How To Improve Productivity When Working From Home

productivityWorking from home is a pretty appealing prospect to most of us. With significant improvements to broadband speed, Wifi accessibility and development to home computing and tablet technology, it’s never been easier to work outside of an office!

The thought of being able to roll out of bed in the morning, slump into your computer chair with a fresh cup of coffee is an attractive proposition for a wide variety of employees, including those who work in remote locations or have health issues meaning that it is easier for them to work from home.

Rolling out home working policies also has significant benefits for employers, both as a cost cutting exercise to minimise the physical resources needed to house staff, and as an inviting perk to capture the attention of job hunters. In fact, over 35 million people in the U.S currently work from home and this figure is predicted to almost double by 2016.

So, working from home sounds pretty good for all parties then, right? Well it is, but there’s one huge consideration before you run off to your line manager and tell them you’re not coming in tomorrow. Are you disciplined enough to work from home? Can you trust yourself not to get distracted and let your productivity dwindle? Whether you’re already working from home or just considering doing so, check the points below to help you stay professional and motivated!

Give Yourself Strict Working Deadlines When Working From Home

The easiest thing to let slip when working from home is deadlines. Sometimes you might feel you can finish work off later in the evening, or the next day and give yourself a little too much flexibility.

In fact, you should try and do the exact opposite. If ever you are given a deadline, bring it forward by a day. You want to work from home to enjoy a better life balance and more relaxing lifestyle right? Then what better way to get worked finished at home, ahead of schedule, so that you get to enjoy that way of life a little bit more.

Don’t fall into the trap of getting complacent; to be your own boss, you have to act like a boss!

Replicate An Office Environment

As tempting as it is to stay in your pyjamas all day and work with daytime TV playing in the background, it’s pretty unlikely to help your concentration levels. You should do as much as you can to replicate a normal working environment.

Dress the way you would dress for work, set up an organised and clean workstation or office area, make sure you have right software available on your PC or laptop and open up those curtains! Strive to ensure that your home feels like a hub of productivity!

One thing to remember is that it is also important to undertake a desktop work station assessment from home to ensure you’re physically set up optimally for work.

Get Out At Lunch Time

Don’t spend all day inside. Get out and stretch your legs. One of the pitfalls for those who regularly work from home is lack of exercise. Naturally, exercise is known to help productivity, so you should force yourself to go out at lunch every single day. With exercise in mind, you may also choose to start a morning exercise routine BEFORE you start work from home. You may even want to go for a run or hit the gym for an hour during lunch.

Working from home should be the best reason to start exercising MORE within your flexible time, not a reason to reduce this amount of activity.

Working 9-5 Hours From Home

This kind of ties in with giving yourself deadlines, but you should, if appropriate, always try and work a normal nine to five day. Having a regular routine is known to help maintain well being, and helps you maintain an important level of professionalism. The hours you choose to work also have a significant impact on your social life.

If you start working unsociable hours, you run the risk of isolating yourself, and before you know it you can unintentionally become a home hermit. This is a particularly important point to note if you live with a partner, as your work from home pattern could potentially cause friction in your relationship, which then has a snowball effect on your levels of productivity.

Avoid Social Networks

Arguably the biggest distraction to anyone who currently works from home is the temptation of monitoring social networks, without being under the watchful eye of a boss. We all know that a ‘quick check’ of our Facebook page or Twitter account can soon turn into hours of browsing, so why risk it when working from home? There’s no easy way to avoid ‘the social bubble’ effect, it’s about doing your best to stay disciplined and keeping this up over a period of time until it feels normal.

If you really struggle to avoid social media networks when working from home, you might choose to customise your rural internet settings to avoid social media profiles being accessed from a particular PC. It’s also a good idea to switch off any personal mobile push notifications and get into the habit of only checking your personal mobile phone during lunch hours.

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