Working from home comes with a lot of perks. Employees are happier when they can work from the comfort of their own home and in casual clothes, which means they may be more productive. Employers are able to manage a team without having to pay for office space. However, getting used to working from home and making sure you stay productive takes some getting used to. Here’s how to set yourself up for success.
1. Create Your Own Workspace
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare bedroom or a dedicated office where you can shut the door and get to work, that’s wonderful. However, even if you don’t have that extra space, you should still find somewhere to set up a workstation. Then, limit that space only to work – when the workday is over, leave that area and don’t return until you’re ready to go back to work.
You may be able to turn an unused closet into a workspace – by keeping the closet doors open or removing them completely, you can arrange everything you need inside and sit facing the back of the closet, where your desk and the computer will go. Or, you can take a portion of a room, like one corner of your bedroom or living room, and section it off for work, with a small desk and a cork board to post any materials you need within arm’s reach.
2. Gather the Right Equipment and Tools
Depending on what type of employee you are, you may be responsible for getting your own equipment, or your employer may provide you with everything you need. For example, freelancers have to get all of their own equipment, but full-time employees may be given a laptop. Either way, if there are specific tools that you need to use to do your job, your employer should provide them at no extra cost.
A basic office will need a desk with one or two drawers, a chair and plenty of outlets to plug into. You should have a space where you can stick notes and other hard copy materials. If you have the room, add a bookcase or shelves. You may also want to get a printer – while the need to print out hard copy materials isn’t as great as it was in the past, there will be times when you need to print something, and you won’t have to run to the store to do it.
3. Set Up Remote Access Software
There are more IT solutions than you realize to meet your business needs, and a big one is remote access software. Remote desktop software lets people access one device from another device. For example, let’s say you’re a remote employee and you run into a problem with the company dashboard. Your IT department can remotely access your computer to see what’s wrong or to show you what to do.
Another perk to remote desktop software is that employers can monitor the employee’s computer. The employee should know about this, of course, but the employer can see if work time is being spent in the most efficient way possible.
4. Eliminate Distractions
If you live with other people or you’re regularly interrupted throughout your day, let everyone in your life know your work hours and that you won’t be available. Since this can be hard from them to grasp, especially if they’re used to getting in touch with you at all hours, you may have to go as far as to unplug your phone or ignore your doorbell.
Anything you choose to surround yourself with should add to your concentration rather than detract from it. If you listen to music, make sure it’s not taking your attention – instrumental music or white noise is good to listen to while working. If you can’t seem to stay away from the TV or refrigerator, factor in breaks. For example, maybe every two hours, you take a thirty-minute break, and that’s your time to get a snack and watch something on TV.
Being productive while working from home has a learning curve. Making sure you have the right workspace, peace and quiet, and tools at your disposal will make the transition easier.