Need some productivity tips for working from home? Sounds about right. Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, and figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 1 in 12 Australians now work from home.
Unsurprisingly, a Melbourne University study found that people who work from home feel more energised and less stressed. But aside from having a better work-life balance, telecommuters also get an earlier start, work up to three hours longer, accomplish more in a day and report fewer distractions than their in-office counterparts.
So if you’re thinking of making the switch to working from home and want to ensure that you’ll be as productive as possible, keep the following tips in mind.
Set up a designated work zone
It can be tempting to work from your sofa, but even if you do choose to answer your emails in front of the television every now and then, having a designated work area where you can shut out the rest of the household is important.
A separate room is best, but if you don’t have a whole room to spare, you can still cordon off a section of your living room or bedroom and invest in a good work desk and comfortable chair.
Dress the part and follow a daily routine
Although you certainly don’t have to dress as formally as you would if you were going into the office, you should make an effort to get dressed every morning rather than sitting around in your pyjamas, which can make it difficult to get into “work mode.”
Daily routines are also important, as it’s easier to give in to procrastination without the structure of a 9-5 work day. Even if you can’t keep the same working hours every day, you can still develop a daily routine so you know when it’s time to start, but also stop working.
Set monthly goals and daily to-dos
Setting a monthly goal will give you something to focus on, while having a daily to-do list helps you break bigger tasks into more doable chunks so you don’t get discouraged or put things off for too long.
At the beginning of each week, try to prioritise your tasks based on whatever end-of-month goal you have set for yourself and then make a check list for each day you’ll be working from home. This will help you visualise what needs to get done and evaluate your performance at the end of each day.
Establish boundaries with friends and family
Just because you’ll be home more often doesn’t mean you can answer personal phone calls or entertain visitors at any hour, so make sure your family and friends understand that you are not to be disturbed during working hours.
If possible, switch off your phone or consider getting a second number that you only give out to work contacts. You can also set one or two specific times during the day when you check your personal email and social media as this will prevent you from getting sidetracked with personal matters when you should be working.
Make a point of leaving the house
Staying in the house all day every day can quickly wear you down, so make an effort to leave the house at least once a day to get a change of scenery and interact with real people. Even brief outings like a quick lunch with a friend or an afternoon yoga class can help you avoid burnout.