According to a US News report, in 2015, the number of telecommuters nearly doubled from the previous decade. Those numbers have grown in the five years since and are set to grow even higher with more people working from home due to Covid-19 restrictions. Working from home has unique challenges, with the most common being distractions. Follow these five productivity tips to work just as well from home as from a traditional office.
Take Advantage of Outside Business Services
Distractions come in all forms for teleworkers and freelancers working from home, like the urge to run errands when it’s hard to focus. Outside business services can help avoid this temptation. Digital Mail Services, for example, convert incoming paper mail into digital scans and uploads them to a digital mailbox, with digital images of packages being sent to the same place. After viewing mail and packages, mailbox holders can have paper mail and packages delivered to their homes. Receiving mail digitally can keep teleworkers in their desks by putting mail directly in front of them and remove the temptation to run to the post office or mailbox to check for packages.
Set a Schedule and Dress for Success
Another productivity killer is not treating the workday the same as a workday in a traditional office. When there isn’t a need to clock in at a physical location at 9:00, it’s tempting to sleep in, have a big breakfast, and then jump right into work without getting dressed. The problem is that this creates a weekend mindset of relaxation. Instead, get up an hour or two before the workday starts. Eat breakfast, shower, and put on a business casual outfit. According to Business Magazine, dressing in a work outfit signals the brain that it’s time to work, the same way putting on running shoes signals the brain that it’s time to exercise. Also, start the workday at a set time to signal your brain that it’s time to work.
Remove Distractions and Create Expectations
Roommates, family members, children, and spouses can have a distracting effect when working from home. If possible, create an office space in a room separate from day-to-day activities. If that’s not an option, carve out a workspace that’s just for work. According to an article on Forbes, it’s important to have a dedicated workspace because sitting down at that space signals the brain that it’s time to work. A small desk with a laptop and office supplies will do the trick, as long as it’s used only for work.
Successfully using these spaces will depend on creating expectations for others in the house. Roommates, children, and spouses need to see jobs done at home as “real” jobs that carry the same expectations. This includes interrupting during set work hours unless it’s an emergency. The easiest way to foster expectations is to treat working from home as an actual job. Gently but firmly explain that when Dad has shut his office door, or when Mom’s earbuds are in, it’s the same as if they aren’t home.
Successfully working from home relies heavily on keeping distractions at bay and remaining productive. Following these tips can make working from home as successful and productive as working from a traditional office.