Some people embrace the telecommuting lifestyle, while others would rather work full time in a brick and mortar location.
No matter where you fall on this spectrum, one thing is for sure: there are a variety of challenges in setting up a home office.
Fortunately, there are just as many ways to overcome these bumps in the telecommuting road. For example, consider the following tips:
- Eliminate as Much Household Noise as You Can
Kids who are doing online school are not the only ones who are distracted by household noise during the day. Those who suddenly find themselves working from home may also find it hard to stay focused when the dog is clamoring for attention or family is happily chattering in the next room.
Ideally, you will want your work-from-home set up to be in a room with a door that you can close while you are working. If you don’t have this option, get creative and utilize a wall divider or hang a sheet across heavy string or wire to help separate your work area from the rest of the home. If you find them comfortable to wear, you can also invest in noise-canceling headphones or have a ceiling fan or white noise machine running in the background.
- Create and Follow a Daily Routine
To help your brain get ready for work, create a morning routine that you follow every day that you will be working from home. This habit will be more effective than a clock to help you get started. Just as you did when you were working at the regular office, make your cup of coffee and scramble your eggs with cheese and enjoy your breakfast while creating your to-do list for the day. Take your pup for a walk and then check personal emails before settling in for work. Be sure to do these tasks in the same order every day; it will help to train your brain to realize “Ah, we had breakfast and email is now done—now it’s time to work.”
- Make it Hard to Check Social Media
Yes, you have a project you should be working on for your boss. But your smartphone is right by you, and it won’t take more than a minute to check your Instagram feed (or Facebook, or Twitter)….right? As you might find out the hard way, this is a surefire recipe for wasting time—you may find that a project that should take you an hour took twice as long because you got distracted by social media or other online activities like shopping for household supplies or new shoes. Don’t tempt yourself. Instead, remove all social media shortcuts from your phone, laptop and tablet and log out of each and every account. Turn off social media notifications, and remind yourself that you can check these sites during your lunch break.
Productivity and Telecommuting Can Go Hand in Hand
You will probably experience a bit of a learning curve as you start to work from home. By setting up a space that is as quiet as possible, creating and following a predictable routine that gets you ready to work, and turning off tempting websites, telecommuting can be a positive, enjoyable and even preferred way of working.