Create an Efficient Work Environment From Home
Numerous companies over the years have tried to create a favorable in-office experience for their employees; from offering on-site massage therapy or workout room, to free snacks and lunch. All these perks come down to employers wanting their workers to enjoy their time in the office — and therefore spending more time there. More time in the office means more work done, right?
Things changed in March 2020, however, and the COVID-19 pandemic compelled many companies to adjust its work culture. Many office employees were given the choice — or were forced to — work from home, and did so since March. Human beings are adaptable creatures; so most of us make it work. True, meetings may not always go as smoothly without everyone in the same room, but other benefits start to become apparent — like not having to sit in traffic.
Telecommuting has been on the increase for some time even before the pandemic. Even as some employees return to the office, many more companies have adopted this option permanently.
Since the cost of maintaining office space is fairly high, I think businesses will find it a cost efficient arrangement if half or more of their workforce work from home. In the long term, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot more companies adopt a hybrid approach whereby some employees from certain departments work remotely.
I have been fortunate enough to be working from home for the past five years. As an independent business consultant, all I need is a phone and a laptop and I’m good to go. Of course, I recognize that for many jobs, it is simply not practical or even possible to work remotely. But for those lucky enough to work from home, here are some tips to make working from home a success.
Set Up Your Home Office
There is one room in the house that I have taken over as my home office. I find that I work most efficiently when I am there. Some people may work in random places all over the house, but I find that having one location dedicated to work is the most productive for my mindset.
Working in random places around the house poses too much of a distraction for me. When I’m in my home office, my brain automatically switches to “work mode”. To make my life easier, I have an ergonomic chair and a desk monitor which helps to alleviate any neck pain.
Develop Your Own Routine
Although the routine for everyone may be slightly different, you should always set up a daily schedule. I always log onto the computer around the same time every day so I am able to respond to emails first thing in the morning. It’s important to keep relatively normal work hours, so co-workers and clients feel like they can depend on you.
Schedule Break Time
Be sure to take breaks often and walk around. It’s easy to get absorbed in your work and not move for hours at a time. Staring at a screen for long periods of time is not only detrimental to your eyes, it is mentally draining as well. Try getting up every so often to get a snack or stretch. If time permits, go outside and walk around the block. Get some fresh air and soak up some vitamin D. This makes me more efficient in the long run, and is especially helpful if I need to recharge to complete a project later that evening.
Dress Comfortably For Work
One perk I enjoy with working from home is that I get to dress casually. Personally, I just find that wearing button down shirts with slacks and a belt not very comfortable. Having said that, if you have a video conference scheduled, you should still look professional.
Stay Productive and Efficient
Above all else, I think the hardest part about working remotely is to stay productive and efficient. There can be a million distractions at home, so you have to stay focused and not be sidetracked. Ask your family not to go near your office during “work hours”. Treat working at home as you would working from the office; if there’s something you wouldn’t do in the office, then don’t do it at home.
Always be responsive to emails and calls. Utilize technology to help you do your job better. By maintaining a schedule that works for you, you’ll be able to stay focused and productive.