If working from home is new to you, it can be a challenge. You are trying to juggle work while kids are home from school; learning new software and programs; and also managing the workload at home. As you’re getting your work-at-home area set up, here are some tips for making your days successful.
Keep yourself to regular work hours
Setting consistent work hours keeps you accountable to yourself and your company. It helps with efficiency and focus to get work done, and easier to get in touch with.
Create an at-home office
It might be tempting to work from your couch, easy-chair, or even from your bed, but this could take a huge toll on your productivity. Try to always work from a consistent room, desk, or chair, to tell your brain that it’s time for work, not relaxation. You are likely to feel more alert, confident, and organized. Being efficient working from home is also all about boundaries. This means setting boundaries for kids, pets, and your spouse or roommates. Try to keep the boundaries friendly and playful, but make sure you stick to them.
Plan your workdays
Before you even start working, make sure you know what your priorities are for the day, how long you think it will take you to get everything done, and what you will work on if you have extra time.
In your planning, consider the following:
- Securing your home network.
- Using passwords on all your devices and apps. Make sure the passwords are long, strong and unique
- Follow work protocols. If your employer has implemented office guidelines, continue to follow them. Your home is now an extension of your office.
Start your day like you are at work
Even if you won’t be interacting with another person all day, get up on time, shower and brush your teeth. This will tell your brain that its work time and that will give you a lot more energy. Lounge clothes might be more comfortable choice, but you may also feel sluggish, sleepy, or unmotivated so put on an outfit that makes you feel like you are going to accomplish something for the day.
Keep work time and personal time separate
Keeping work time and personal time separate also helps keep you productive while you’re at work, and reduces stress when you aren’t working. Just as it’s important to work when you say you will, it’s important to give yourself personal or family time when you’ve promised it.
Plan breaks in your day
Make sure you get up from your desk during your breaks–get some fresh air, grab a healthy snack, and talk with another human being if possible. All of these activities will help you reset, get your blood flowing, and make sure you’re ready to tackle the next set of tasks.
Ten to 15 minutes is great for shorter breaks, and an hour or so is perfect for lunch. Try planning how you’ll spend your breaks ahead of time, so you have something to look forward to.
Don’t forget while away to:
- Keep an eye on your laptop. Never leave it unattended- make sure it is password-protected, locked and secure.
- Securely store sensitive files. When there are important, confidential items that are laying out make sure to keep them out of sight and under lock and key.
- Dispose of sensitive data securely. Don’t just throw it in the trash or recycling bin. Shred it. Paperwork you no longer need can be treasure to identity thieves if it includes personal information about customers or employees.
Keep your area clean
Unlike business offices, you don’t have a cleaning crew to clean up after you. Keeping your home office clean helps you stay focused, organized, and productive. Even if you’re someone who isn’t bothered by a messy desk, keeping good order helps make sure that nothing important gets lost.
One of the best things about working in an office is collaboration and socialization. You don’t have to lose this just because you are working from home. Check in with your coworkers at least a couple of times per week, whether by email, phone, or messaging. Make sure you keep up on a personal level as well as a professional level. Share the things that are most important and encourage your coworkers to do the same.
Following these tips, you should be efficiently working from home before you know it.