So you’ve got your new home office all set up, complete with blazing-fast Internet and reliable Voice services from FTC, and you’re ready to hit the ground running on your latest work project. While working from home can offer numerous advantages over working from the office — including the time and money savings that come with eliminating your commute, not to mention the added perk of a relaxed dress code (though you’ll likely want to move past the PJs for that midday videoconference) — the relaxed atmosphere can also present an array of challenges. Namely, personal obligations that can be easy to ignore when you’re at the office are often more difficult to push aside when working from home.
To ensure that your output remains on par with an office day when working from home, consider these five best practices for a productive day at the home office:
1) Choose a designated work space: If you’ve got the aforementioned home office set up, you’re already on the right track with this one. While your work space doesn’t necessarily have to be an office, it should be a spot that puts you in a working mindset, contains all the tools you need to get the job done (computer, Internet connection, phone, etc.) and is free of distractions. Don’t set up in front of the TV or in a spot where regular household activities will create distractions that pull you away from your work.
2) Establish — and stick to — working hours: Sure, putting a load of laundry into the washer midday can help you knock out a household chore, but seemingly small tasks like this can add up and chip away at your productivity. To avoid these temptations, set “office hours” for yourself, and clarify what activities are and aren’t acceptable during that time period. Ask yourself — “Would this activity seem appropriate if I were in the office?” If the answer is no, push the activity or errand to your break time or post-workday hours so that you can carry it out guilt-free and get everything on your workday to-do list done.
3) Set boundaries with friends and family: Let family members and friends know that, even though you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean you’re available for the activities, discussions, etc. that would normally be limited to your day off. Be clear in requiring that interruptions be kept as limited as possible during your established work hours. If an unexpected visitor drops in, diplomatically let him or her know that you’ve still got work to complete, then set a time to meet when the work is all done. When you establish clear boundaries for what is and isn’t OK during your work hours, most will respect your wishes.
4) Maintain strong communications with coworkers: This is a daily requirement even when working in the office, but it takes on added importance when you’re working remotely. Be sure to let coworkers, managers, clients and anyone else you work with know what to expect from you and when to expect it, along with any limitations you may face while telecommuting. If your workplace accommodates such technology, using communications platforms such as instant messaging and email can allow you to maintaining regular contact regarding your progress and any needs you may have while away from the office, all in a far less obtrusive format than a phone call or a meeting.
5) Limit your social media activity: While this rule applies both at home and at the office, it can be especially important when you’re working without the structure (and observant eyes of coworkers) found at the actual office. Many of us check in on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. accounts during the workday, but be sure to set some boundaries for yourself. Limit your account check-ins to the time before the workday begins and during established break times such as your lunch hour. If you wait until the workday is in the books to reply to any messages from friends and family, you’ll find that you’re more productive thanks to avoiding the interruptions brought on by any back-and-forth conversations.
Looking to set yourself up for success when working away from the office? FTC’s Internet and Voice services can equip your home office with the vital tools you’ll need to get the job done remotely. Visit ftc-i.net today to review the service offerings available in your area.