By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
You get the best of both worlds. No commute. No dress-code. In America, almost 4 million employees now do most their jobs from the comfort of their own homes. It may seem that working remotely is a dream come true. However, it’s easy to get distracted by things that are easily ignorable in the office at home when you feel like you’re on your own time.
As a remote employee, it’s important to draw a line between personal and professional time. Here are a few tips on how to productively and effectively turn your house into your office, whether it’s an everyday occurrence or an occasional day away from the office.
SET UP YOUR SPACE
Ask yourself, “where do I work best?” Internet connection, a comfy chair and a quiet space are all things to consider when setting up your at-home work space. Remote working gives you the freedom to find a space that suits you or move between spaces if that’s more your speed. If you have a co-working space nearby, this gives you the option to enjoy the benefits of working around other people. Or, if you prefer peace and quiet, you could rent an office or set up a workspace at home.
Be careful. Having inconsistent places to work can lead to inconsistent work patterns, so find your favorite places and stick to them. Working remotely gives you the option to customize your workday that increases your productivity — if you set up your space correctly.
ESTABLISH WORKING HOURS
It might sound silly, but if you want to have a productive day, pretend you’re not working at home. If your company has set working hours, that’s a great place to start. However, if you’re an hourly or contract employee, establishing working hours can be beneficial to your productivity. If you have household errands, chores or extracurricular activities, ask yourself if you would do this in the morning or evening. It’s important to plan your day so that your personal priorities don’t get in the way of your work tasks.
STRUCTURE YOUR DAY
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your time at home, consider structuring it differently than a typical workday. Try choosing times that work best for you, based on any required meetings and your energy levels. Define two key items you want to prioritize every hour (or certain time period) and stick to them. If one task requires your undivided attention, let your colleagues know you’ll be disconnected for a period of time in order to commit your attention to a project. Make sure to give yourself a mental break to step away from your computer to give yourself a few minutes of quiet time or complete a personal task to stay clear-headed.
To make your productive efforts stick, be clear to the people around you that you're working from home. Explain to friends, family and other acquaintances that the days (or months) that you’re working remotely aren’t opportunities for non-work-related activities. Set your expectations and stick to them. People will understand your limits instead of assuming you’ll be available.
Some people mistake working from home as “fun-employment” and think people who work from home are able to assist with more personal activities. It’s important to be respectful of your other on-site colleagues to make sure you observe the same working hours as your team.
COMMUNICATE WITH COLLEAGUES
You’ve heard it over and over again — communication is key. This is especially true when working remotely. Not having face-to-face contact every day at the office can sometimes put a wrench in communication between co-workers. On the other hand, people’s idea of good communication can vary, so it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page. Working remotely requires you to communicate effectively, quickly and concisely. Also, make sure you're not going MIA — make it a point to respond to people in a timely manner, no one likes being ignored!
Working as a remote employee comes with its benefits and challenges. In order to be more productive, try setting up an effective workspace, establish helpful working hours, structure your day, set personal and professional boundaries and always over communicate. These simple tips will allow you to be the best employee you can, while working from the comfort of your own home!