In this “gig and be your own boss” economy, the appeal of working from home often sounds like an amazing concept. It can offer a chance to express all of your acquired time management skills and fully work to your potential without the distractions of colleagues at your cubicle, Monday morning water cooler weekend recaps, bosses hovering or, the ultimate, to simply get some work done!!!
The statement “get work done” is what moves most people into the flexible work-from-home schedule; statistics boast a 35 percent increase in productivity among people who work at home. Five years ago, one in five Americans telecommuted. Today, the trend is cited as the fastest growing benefit now offered by employers, according to the Society for Human Resources Management. Monique Tallon, diversity and inclusion consultant and founder of Highest Path, shared that many companies are looking at the benefits and cost effectiveness of remote work, telecommuting and work-from-home options.
When she made the transition to working from home, she “found it was very isolating.” So now, she makes it part of her practice to work onsite with her clients at least one week per month and provide on-site training.
For those new to the work-from-home movement, the comforts of home can soon become distractions that derail you from what you should be focused on. In order to stay on task and remain productive, the following tips may help.
■ Maintain clear working hours and decide ahead of time how long you’re going to work. While you can work at any time if you are a project-driven type, i.e., 2:00 am or 10:00 am, it’s best to work during the hours when you are able to take calls and communicate with those who don’t work from home, as well as troubleshoot IT issues or the like. When you determine the exact time that is quitting time, you’ll know you’re done for the day and will be less likely to overwork yourself.
■ Keep a clear workspace. You can often find remote workers at any coffee shop in America; it’s not always the best choice. Make sure you designate space in your home as your work area, away from where you sleep or spend personal time with your family.
■ Focus on work only. Using your scheduled work-from-home day can sometimes become the time when you decide to do laundry or any other household task. However, it’s important that you reserve those chores for weekends or another time so your work performance doesn’t suffer.
■ Set and maintain boundaries. Taking personal calls, unannounced visits, extra-long breaks, lunches and gym time because friends and family know you’re at home can be major distractions. It’s important that your family and friends know that you’re unavailable for phone calls, outings, etc. during this time.
■ Get dressed. It’s tempting to want to stay in your pajamas all day. But, it can be counterproductive. You don’t have to put on your normal career attire. But, if you get up, shower, eat breakfast and put on clothes that make you feel like you’re going somewhere, it can set the tone for the rest of your day.
While working from home, telecommuting, remote staffing (whatever your organization calls it) opportunities are cost effective for companies, if you’re not disciplined, it can exploit just how unfocused or easily distracted you are. Or, it can offer a place to really get work done!