Working from home is becoming a more and more popular option for employees and businesses. Moreover, by being able to organize their own schedule how they wish, professionals avoid wasting time in transit or getting to work during times of strikes.
According to a study conducted by Malakoff Médéric Humanis in November and December 2018, working from home is practised by nearly 30% of all private sector workers, which is an increase of 50% when compared to 2017. Furthermore, workers and managers alike are full of praise for this new approach that has numerous benefits: greater productivity at work, reduced truancy, a better work/life balance and improvements to the quality of life in the workplace – with more autonomy, responsibility and personal engagement.
Whether you are working from home for a half-day, a whole day, or perhaps even all week, it is crucial to organize your working hours and put some rules in place in order to remain productive, because when one is at home, it is easy to be tempted to do anything but working. Here are the 7 tips to being an effective worker at home.
1. Create a workspace
No, your bed or your sofa cannot be your office. To stay productive, it is essential to not mix work and pleasure.
Start by defining your workspace and congregate everything that you need to work (computer, reports, pens, chargers, etc.). This way, you are operational in just a few seconds and you avoid losing time looking for things.
If you do not have enough space to set up a desk, the corner of a table with a chair will do the job just fine. What is essential is that you feel comfortable enough to work. Lastly, make sure the things you need are to hand.
2. Plan your working hours
Impose precise working hours on yourself that you have to respect, like you would have for a day at the office. However, nothing is stopping you from starting earlier or finishing later, according to your needs, but you should also take into account the schedules of your colleagues and the plans of your family/housemates. Just keep in mind that a longer working day will reduce your productivity.
It is equally important to organize your work hours in accordance with your necessary interactions with your co-workers, manager and clients, but also taking into account the time of day that you are most productive.
3. Avoid dragging yourself about in your pyjamas
It can be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day or to chuck on some tracksuit bottoms to feel more relaxed, but this is a bad idea. Even if you are not required to put on your suit and tie or your dress and heels, it is still important to dress appropriately to mark the start of your working day, and signal in your mind that your free time is over.
4. Organize your work
To be both productive and effective, you have to organize your day of working from home in the same way you would organize a day of work at the office.
- Set yourself three achievable goals and make a list of tasks to be completed during the day.
- Prioritize your tasks for the day. To help with this, why not try out the Eisenhower matrix or the MoSCoW method.
- Plan to do your most difficult tasks or those that require the most concentration when you are at your most productive (normally during the morning).
- Avoiding multitasking as it reduces productivity. Concentrate on doing one task at a time.
5. Take breaks
To stay productive, at the office as well as working from home, it is crucial to plan some time for breaks. In essence, breaks are needed to let you take a step back and release tension. Your mind cannot stay concentrated indefinitely. It needs to shut off for a moment to come back stronger. Moreover, studies have shown that breaks improve productivity at work. So, make sure to go outside, take in some fresh air and stretch your legs. Make yourself a coffee and sip it whilst you let your mind wander. Make the most of it by checking your personal emails without feeling guilty (and without taking too long either).
6. Keep in contact with your colleagues
If you are working for home for multiple days each week, it is important to maintain your relationships with your co-workers and manager, and to show them that you are always present and available. For this to happen, the business and those workers at home must use a collaborative platform, such as Wimi, which has all the necessary functionalities for project management, such as offering instant messaging that enables dialogue between collaborators at any moment. Start the day by greeting your colleagues, then; show that you are available by chatting with them, replying to their questions and commenting on their work.
If you are working from home full-time, it is a good idea to organize regular lunch breaks with your co-workers and even office parties from time to time.
7. Know when to stop
Just because you are working from home does not mean that you should be available 24/7. If not, you will no longer feel at home, but rather constantly at work. As with the office, after a 7-8 hour working day, it is time to go back to your private life. Respect the working hours that you have planned (except in absolute emergencies) and avoid replying to emails after 9pm. It can wait until tomorrow.
To stay productive at work, the principles are the same whether you are at the office or at home. However, working from home requires greater discipline because the temptation to do things other than working is much greater (turning on the TV, doing housework, cooking, etc.). By following these 7 tips, you will be more efficient and you will be better at separating your professional life from your private life.