For many, the idea of working from home is very appealing. Setting your own schedule, ditching the business suits and avoiding rush hour traffic are just a few of the perks you can look forward to. It does take diligence, however, to stay on task while in the comfort of your own home. The first step in ensuring success and productivity is to create the optimal work environment, a space where you will be comfortable for seven or eight hours a day.
You deserve a home office – It’s difficult to feel as professional at home as you did in the workplace when you’re lounging on the couch with your laptop. Your home office preferably has four walls and a door, so that you (and your family) know that when inside, it’s time to work. Organize your desk, keep it stocked with all the supplies and technology you’ll need, invest in a comfortable chair and any other tools you need to create a functional work environment.
Stick to a routine – Start and end the day at the same time every day. Set a realistic to-do list and endeavour to get it done in the timeline you set for yourself. When you are finished working, close the door and return to home life. Ignore the office phone ringing or the urge to run in and check to see if an important e-mail came through.
Check in often with your boss and workplace – Staying connected is an excellent way to keep you on track and in the loop. It also lets your boss know that you are staying on task and dedicated to the job.
Separate personal tasks – As tempting as it can be to pay bills, get dinner going or check your children’s swim schedule during business hours, refrain. It’s important to keep work separate from your personal life. Set aside an hour in your day to take care of these tasks, perhaps when you stop for lunch or a coffee break.
Keep distractions to a minimum – Set boundaries for the rest of the members of the household. Let them know when you can and can’t be disturbed so that you can have uninterrupted work time. If this becomes too difficult to manage some days, or cabin fever is taking hold, head out to the local library or coffee shop to work but be sure to stay focused on the tasks at hand.