Working from home can be wonderful. You get to avoid commuter traffic, wear whatever you want, and make your schedule. But it can also be distracting and lonely. Here are a few tips to help you stay productive when working from home.
Having a room in your house that serves as an office is essential. Whether it's the room of a parent who moved to an assisted living facility, your child's room as they are away at college, or an empty storage room, it's important to have a space in your house where you can sit down, focus, and get work done.
This is especially important if you live with others; you need to be able to shut the door (literally and figuratively) on the rest of the world.
Here are some home office essentials:
- - A chair with lumbar support is ideal, as you'll be sitting for long periods.
- - A desk with plenty of surface area is important, as you'll need space for your computer, monitors, keyboard, and mouse. If possible, choose a desk with drawers to store office supplies.
- - Stock up on pens, paper, staplers, and anything else you might need to do your job.
- - A laptop is often sufficient for working from home; however, if you have the space, setting up a desktop computer can be helpful as well. Make sure your computer is fast and has enough storage for all of your files.
Create a Schedule...and Stick to It
One of the benefits of working from home is that you can create your schedule, but with that freedom comes the responsibility to actually stick to it.
Of course, there will be days when things come up and you have to deviate from the schedule; but for the most part, it's important to stick to a routine.
If you have trouble sticking to a schedule, here are a few tips:
- - Set a daily or weekly goal list. Before you start working each day, take a few minutes to write down what you hope to accomplish.
- - Take breaks. Take a walk around the block, call a friend, or step away from your desk for a few minutes every couple of hours.
- - Avoid distractions. If you need to, set up boundaries for yourself; for example, only allow yourself to watch TV after you've completed your work for the day.
Exercise and productivity go hand-in-hand. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which have been shown to improve mood and increase productivity.
If you're not used to exercising, start slowly with just a few minutes each day. You can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts as you become more accustomed to them.
Plus there's no need to go to the gym; you can exercise at home with little to no equipment.
Working from home can be lonely, so it's important to stay connected with others.
There are a few ways to stay connected:
- - Use video conferencing tools such as Skype or Google Hangouts to have face-to-face conversations.
- - Join an online community or forum related to your industry.
- - Attend meetups or conferences related to your industry.
Working from home doesn't have to mean an end to productive workdays. Follow the tips above to create a productive work environment and schedule, and you'll be on your way to success.