As more and more organizations begin to embrace telecommuting, there has been an uptick in the amount of employees willing to forgo their commute for a home office. In fact, 3.7 million employees in the U.S. workforce now work from home at least half of the time.
With the benefits that go along with telecommuting it’s not surprising to see more employers put telecommuting policies in place. It has been shown to increase productivity and employee satisfaction, while reducing attrition rates and unscheduled absences. Not to mention that when individuals telecommute they most likely leave their car at home during regular commute times, thus helping to reduce traffic and CO2 emissions.
But even without the stress of a typical commute, there are still some challenges that telecommuting creates. With that in mind, here are a few helpful tips to make your work from home even more productive.
- Organization is key
Begin your day with everything in place. Chances are your desk at work is (hopefully) tidy and organized. By keeping your home workspace in the same working condition it will allow you to get your day started off on the right foot. Studies show that a clean work environment can even help your productivity.
- Keep a separate workspace
For some people it can be tempting to look up at the TV, or distracting and difficult to look away from chores that need to be done around the house. This is why it’s important to keep a dedicated and separate work space, away from things in your home that may distract you. Maintaining a designated work space will allow you to concentrate on the tasks at hand and keep your mind from wandering to things that aren’t related to your work. Unfortunately, sometimes family distractions come strutting through our well maintained separate spaces.
- Recognize work and non-work hours
Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you should be working differently than when you are in the office. It can be easy to blur the lines of your work and non-work hours. To help keep them separate, set goals to accomplish by the end of the day. Try to work at your normal pace to help meet these goals – this includes taking your normal breaks for lunch or just getting up to stretch.Additionally, be sure to recognize when to end your day. Very often we continue to work past our normal hours because work and non-work hours can sometimes bleed together. It’s important to know when it’s time to call it day. A designated workspace will also make it much easier to distinguish between when it’s time to work, and when it’s personal time.
- Dress for the job
It’s the dream, right? You get to wear pajamas to work. Well, this may not be the best idea…whether in the office or telecommuting from home. Again, this goes back to the concept of treating your home office like you would your work environment. By putting on proper attire you’re telling yourself psychologically, “it’s time to work.” Also, many jobs require video conference meetings with business associates, so looking presentable even when working from home is still important.
- Check in
Depending on what you have scheduled for the day, it may be a good idea to block out some time to connect with your supervisor. This doesn’t always have to occur over the phone – most times an email will suffice. Let them know what you’re working on, what you’ve accomplished, and anything that you may need from them. This daily communication will connect you to the office and remind your supervisor of all the tasks you completed.
As you see, telecommuting is not without its challenges, but we hope these suggestions can help make working from home work for you.