Whether you occasionally work from home, or it’s a regular part of your week, you know that the environment often feels quite different from being in your office and poses its own challenges as well. If you’re going to enjoy the benefit of working remotely, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your work. For many, working remotely can mean a sharp decline in productivity, work quality, and motivation. For those with strong strategies in place though, it can be just the opposite. When you know how to do it effectively, working remotely might actually be more productive than working in the office. Here are some key strategies to help you maximize your time when working from home:
Create Your Schedule
A great aspect of working from home is that, in many cases, you don’t have an assigned schedule. If this means that you just start and stop working whenever you feel like it though, your productivity might be taking a hit. Instead, use working remotely as an opportunity to create your own schedule. Are you a morning person? Get started early so that you can give yourself some free time later on. Maybe you’re slow to get moving in the mornings? Take advantage of the ability to define your own start time. What time makes sense for lunch? Do you often crash in the afternoon? What time would you like to wrap things up? A schedule is an important framework to guide you through the day. And when you work remotely, you get to shape it around your unique needs.
We often use the terms working remotely and working from home interchangeably. It’s key to remember that working from home doesn’t necessarily mean you can only work from your house. While spending an entire day at a coffee shop might not be the best option for your productivity, getting out for a couple of hours to work on some specific tasks can be beneficial. Give yourself the flexibility to change up your environment. I find this especially helpful if you experience a drop in energy in the mid-afternoon. Instead of succumbing to the energy decline, moving to a new location can help you recharge.
Working remotely also gives you the opportunity to prioritize your health. Maybe you carve out a longer lunch break so that you can prepare something healthy, or perhaps you allow yourself time for a long run or an afternoon yoga class. When you work from home, it’s wise to take advantage of the ability to nourish your body and mind. When you do, you set yourself up to work more productively throughout the rest of the day.
Define a Workspace
For many, working from home can mean more distractions than they face in the office. Anything from a messy living room to family members sharing the space. While not everyone has the space for a separate office at home, it’s still important to define a workspace for yourself. It might be cleaning off the kitchen table or setting up a small desk in the living room. Once you’ve picked a spot, do a quick declutter to remove as many visual distractions as possible. If you have family members home, it can be helpful to talk with them about your work schedule. Let them know this space is your office today and that you’ll be working from this time to this time. If you have kids, planning a short break with them can be a great way to connect without distracting you from the task at hand.
For professionals who have the flexibility to work remotely, it’s important to have strategies in place to stay productive. If you ever work from home, what are some strategies that you use? I’d love to hear your thoughts!