Whether it is due to weather conditions or simply a perk of the job, more and more of us have the option to work from home. Fortunately, working from home has become increasingly more popular and possible. In 2016, Consultancy Group PWC undertook a study, which found that 38 percent of U.S. workers can work from home at least one day a week and this number is set to increase. Telecommuting is beneficial to employees in many ways, for example avoiding the cost and time spent during the morning commute, in addition to increased flexibility.
Trading the office for home, even one day a week however, can prove to be a potential minefield for your self care practices and general work/life balance. Without constant interaction with colleagues and the constraints of the office, it is up to you to overcome the challenge of setting your own limits and personal goals.
Below, you will find useful tips on how to optimize your work from home experience without causing undue stress or risking burn out.
Set Clear Intentions
Quickly dispel any fantasy of rolling out of bed at noon and catching up on The Ellen Show. Working from home is serious business. According to a 2016 survey of American remote workers, 91 percent of people who work from home, self reported that they feel more productive at home than in the office. They also reported increased job satisfaction and overall contentment.
As a remote worker, you will enjoy more flexibility than you have had before. You no longer have to work the typical 9am-5pm shift; however, it is best to set a schedule that works for you. A consistent schedule promotes optimum productivity, while a loose schedule will leave you prone to procrastination, distractions and lost productivity. Set reasonable and fair hours for yourself, and include breaks intermediately.
You can always tweak the schedule as you acclimate to this new environment. By scheduling your breaks ahead of time you can intentionally decompress and enjoy this time rather than feeling guilty about procrastinating.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
It may be tempting to work from the couch in your lounge-wear. There is, however, strong psychological benefits to setting up a dedicated work space. Ensure that you have a stable internet connection for sending emails, video conferencing and using cloud collaboration software.
If it is possible, avoid doing any work or study in your bedroom. Your bedroom should be a place of rest, calm and intimacy only. Identifying a neutral area in your home which can serve as a dedicated work space is ideal. This space should be clutter free with appropriate lighting that is conducive to completing the task at hand.
Practice Disciplined Work Habits
Working remotely requires self discipline and delayed gratification. Without constant interaction with colleagues and the constraints of the office, it is up to you to overcome the challenge of setting your own limits and personal goals.
Begin your day by outlining your intentions and tasks. Once this is done try to mark the priority of each task.
To help maintain this focus, schedule brief breaks throughout the day as you would in the office. Studies show this habit helps to boost your motivation and productivity.
Dr. Russ Poldrack, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, found through his research that attempting to learn information whilst multitasking causes the new information to go to a part of the brain that is less effective at retrieving information on command. Over-stimulation impacts your ability to remain mindful, on task and focused on your intention.
If you find yourself straying from your intention, it is time to disconnect from the source of your distraction. If this is social media based there are several apps which can help you to stay focused. For Example Offtime (iOS, Android),Moment (iOS), BreakFree (iOS, Android), AppDetox (Android) and Stay on Task (Android) all assist you in managing your time spent on social media.
If the source of distraction is noise pollution, neighbors or barking dogs, you may need to invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to serve as a signal that it’s time to get into work mode.
Keep Connected to Counteract Feelings of Isolation
The transition of working from home rather than going to the office can be a difficult one. Even the most introverted person will miss the daily social interaction and banter at the office water cooler. You can still stay in contact with your colleagues via instant message or email as you would have if you were available in person.
It is important that you do not punish yourself for maintaining this connection. The natural rhythm of your productive day in the office involves social interaction and the occasional distraction. If your not in a collaborative role, try scheduling lunch with a friend.
Make Time for Lunch
Schedule your lunch break in advance. Without a group of colleagues heading out to eat , it can be easy to work through lunch or mindlessly eat lunch at your desk. One of the main perks of working from home is being able to create a lunch that you know you will enjoy without incurring the same costs. Schedule your lunch for the same time each day if possible, this will help to form a healthy lifestyle habit.
As remote working is dependent on your unique initiative, it is important that you set aside and comply with the time you have allocated for lunch. Try not to engage in activities at lunch which may tempt you to procrastinate for hours. Netflix is strongly discouraged. If you decide to meet a friend for lunch try to be mindful of what time you intend to return to your desk.
Relocate if Necessary
Whether it is feelings of isolation or an unsteady Wi-Fi connection, sometimes you have to be open to relocating. If you have not already done so try to scout out a local, convenient cafe with limited noise pollution. Easily accessible outlets and comfy chairs should be a priority. This will serve as a surrogate work space if needed. If you want to remain in contact with your coworkers and stay productive, optimum internet connection is a must.
If you are experiencing a poor connection and you do not want to leave the house, try Aberthon to pick up a mobile hotspot. Thinking ahead and creating a solution helps to keep your mind stress free and focused on what you need to do.
End of the Day
Last but not least, know the time that marks the end of your productive day and the beginning of your personal time. If you have difficulty establishing this divide, try to practice organizing a social meeting or fitness class. It can also be helpful to shut down your computer for the day and close the door to your office. Establishing a relaxing night time routine is not only therapeutic but also important to your well being.
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