Circumstances might dictate that you need to start working from home when you’re not used to doing so. If you’ve never done it before, it can be tempting to think about it as paid time off. However, this is rarely a good idea for all sorts of reasons, not least the fact that your boss might never let you do it again!
You’ll have your own ideas of the perfect schedule and the right working environment. However, we believe that each of the tips below will help to point you in the right direction to work from home in the best way possible.
1. Make a Plan for Each Day Ahead of Time
When you’re at the office, it’s relatively easy to concentrate. Everyone around you is working; the chances are that entertainment websites are restricted, and you’ve probably got a boss looking over your shoulder. At home, that’s not the case.
One of the best ways to stay on track is to work out what you need or want to achieve on the following day and to list it out. You could use a pen and paper, or a to-do list app. Even the calendar on your phone or computer will do the job. If you can get in the mindset that certain things must be done, you stand a better chance of retaining the motivation you need to complete your tasks.
2. Remember You’re At Work
Whether you make a list or not, you may be susceptible to slacking off. After all, there’s nobody around to tell you to get back to work. However, if you’ve been given the opportunity to work from home, you should carry out your role in good faith. The company’s duties don’t end when you’re not in the office, so make sure you treat your role with the respect it deserves.
3. Still Revel in Your Newfound Flexibility
While there’s always still a job to be done, if you can get it done, you shouldn’t ignore the freedom you have through being outside the office. For starters, if you usually work eight hours a day and get the job done, but commute for an hour in each direction, those are two extra hours you have. You don’t need to do more just because you’re at home, so make the most of the travel time you save.
Your body clock won’t readjust immediately, so you’ll probably be ready to get started at the time you’d typically set out. The earlier you start, the sooner you can finish. Alternatively, you might decide to spread those extra hours throughout the day, potentially carrying out tasks in peace that you’d generally need to leave for the weekend.
4. Make Yourself Available – No Matter What You’re Doing
If you work in a role where you do more than sit at a computer with your headphones on all day, you need to ensure you’re available to those that might require you. The chances are that you perform some kind of critical function at your company and when someone doesn’t know how to do something, they’ll come to you. Even if you follow the third tip above, try to make a point of sharing a mobile number people can reach you on, and consider adding your work email to your phone where possible, even if temporarily.
5. Don’t Forget to Get Up and About
Those walks from the car park or train station and also to the kitchen and back all add up throughout the working day, and they might be the only things keeping the blood flowing and you in good shape. If you don’t replace them, you might find yourself with less energy and potentially even putting on weight. Ensure you get up and about whether you choose to work at a desk or on the couch and if you’re walking less in general, even pacing around the house can make all the difference.
6. Fill the Interaction Gaps
Some people need interaction to keep themselves engaged and interested. Something as simple as background noise in the office can be all it takes to focus the mind. If your home is empty, that will be missing. Cover the lack of sound with some music and don’t be afraid to call people or even to chat on Skype just to keep your brain ticking over.
7. Keep a Note of Any Expenses
You don’t have the seemingly endless stocks and supplies of your office when working from home, and there may be things you need that you must buy out of your own pocket. Be careful, as you may require authorisation before purchasing something on behalf of the company. Still, if you can justify it, you’ll receive permission and then claim it back with the receipt soon after that.
8. Set a Finishing Time and Stick to It
Whether you’re the kind of person that counts down the hours until you can leave or you’re happy to stay on for as long as it takes, it’s easy to blur the lines of finish times when you literally have nowhere to go. Your work-life balance doesn’t become any less important just because you work from home, so drop everything at a suitable time.
9. Make Space for Work
If you’re not used to working from home, then chances are you don’t have a home office. You’ll need to use the dining table or some other makeshift space to get things done. Choose wisely, and make it clear to others in the home that this will be your office for the time being, and not to disturb you when you’re working.
10. Look to the Future
The best reason to make your best effort when working from home is that it could open up possibilities to do so again in the future. We’re confident you’ll enjoy doing it and in proving to those in charge that your standards don’t slip without supervision – or even improve – you might get to take advantage of this newfound flexibility even more often in the future.