Working remotely. Telecommuting. Working from home. Whatever you call the act of not being physically present at your workplace, the practice is growing. In fact, a recent study revealed that 70% of people around the world work outside of the office at least one day each week. In the US, the amount of remote employees increased by 4% from 2012 to 2016. Working from home is a new phenomenon that’s rapidly growing in popularity, and statistics suggest employees who work from home feel more satisfied and are more productive.
There are tons of positives to telecommuting, but it can also be an adjustment for many reasons. This post is all about how to develop focus and maintain productivity when working outside of a traditional office setting. Here are three of my top tips and some of my favorite resources:
Make sure you have the tools and technology you need to perform your job just as well as you would in the office. If you require lightning-speed Internet to host video conferences throughout the day, make sure your service provider can handle the task. If juggling multiple spreadsheets is a daily occurrence, will your laptop be sufficient, or do you need a spare monitor and mouse at home? If printing documents out before reviewing them is part of your normal routine, ensure you have access to a printer. Sometimes you work will include these additional supplies as part of your employment, and other times you’ll be expected to pay out of pocket.
Hate to break it to you, but if you’re struggling to get going in the mornings, you might need to change out of your pajamas. Yes, a huge perk to working from home is that you don’t need to spend time in the morning looking presentable. However, if productivity is an issue and you can’t seem to stay focused, you might have to do some pretending. Create a routine and take a shower, put on clean clothes (yoga pants allowed!), and sip a beverage that helps you jumpstart your morning; doing small tasks between the time your alarm goes off and getting down to work will help you signal to yourself that the workday has officially begun.
Hanging out at home is distinctly different than working from home, so do your best to limit distractions. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes (Netflix, kiddos, neighbors passing by your house), and telecommuting means you’ll have to work even harder at not getting sucked into the fun going on around you. Some common distraction points for my clients include lunchtime (set a timer, eat in the kitchen, and then get back to work), spouses (remind them that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re available to chat all day), and social media (this happens everywhere, but the fact that your boss won’t swing by your cubicle for a random check-in makes it even easier to succumb to the scroll). When you notice yourself losing focus, take stock of what is distracting you and brainstorm solutions to get back on track.
Over the next few months, we’ll be dedicating a few of our newsletters and blog posts to our work from home readers. We have some hot topics we can’t wait to discuss (how to get your socialization fix when you’re all alone; creating a firm separation between work and home life), but would love to hear from you about the areas where you feel stuck. Drop us a line using our Ask an ALV Expert tool and we’ll be sure to address your needs in a future post!
And if you can’t wait until then and want to keep learning more, here are some of my favorite resources:
- Read: LinkedIn’s 10 Commandments for Remote Working (3 min)
- Watch: Go Ahead, Tell Your Boss You Are Working From Home (15 min)
- Read: How to Work From Home When You Have Kids (10 min)
- Read: How to Design a Healthy Home Office that Increases Productivity(7 min)