According to the 2017 State of Telecommuting report released by Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people telecommuting in the US increased by 115% between 2005 and 2015. Many people make a good living by working remotely, and the numbers show it’s becoming more common.
Working from home is a wonderful way to continue in a career you love while having a bit of flexibility added to your schedule. Lots of employees are happy to give up their traffic-filled commutes and trade in their noisy cubicles for a quiet office at home, but sometimes the transition isn’t as easy as you’d think.
Being an at-home employee means your boss can’t help you stay on task during the day, and the lines between work time and home time can get pretty blurry. But don’t worry. With a little preparation and planning, you can smoothly transition into working remotely.
Create a Dedicated Work Space
Having a dedicated work area helps you focus on your work, and it sends a clear message to family members or housemates that you are working when you’re in that space.
Don’t feel pushed into taking over an entire room unless one is available to you. A comfortable chair and desk arranged in a quiet corner of the house can be perfectly suitable for productive work.
You can also add greenery, decorations, and storage to make space clearly distinct from the rest of your home.
Invest in Good Technology
A computer is an obvious need when you’re getting settled into at-home work. The system you select should have plenty of disk space and system memory. Additionally, you should ensure you have a reliable internet connection. If your connection lags, it will slow down your production, which will, in turn, affect you and your paycheck.
You may also require a high-quality headset with a microphone if you’ll be attending online meetings or taking phone calls. This hands-free option allows you to easily field calls while taking notes or finishing other work.
Take Advantage of Software and Tools
Using software and tools can help you stay organized and on task, and they can keep you performing at a high level. Many of these options are also free:
- Project management software lets you prioritize your projects and coordinate with other team members if needed.
- Keeping your notes and lists gathered in one place helps with organization. House your web pages, lists, and article clips together, and they’ll be ready whenever you need them.
- Time management software lets you track your work hours and evaluate how you’re spending your day.
Structure Your Work Days
Creating processes for the way you work enhances your home-office success. If you find you’re most productive in the afternoons, block out the after-lunch hours of your day for getting things done. Does a brisk walk in the morning rev you up for a good day of work? Schedule that into your daily routine.
Another way you can create structure in your day is to group your meetings and appointments together. You can be laser-focused for a large chunk of time and then take a short break once the meetings are over.
Find Ways to Stay Motivated
Working at home means the TV, chores, and kitchen are close by. While it may be easy to get distracted by fixing a snack and relaxing in front of Netflix, find ways to keep your motivation high during the workday. If your kids are your incentive to keep on task, keep their photos close by. If money drives you, remember the upcoming paychecks and what you can do with that income.
Challenging yourself to grow your skills can also keep your motivation high. Set aside thirty minutes each day to learn a new skill or watch a training video to aid your personal and professional growth.
Following these easy tips, your work-from-home journey can be both successful and enjoyable. Do you have some work-at-home tips that have helped you or someone you know in a remote office? Leave a comment below.
By: Monique Serbu
Monique is a freelance digital journalist specializing in business, marketing and technology topics. Her work can be seen on Venture Beat, MediaPost, and Glassdoor. In her spare time, she likes to spend time outdoors hiking and hanging out with her Cocker Spaniel.