Many people want to work from home as a way to gain more flexibility and autonomy in their careers, but it's important to remember that a work-from-home job still requires effort and self-discipline. It may take some time to get used to working from home, and there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier. Whether you are new to working at home or you've been doing it for a while, reviewing some tips may help you stay productive at work.
In this article, we provide you with 22 helpful steps you can take to work from home successfully.
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How to work at home successfully
Working from home has great benefits, but it also requires additional efforts that help you to stay on track with your work. Here are some things you may do to work at home successfully:
1. Get dressed in the morning
Starting your day with a routine such as setting your alarm, showering, making coffee and getting dressed helps put you in the right mindset to work. Getting dressed like you are going into work may help you commit to getting the work done, and it may set boundaries for others around you. Your clothes may serve as a visual reminder to help you overcome low productivity.
2. Design your workspace
Select a space in your home that is designated for work-only activities. Try to create a workspace near a source of natural light with a door so you can separate your home and work life when your workday is over.
3. Delegate tasks
When you work at home, it may be easy to believe you have plenty of time to handle multiple tasks throughout the day, but time has a way of going faster than you expect. Delegate tasks that don't fit in your day to employees and coworkers if needed. For example, if you have an assistant who normally plans and manages your calendar, allow your assistant to continue managing these tasks when you work from home to free up your time for more important tasks.
4. Manage distractions
Working from home may come with several distractions. Accept that you won't be productive 100% of the time and try to keep it under control. A good practice is to put your personal mobile device in another room or to block out times to remain productive during your day to ensure your tasks get completed with limited distractions.
5. Prioritize your time
Assess the times of day when you are most productive, and prioritize your most important tasks first. It may be helpful to prioritize your time the night before you work so you know what needs to be done when you wake up. This helps keep you on a schedule and may allow you to get all your work completed with less stress.
6. Use the time you used to dedicate to commuting
Many commutes range between 15-30 minutes to work and from work. Use the time you would've spent commuting on simple tasks such as answering emails or reviewing documents. You may also spend this time setting short-term goals for the next day or week.
7. Communicate with leaders and peers
Make sure your supervisors and colleagues know when a project is complete or delayed when you are working from home. This helps them to understand your progress and re-prioritize as needed. You may also ask questions to make sure you understand each request and task and explain problems as they come up. This helps you and everyone involved to be more efficient and proactive.
9. Take part in online company chats
To feel connected to your team, participate in online chats with them to make connections. This helps build strong teams and allows you to collaborate more efficiently.
10. Utilize video conferencing software
Use video conferencing software to discuss important topics and conduct meetings with your team. This makes it easy to check in with coworkers, and it may ensure that all individuals understand the importance of a project or organizational goals.
11. Keep a set sleep schedule
Your mind needs to stay sharp whether you work from home or in the office. The best way to make sure you are focused on your tasks is to get enough sleep each night. Set a sleep schedule where you go to sleep at the same time each night.
12. Start working at the same time each day
If your supervisor doesn't require you to log on to your computer or software programs at the same time each day, make sure you set a time for yourself to log on. This way you create a routine that makes it easier to know how much time you have to complete your tasks each day.
13. Stay committed to your work ethic
Your supervisor may require you to be logged on to your computer at a certain time each day, perform a certain number of tasks or submit progress reports. Make sure you comply with whatever work-from-home requirements there are and stay committed to the same work ethic you had when you worked in an office.
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14. Make time for in-person gatherings
Spending time with your colleagues in person provides you with a personal bond that may be difficult to achieve digitally. Suggest periodically sharing meals with co-workers or attending conferences together. The more you connect with others at your company, the more integrated with that company you become.
15. Learn how to troubleshoot computer and internet issues
You likely hook up to your home internet connection when working at home. Make sure you know what number to call to troubleshoot any internet issues you may have. You may also learn how to troubleshoot issues with your computer and your internet yourself by watching video tutorials or looking up a manual for your make and model of laptop or desktop computer. This may save you time and cause less frustration when the internet or your computer stops working.
16. Limit how often you check emails
Emails may distract you from more important tasks that you need to complete. Set times when you check and respond to emails to help you stay focused and on track.
17. Take breaks
Allowing time to take breaks helps you to feel refreshed throughout the day. When you return to your workspace, you will be ready to work and you may be able to achieve more.
18. Keep personal tasks separate from work tasks
Try not to allow chores or tasks that need to be completed in your personal time to distract you from your work tasks. The best way to do this is to keep a calendar with times designated for personal tasks and work tasks.
19. Leave your house
Every once in a while, try to work outside of your home at a coffee shop or cafe. It is healthy to go out, see and interact with other people during the day and this may help you create a sense of business community since others at a coffee shop may also telecommute for work as well.
20. Maintain your health
Working at home may allow you to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Try to schedule time for exercise, even if it is just a short walk at the beginning or end of your day. Also, make sure to keep healthy snacks at home and to drink plenty of water.
21. Avoid multitasking
Try to select one task and stick to it until it is finished before you move on to another task. This helps you to focus and allows you to complete more tasks in one day.
22. Prepare your meals ahead of time
During your workday, you may be tempted to try to cook breakfast and lunch. This takes up valuable time and reduces your productivity throughout the workday. Instead, try to prepare your meals the night before so you can use your time wisely and eat during meal periods and breaks.