Home-based businesses have been around since the rise of commerce. Traditionally, only certain types of jobs like agriculture, handicraft making, small manufacturing, and repair could be carried out from home. But working at home now is an entirely different concept from what it used to be in the bygone era. Today, the rapid innovation of technology has changed the very nature of what can be done from home. In fact, people in almost every industry can work from their house at least part time.
Having an office right at home comes with a fair share of pros and cons. On one hand, nothing can beat the feeling of being one’s own boss while on the other, maintaining a level of concentration to get things done on time is a daunting task.
If you are thinking about or already working from home, here are ten tips to maximize your productivity while keeping the work from home experience enjoyable.
1. Work life balance.
The most common problem faced by people who work at home is the difficulty in maintaining a work-life balance. It is so easy to go back to working on that unfinished item during family time.
Webmd.com has a great article asking are you a work-a-holic? If you are you may not be a good candidate to work from home. To combat this problem, it’s a great idea to have a structured routine. This helps to pace the day and to monitor how much you have accomplished. Your routine should include a set time when work is finished.
Remember, checklists really help to accomplish your tasks, but you must make the decision that when the stop time comes your done crossing items off the list. Setting a structure day and remaining committed to family time will actually help you to be more productive and happier in what you do.
2. Establish a well-defined workspace.
When people work at home, they need to create a clear distinction between working space and living space. Establishing a proper mini-office within the home aids the worker by putting everything required for work in a single place. This lowers the risk of misplacing important items and it reduces time need to gather necessary tools and materials.
The dedicated works space helps with mindset. You are going to your office. You should treat it no differently than if you were driving in. That mean you should not have distractions present you would not have at your regular office. Your goal is to outperform your office based cohorts.
3. Keep in touch with co-workers.
Plying trade from home doesn’t have to be a lonely task. It’s important to keep in touch with colleagues on a regular basis. It helps to know what is happening in the office environment so that you will not be caught unaware of major policy change that could affect your job.
Even when working on an independent level, getting in touch with other telecommuters is helpful to stay abreast of industry or community trends. That can be done through industry online boards or other community events.
People desire a sense of community and belonging. By making a small effort to stay in touch with others, it will help to keep your satisfaction level high with your at home position.
4. Know your goals and document their completion.
A perceived common problem faced by many home based workers is they often lack the constant feedback that their office based counter parts receive from supervisors. It is widely believed by employers that without the natural pressure of a supervisor, home-based workers my have lower productivity and misuse their company resources.
However, the Harvard Business Review published a study in the January – February online magazine that suggest the opposite. In fact, the study showed that telecommuters were 13.5% more productive while also being half a likely to quit or call in sick than their office based coworkers.
The key is to have work that is highly measurable and easily expandable. Make sure you are clear on what your employer needs then make sure there is a way that your work is documented. This allows for accountability and visibility to your employer. This is a win for you and your employer, which should make you both happy.
5. Keep the workplace clean.
Working away from the office environment helps to reduce sick time. Less contact with people means a lower likelihood of contracting a communicable disease like a cold or the flu.
However, home-based workers face a unique problem in that they spend large amounts of time in a static environment and that increases their chance of dealing with allergen problems.
According to Sinusitis Wellness, a leading authority on Allergic and Chronic Sinusitis, dust, pollen and mold are pollutants that can cause your sinus headaches, sinus congestions, and even chronic fatigue. The more you breathe in the problem antigens the worse your symptoms will be.
So it is important to do regular cleaning of your home office to keep these common pollutants at a minimum. This will help you to focus and be more productive.
6. Set a proper routine.
One of the common problems while working from home is the difficulty in keeping track of time. Most often, we have no clue whatsoever of how much we worked.
It’s a great idea to make a routine even while working at home. This helps keep track of time and we can always realize how much we worked.
Making a routine defining working time and working hours and sticking to it will surely ease the life of a household worker a lot.
7. Make sure you’ve enough work.
Another important thing for homeworkers is to have enough work all the time. It doesn’t just ensure that you’re occupied sufficiently and you can make a good living but also you don’t have to worry about paying bills and meeting your needs.
If there’s less work, one can be occupied with the thoughts of anxiety and dissatisfaction and the person may not be able to give the best for even the available work.
With enough work and having to meet deadlines, people can do more in less time too, compared to when they’re free more often.
8. Stay away from distractions during working hours.
Just when you’re trying to engage in your work, your wife enters asking you to fix the kitchen sink and it’s not before an hour you’re back at the business. Now, you think you’ve in excess of coming two hours all to yourself.
But how wrong you’re! A friend pops in for a visit and all your hopes are vanquished. Such kind of distractions are probably the biggest problem for telecommuting people.
So when you’re planning to engage in a work, lock the doors and keep yourself away from people and events that can hurdle you. And, don’t get disrupted unless something serious like fire or earthquake happens.
9. Reserve holidays for yourself.
Holidays are what office workers cherish the most in their life, generally. While they can get their holidays only on certain days, people working at home can decide when they’re going to have holidays by themselves.
So why not to exploit this privilege as much as possible? Rather than working little a day throughout the week, why not to work longer hours some days and have a couple of days off?
This helps telecommuters revel in their favorite pastimes and refresh themselves, which surely enhances work rate in future.
10. Enjoy your privileges but don’t abuse them.
Not just while telecommuting but in every walk of life, enjoying the privileges without abusing them will surely help keep one to do great things. This works in telecommuting too just fine.
Work in an organized manner, keeping proper balance between work and other pursuits of life. And don’t try to circumvent all the time.
For example, freelance writers ought not to take telecommuting as the opportunity to create copied and baseless articles and paid enormously. It might help in short run but hampers the chance to learn and grow on to become a better writer.
By following these 10 tips you can create positives for both yourself and your employer. You get proximity to family and flexibility. You employer gets greater productivity and fewer losses due to an unhappy worker.
However you should remember that although the trend of telecommuting is growing, it is not unheard of for a company to reverse course on this policy. Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayers ended the company’s policy allowing tele-work in June of 2013. She never cited the exact reason for the reversal, but you have to believe the company’s turn around plan demanded better results from all of Yahoo’s work from home employees.
Featured photo credit: A great home office environment via decosee.com