How To Work From Home Efficiently

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

Working from home can have a lot of benefits. You don't have to commute to work. You don't have to eat lunch with people that annoy you. When you are at work, no one is going to interrupt you by walking into your office. If your company permits you to work from home, you need to set yourself up for success.

Some employers are still cautious about giving employees work from home. Managers like to keep an eye on their employees.

Working from home offers many employees an additional balance to their home and work life. With technology allowing us to remain connected to our workplace, using our home as our office is becoming easier than ever. Even if your work is conducted outside the confines of the office building, you want to be sure you’re viewed as a successful and contributing employee. To do that, it’s important to manage your time wisely at home just like you do in the office.

Avoid Unprofessionalism – Get Dressed!

If you are going to work from home, wake up and dress for the office like you normally would. People who sit in their pajamas and work from home aren't as likely to take work seriously. It sends a very negative message to your employers if someone reaches out over video conference and it looks like you couldn’t be bothered to brush your hair.

Avoid Housework

It’s easy to be tempted to multi-task when you’re working from home. As you look around, you see the loads of laundry that can be done or the dusting that has been neglected. Establishing a remote work setting isn’t meant to give you more time to clean house.

It’s important to avoid the urge to do housework while you’re on company time. When you work from home, you’re still setting a standard schedule. Your co-workers and managers should know they can call or email you between certain set hours. If you’re too busy vacuuming to answer calls or emails, people might start to wonder what you’re really doing.

You can’t load the dishwasher while you’re in the office, so treat your home office with the same respect. Separate the work life from the home life.

Avoid Unnecessary Distractions

Setting up your home office space is almost as important as the work you’re doing there. Be sure to create an area that is free from most distractions. If you’re able to create an entirely separate room with a functioning door, do so. Keep televisions and radios off when you’re working. Resist the urge to get sucked into a television program you wouldn’t be watching if you were in the office. Avoid taking personal calls when you’re working at home. Or, at least make sure you’re limiting your personal talk time to the same amount you would in the office.

If you have children at home, make sure there’s an appropriate arrangement that allows you to work without feeling guilty. Whether it’s having a partner at home while you’re working or having an in-home nanny or babysitter, be sure that children are preoccupied and understand the boundaries of your being there. Set specific times to visit with children or to have lunch with them, but be sure they know you’re not available the rest of the day.

Avoid Social Media

When we’re in the office, sometimes checking our Facebook or personal emails is a way of taking a short break from our work. If it’s done in moderation, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you’re working from home, you have much different options when it comes to breaking from work for a breather.

When there’s no one there with you to set expectations, you need to do so for yourself. Part of the reasoning you may have used when requesting to work from home was the increase in productivity. If you’re spending hours on social media networks, that reasoning is lost.

Social media can be a slippery slope. Telling yourself you’re just going to check your feed may turn into reading article after non-work related article. Treat social media just as you would any other unnecessary distraction and make sure it’s limited.

Avoid Disorganization

Achieve the greatest amount of efficiency at home by organizing your work schedule and your space. Make sure you have all the materials you need close by to get your work done. If you’re utilizing technological platforms, make sure they’re working in advance so you’re not surprised you can’t connect to a virtual meeting. Keep your space organized so you have the materials you’ll need close at hand.

Make a plan for how you intend to spend the day. Whether it’s creating a “to-do” list or tracking project deliverables, keep your work tasks organized as well. It will show your boss you can be an efficient remote worker.

Avoid Procrastinating

When you cut out your commuting time, it might seem like you have so much extra time available to you. Treat a work from home day like a regular work day. Get up at your normal time, take a shower, get dressed and grab your breakfast. Be ready for the day at the same time you would if you had to get in the car and head to work.

The upside of working from home is having the option of being productive when you would normally be commuting to work. Don’t waste that time. Resist the temptation to sleep later or to turn on the TV while you drink your morning coffee. Stay efficient by avoiding the pitfalls of procrastination.

Who knows – maybe if you start your day early, you can end your day early?

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
LinkedIn

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees. Robin aims to empower the employees and managers she works with by providing coaching and counseling services.

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