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Working from home is more popular than ever. With companies realizing the value of allowing employees to work from home, and with the increase in the number of small business owners, it is estimated that more than 10% of working Canadians work from home.
Working from home has its advantages: you don’t have to worry about rush hour traffic, you can make lunch at home, you can dress in more casual clothing and you generally have more flexibility.
Working from home is very different from working in a company office. “Many people working from home, whether they are self-employed, working remotely, or out on leave, experience difficulties that those in an office setting don’t. But there are still a number of ways you can be just as productive at home as you are in the office,” says Melissa Stanger in the Business Insider.
To be successful and productive, learn to be a self-starter. Here are 10 tips to be more productive when working from home:
- Set office hours and stick to them: Even though you are working at home, having regular office hours will help you create structure around your workday. Choose office hours around your most productive time of the day.
- Have a dedicated office space: Working at the kitchen table just won’t cut it. If you are going to work at home and expect to be as productive as you were in an office setting, you need a home office. Whether it’s a space in the basement, an extra bedroom or a space in the corner, dedicate a space that is solely for business.
- Have all the business tools you need: You can’t run a business or be as productive as possible if you don’t have the tools you need. Make sure you have a computer, software and the business supplies you need to do your job effectively.
- Stay connected: Even though you may be at home, you still need to remain connected with your colleagues and clients. Have a dedicated phone line for work, and keep up with people by email and social media or even video chat.
- Take breaks: People who work from home can fall into the habit of sitting at their computers for hours on end, but this is actually not productive. It’s recommended that people work in 50-minute intervals throughout the day, taking a 15-minute break in between. People who follow this tend to be more effective at work, even though they may work slightly less.
- Set work–home boundaries: Setting boundaries is vital. Let people know that when you are working, you are not to be bothered. Tell your friends and family to treat your time the same way they would if you worked outside the home.
- Get out of the office occasionally: Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you need to work there all the time. It’s a good idea to work elsewhere occasionally, even if it’s just a trip to the local coffee shop or library to change things up. This will help you prevent the feeling of cabin fever or feeling isolated.
- Create separation between work and home life: This can be challenging, but if work and home infringe on each other, you may start to feel as though you are not getting enough work done, while also feeling as if you can never get away from work. Don’t work during home time, and don’t do home tasks during the workday.
Working from home is becoming a viable option for employees today, and you can be productive and successful working from home if you set up solid ground rules first.