You wake up, grab a cup of coffee and go to work…sounds pretty standard, right? What if going to work meant walking to your kitchen table and the office attire was your PJs and a case of bed-head. Now we’re talking. Sure, working from home has its perks and in many ways, it’s a dream gig. You don’t have to deal with the dreaded commute, you can wear whatever you want, you don’t have to tolerate annoying office-mates and you can work on your own schedule. But on the flip side, it can be hard to separate your work from your home life, because your work takes place in your home. And when you are the only employee in sight, being productive can be a struggle.
As Fox Business reports, according to Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, “working from home is essentially an independent way of working. Even if you have managers and coworkers to be accountable to, you’re still responsible for motivating yourself.” Everything from a load of laundry to your barking dog to a UPS delivery can distract you from your work and prevent you from being effective in your professional role. In many ways working from home is a dream job, and in many ways it’s a test of willpower and work ethic. While the desire to work well from home needs to come from you, here are 8 work from home ideas to get you more productive each day.
1.Make Time for Coworker interaction
This is one of the best working from home tips we can give you. When you work in a busy office environment you are surrounded by coworkers. Everyone from your boss to your intern helps keep you focused on the task at hand by offering support, ideas and, quite frankly, a healthy distraction from the stress of the job. When you work independently from your home, you’re on your own and after a while a lack of human interaction, namely interaction with coworkers can make you less inspired to work hard and more bored by your own company. (Pun intended.) Make time to communicate with others in your field or on your team. Whether through a message board, an online forum, a weekly meeting or a conference call, it is important to have some social interactions as a reminder that while you may work alone, you are also a part of a larger effort and a larger team.
2.Keep your Workspace Separate from your Personal Space
You have a desk, but 9 times out of 10 you end up working at your kitchen table, on your living room couch, or worst of all, in bed. It happens to the best of us working from home, but it can be really unhealthy for your personal life and your career. It’s crucial to set aside space in your home that is specifically for work, and work alone. It can be a proper office, a desk, or even a chair, but find space that is dedicated entirely to your work. “By dedicating a space to my work, I create clear boundaries between work and home life. When I am in my office, I do not think about home. When I am in my home, I do not think about my office,” explains Virginia Ginsburg, owner of Swell Strategies in an article for Fast Company.
3.Seek Feedback, Advice and Information
Yes, you work independently, but that does not mean you cannot and should not seek help from others. We only grow in our professional role if we continue to learn, and the best way to do that is by asking for feedback, advice and information from others who are experts at what they do. Embrace new experiences, collaborate with others and always welcome an opportunity to get more educated. Even if you spend every day on your computer at home, by finding time to connect with others who have been in your shoes, you will excel at your job and open the door to many more opportunities in the future.
4.Create a Schedule
This is one of the best working from home tips we have for you. It’s actually easier to get motivated in the morning when you are forced to get dressed, leave your home and arrive to work at a specific time. You have people counting on you and that’s what gets you moving. When you work from home, it’s important to also set a schedule. Set an alarm every morning, establish a time when you want to begin working and stick to that timeframe. And create a routine to get your day started that might mimic the routine of an office position. Perhaps you start by making coffee while checking your email and listening to voicemails. Then you catch up on social media and current events, and once that is done, you begin to tackle your to-do list. Create a flow for your day, write it down, and stick to it.
5.Dress the Part
Can you roll out of bed and work in your pajamas all day? Sure. Should you? Probably not. Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and fashion psychologist, argues in a recent Forbes piece, “When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.” And since pajamas are typically associated with sleep, and sweatpants are associated with relaxing, they might not make the best clothing choices when you want to get things done on the work front.
6.Take Time to Disengage
If you work from home you may be tempted to let your work carry over into your personal time. Actually, you might have a hard time even defining what is personal time. For example, you check your work email in bed before you even brush your teeth in the morning and the last thing you do before you fall asleep is update your task list for the next day. It’s normal– it can be hard to turn your brain off at the end of the day. But it’s also a bit unhealthy and can restrict your productivity. Set aside time each day when you completely disengage from your work and focus on yourself. Maybe you join a gym and leave your house (and your emails behind) for a daily workout. Or perhaps you set an end-time for your workday when you stop answering emails, you turn off your phone and you enjoy a relaxing dinner with your family. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of focusing on yourself. Disconnecting from your job can actually make you better at that job.
7.Change Locations From Time to Time
You may work from home, but that doesn’t mean your home should be your prison 24 hours a day. When you work in an office you leave your desk for meetings, errands, client events and business lunches. When you work from home you can spend days glued to your desk chair. It can be really beneficially to step away from your typical surroundings and find some new scenery to motivate you and jumpstart your creativity. After all, there is a reason that Starbucks is packed with people on laptops all day…
8.Hold Yourself Accountable
This is one of the most important work from home ideas you need to get your head around. If you work from home then chances are you are the only person keeping track of your progress, which is great if you happen to be incredibly motivated and self-disciplined. It can be a problem if you let yourself off the hook easily. Set a list of things you want to accomplish each day, and post them somewhere so that you not only remember them, but also hold yourself to those goals. Either put them up on a wall, send them to someone else to help keep you on track, or use an organizational app that will track your progress and create alerts when you need an extra push.