Making the switch from working at a brick-and-mortar office to working from home is a dramatic change. More companies than ever have been offering remote positions for employees who do not need to be physically present. This change has saved many employees money by eliminating commuter expenses and decreasing the need for many work outfits. It also allows you the chance to wear some cozy but presentable work from home outfits.
Remote workers often enjoy a flexible schedule that’s well-suited for parents and pet owners. As technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, more businesses are finding that employees can be just as productive working from home. Moreover, apps like Skype and Zoom make meetings possible where you can still see each other face-to-face. However, when employees first make the transition from on-site working to a remote position, the lines between work and home feel blurry. If you’re having some challenges making the switch, here is a quick guide to staying productive while working from home.
There is a misconception that working from home means that you get to wear flannel pajamas anytime and all the time. While there are certainly days where PJs will happen, it’s important to get dressed for work. This prepares you for a productive day and to keep a steady workflow.
In fact, wearing professional clothing like polo shirts, women's blouses, and button-down shirts gives employees the constant reminder that they are clocked in and on company time. Plus, you never know when your supervisor or colleagues need to pop in for an impromptu video conference. If you still want to indulge in comfort, you can sport a pair of women's lounge pants, since they aren't visible to anyone in your video chat.
Being dressed for work makes it easier to open a chat invite immediately instead of having to run to your closet to change. This also applies to your personal grooming. While you certainly get more sleep compared to when you had to drive to work, you should still wake up before work to shower, do your hair, trim your beard, brush your teeth, and do other forms of self-care. Overall, looking professional and feeling fresh will set you up for a productive day.
When you have more freedom to decide when and how work will happen, it’s easy to make each day its own fluid entity. Though this may be necessary when life happens, you should aim for a predictable daily schedule. For example, if you clocked in at 8:30 in the office, you should do the same at home. It’s also possible to blaze through your lunch hour because you’re caught up on a project. While it’s understandable to do this once in a while, it’s important to maintain a consistent break where you can nourish yourself and refuel.
Designating a proper end to your workday also gives remote workers a mental boundary between work and free time. A common endpoint for remote workers is 5 pm, but if your workday is based on meeting goals and not an hourly wage, you can be done as early as 3 or 4 pm. No matter what is the nature of your work, you can create some kind of framework regarding your schedule to have order and predictability to your day.
If you find it challenging to focus at home, you should leave the house entirely. Many libraries offer study rooms that you can rent for free. These rooms are often soundproofed and offer plenty of privacy (and no other distractions) which will help you get work done. It’s best to call and reserve these spots in advance so that you can secure a place to work before you arrive. Since these areas are often available for 2-hour maximum slots, you can arrive in the morning and then leave for a lunch break and finish your shift somewhere else like a coffee shop.
If you don’t mind spending some money, you can work in an office share. This rental fee secures a professional workspace with Wi-Fi and a desk where you can work in a professional, distraction-free environment. Remote workers who choose this route should dress in business casual clothing like men's dress shirts and slacks to match the average dress code of an office share. You’ll likely encounter other remote workers and independent contractors at this place, which can also meet your need for fellow “coworkers” when you feel a little lonely.
If you’re in a situation where you can’t leave your house, then create a dedicated office area and make a commitment to occupy this area only during your working hours. Hide your gaming systems and get support for childcare if you need it. Find a way to obtain a workspace that is distraction-free and away from the rest of your house.
Working remotely offers a lot of benefits, but it can be challenging to stay on task. Follow these tips to stay productive!