(This is a contributed post)
There are several benefits to working from home, yet it can become a somewhat isolating experience over time, and therefore it’s important you get yourself out into the world, rather than feeling stuck in your tower like Quasimodo!
Whilst the positives do tend to outweigh the negatives, for instance, the fact your daily commute is now limited to walking from your bedroom to your home office rather than sat in traffic or on a congested commuter train, it can be a challenge if you struggle with focus and discipline, because there are so many distractions when working from home and much less accountability in terms of peer pressure to sit down and focus on your work at your desk.
It’s therefore essential you set up a good space in which to work that will allow you to feel comfortable and relaxed yet focused and productive. You want this to be a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, yet it can be good to setup an alternative “office” using cafe chairs and tables in your neighbourhood to make sure you don’t feel too isolated, and to allow for a change of scenery, as too much of sitting in one room all day, hampers productivity, and as Sheryl Crow says “a change would do you good”.
Now, let’s take a look at five ways to optimise your productivity when it comes to working from home – whether this is as a remote working employee or a business owner.
The first step, in setting up your home office is to declutter the space, as it’s very difficult to focus when you’re surrounded by clutter. It’s essential you create a distraction free environment that is going to set you up for success by allowing you to focus on your work, without distraction.
What you sit on is one of the most important aspects when it comes to office furniture, as you’re going to be sitting on this chair a lot, and therefore not only do you want it to be comfortable but you need it to be ergonomically supportive too.
The great thing about working from an office, is that you have a set routine each morning, often comprising of a shower, breakfast, drive, cycle, train or walk into work, meeting a few colleagues to engage in idle chit-chat, and then arriving at your desk in a state of renewed productivity.
However, when working from home, routine becomes less important – particularly if you are working very flexible hours. It’s therefore important you find yourself a routine that supports your productivity; for instance, the first thing you want to do is get out of the house — so many people that work from home, don’t leave the house in the morning, they wander from their bedroom to their home office and begin work, sometimes, not even showering until later in the day.
The challenge with this is that it doesn’t put you in a very productive state. Whereas, if you leave your house and just go for a ten minute walk – it gives your body the chance to get into a more focused state ready for work. Even better, would be to go to the gym each morning at a set time (or just upon waking) and do a workout that lifts your energy for the rest of the day.
You also want to ensure you have a decent lunch break, where, ideally, you get out of your house for lunch – even if that just means you are sitting in the garden, or perhaps going for another ten minute walk around the block.
For instance, you could set yourself a lunch hour between a set time each day, so there is some structure and routine; or even adopt the approach many people take which is to get dressed for work, even though you will be working from home, as this puts you in a better mental state to work.
Working from home is full of distractions and you are much less monitored, meaning you can easily get lost in a world of social media, pointless browsing, or catching up with your favourite boxset on Netflix… just for a few minutes, which can easily turn into a few hours, and all of a sudden – the day has passed you by.
It’s important you parent yourself in the sense of setting yourself boundaries and standards that state when you are in that office chair, and your home office door is closed, you are now “working” meaning nothing but work happens in that space. If you want to check your social media, or answer a phone call, that’s fine – as you should embrace the freedom and flexibility that comes with working from home; just be sure to take it outside your office.