There are several benefits to working from home; you dictate your own hours, you avoid traffic (yay!), you have more time to spend with family, you save money (gas, coffee shops, lunch), and there is no dress code (though there should, but more on this later).
However, working from home comes with its own set of challenges as well. There are distractions (kids, laundry, cooking), it’s harder to disconnect and you end up working more than usual, it can make people feel lonely, and some days you won’t feel as motivated to do things.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to be more productive while working from home.
1. Set a routine and stick to it
Humans are creatures of habit and this can be particularly useful when you’re working from home. To make the best of your day, make sure you get an early start and that you have a routine. For some, it works to shower as soon as they wake up, for others it works best to eat breakfast and then shower. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it. And remember to take breaks throughout the day.
2. Put ‘real’ clothes on
Though not having a dress code and having to think about what to wear is great, putting on some “real clothes” can make a great difference. Staying in your PJs or wearing sweats doesn’t make anyone feel productive, they make people want to relax, sit on the couch, and do nothing. You don’t have to dress up office-style, a pair of jeans and a shirt will likely do the trick. It’ll make working from home feel more like working from the office; plus, no surprise video calls will have you running for a change of clothes.
3. Have a schedule
People who work from home often have a hard time setting work hours; if they work for a company they feel like they need to be on at all times to justify their being at home, those who work for themselves feel some pressure to always being busy and doing something. Setting a clear schedule of when you work and when you don’t will help you keep a healthy balance and prevent burnout. This will also make it easier to lay down your tasks and prioritize them accordingly.
4. Invest in a desk and chair
Having the right tools and equipment will make working from home easier and more productive. Though working from the couch sounds appealing, it’s not ideal (you won’t have a good posture, you’ll likely be more easily distracted, etc.) Invest in a desk and chair and make sure you place them in an area where you won’t be distracted by what’s happening in other parts of your house.
5. Get a membership for a virtual office
Setting up a virtual office can help you better establish a line between work and life; it can also increase your privacy and make it easier to stick to work hours. Virtual offices offer addresses, mail handling, and forwarding services, live receptionist services, and VoIP. Though you might not need all of them, virtual office packages can be customized for your needs. If you work from home all the time, having an external address where people can send you business related mail will give you privacy and hiring a VoIP phone means that you won’t be interrupted by business calls at night or during the weekends. Besides, most virtual office memberships also provide limited access to office and meeting space, which can come in handy when meeting with clients.
If you work from home and are struggling with it, try these tips. If it still doesn’t work, consider joining a coworking space.