Robert Kelly, who achieved some notoriety when he was interrupted by his daughter during a live interview on BBC News.
Without your co-workers around to hold you accountable for the daily work you do, it can be harder to keep your work organized and consistent as a remote worker.
More often than not, ambitious telecommuters end up putting in more hours daily than their co-workers at the office to prove their worth and to fast-track their projects.
Regardless of how you approach your daily workload, it is essential that you pick up strong time-management skills.
If that is not enough, applications with features like smart agendas, to do lists and task management tools can be of great help, as long as you only use what you need.
What happens if your computer crashes? Or your email goes down? Or your Wi-Fi suddenly stops working?
A successful teleworker knows that IT support may not always be available to resolve the problem.
In the majority of cases, the most recurring technical troubles can be tackled with a minimal understanding of IT and network troubleshooting. So taking the time to learn the basic functionalities of your hardware and applications may save you the time and frustration of long technical support calls. You know … for when turning it off and on again doesn’t do the trick.
Another 21% admitted to struggling with feelings of loneliness and social isolation. This is a bigger problem than you might think as not only does isolation affect morale and engagement, it can easily lead to miscommunication and poor coordination between different departments.
Relying on traditional communication channels is simply not enough to build rapport with your teammates.
In fact, it’s much more likely to develop misunderstanding when relying on emails, as it does not allow you to express the intricate parts of office humor and sarcasm.
The best way to tackle these issues is to adopt an inclusive mindset where open communication and questions are welcomed.
Consider making the time to exercise or to do an outdoor activity, as working out will naturally increase your energy levels, while simultaneously boosting your immune system.
At the end of the day, your most important asset is your health, and investing in it will pay you back for years to come.
As not everyone performs their best work from 9 to 5, you could easily make the most out of your day by customizing your routine to fit your natural productivity peaks.
This would allow you to recharge your social batteries by leaving the house and interacting with people close to you.
However, once you have found out your productivity pattern, be sure to set and stick to specific work hours and clearly communicate your schedule with your supervisor and co-workers so that they know when they will be able to reach you.
Working remotely can create a dramatic shift in the way you handle your job and work/life balance. Yet, with enough preparation and understanding, you can turn it into an incredible productivity device and gain a competitive advantage that sets you apart from the rest of the team.
So the next time you’re stuck in a rut while working at home, try out a few of these strategies until you find the ones that can help you turn it into a strength.