The number of people working from home instead of offices has exploded over the past year or so. The pandemic is the main cause for that, of course, but even as things return to normal, it’s expected that some level of remote working will remain.
In some cases, employees will continue to work solely from home, but for many a combination of home and office working is most likely. In fact, 85% of people currently homeworking expect to work in this hybrid way in future.
But working remotely isn’t the same as working in the office. If you’re working from home, you need to make some changes if you want to keep up productivity and find the right balance between work and home life.
Here are nine tips to help you work from home more effectively.
Recreate the office environment
When you’re at home surrounded by all your possessions, it’s easy to get distracted. Set up a space where you can work, away from everything else. Make sure it’s well-lit and set to a comfortable temperature. And perhaps most importantly, get yourself a good chair.
The idea is to set everything up like you’re still in the office. Make it look like a place of work, and you’ll find it easier to treat it like one. If you’ve got the TV blaring out next to you or you’re trying to work while sunbathing in your back garden, you’re probably not going to have a productive day.
Set boundaries with those you live with
In the office, you’re surrounded by other colleagues. At home, you might be with family or housemates, whose presence can easily distract you from work. It’s important to set boundaries with them, so they know when they can and can’t enter your workspace.
If your homeworking space is a separate room, simply closing the door can work. It’s an easy way to say you’re busy and you don’t want to be disturbed. Otherwise, try putting on headphones and listening to some instrumental music or white noise to help you focus.
Set goals for yourself
It’s easy to lose sight of things when you’re working from home. By setting yourself clear goals for the day, you’ll know what you need to achieve to make sure you don’t waste your time.
Maybe you want to complete a particular project? Or make a certain amount of phone calls? Whatever it is, have it planned in advance, so you can check it off when you’re done.
Have a routine
If your job allows for it, you might be able to start and end your work day when you like – as long as you complete a certain number of hours or do a certain amount of work. That’s fine, but you should still have a routine.
You might have errands to run in the morning, for example, and then begin work immediately after. But it helps if you know what you’re doing when and in what order.
Don’t be a stranger
Communication is a big part of working with others, and it’s harder to do that when you’re working remotely. If you’re not going to see colleagues face to face for a significant amount of time, make sure to check in with them every now and then.
Video calls, instant messages, emails and phone calls are all perfectly good ways to keep in touch with your workmates. And if you spend a lot of time working from home, perhaps you can schedule a recurring meeting for the same time every week.
There are few things more frustrating than failing to get hold of someone when you desperately need their help. So think of your colleagues, and make sure your phone is switched on during standard working hours. Keep an eye on your email and instant messages too.
That doesn’t mean you need to be available all day every day. Or that you should drop everything immediately to take a call. But if someone does contact you, get back to them as soon as you can.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to lose track of time and work straight through lunch. Don’t. It’s just as important to take breaks at home as it is in the office.
You don’t necessarily have to take a full hour. And you might find it more useful to take lots of smaller breaks throughout the day. However you choose to do it, dragging yourself away from your work gives you a chance to refresh your mind and keep up your productivity.
Know when to stop
In the office, at the end of each day, someone turns out the lights and locks up for the evening. At home, no one does that, and you can easily find yourself working long after you’re supposed to have stopped for the day.
That’s bad for both your mental and physical health, and you risk burning out. It’s important to end your working day when it’s supposed to end, just as you would in the office.
Take advantage of technology
The right software and hardware can help make remote working a success. Video calling and instant messaging can keep you in touch with clients and colleagues. An internet phone service can give you one phone number you use both in the office and at home. And phone and computer apps can help you with everything from scheduling to data protection.
It’s important, though, to agree what you’ll be using with your workmates if it affects them. You don’t want to all be using different chat apps, for example.
Expect the unexpected
A tenth tip! You weren’t expecting that, were you? But when you’re working remotely, you can expect there to be some challenges. Like your kids or pets coming into the room in the middle of a video conference. Or your home internet connection going down when you need it most. Or your laptop battery dying while you’re in the middle of a coffee shop.
So be prepared. Have a backup plan. And if all else fails, find a way to keep calm and carry on.
Hopefully, these tips will help you make the most of remote and homeworking. Remote working doesn’t work for all businesses or jobs, of course. But where it does, it can be an excellent way to boost morale and keep overheads low.
So give these tips a go and see if they help. And if you need a modern, internet-based phone system to keep you in touch with your workmates while you work from home, contact us today. We offer future-proof internet phone services that enable you to make and take calls using the same number no matter where you are.