One of the most common concerns I hear about remote working is that it will decrease productivity. After all, if you’re not there to watch over your team, how much work will they really get done?
However, recently more and more companies are actively encouraging remote working, and there’s a growing body of research suggesting that employees who work from home are actually more productive than those who work from the office.
Of course, working from home can certainly be distracting, but only if you’re not doing it right.
Here are 7 tips I use to stay productive when working from home…
1. Get ready for work
Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you should be sitting around in your pajamas all day.
Getting showered/dressed/shaved/made-up or whatever you’d do before going into the office is just as important when working from home. Getting ready for a regular work day helps me get out of the “leisure” mindset, wherever I am.
2. Set up a home office
It might be tempting to try to work on the sofa with the TV on but you need to cut out distractions. There’s a reason most offices don’t have TVs…
Working in your bedroom or living room can also have a negative impact on your downtime as you may come to associate your personal space with work making it difficult to ‘switch off’.
Personally, I like to keep my home office tidy and uncluttered so I can really focus on the task at hand. I also make sure to tell the family I’m working and ask them not to disturb me.
3. Invite a colleague over
If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate at home, why not invite someone over to work with you? Discuss what you find difficult about working from home and how you can help each other stay focused.
Why not try writing a list of what you plan to get done each day and share it with your colleague? Knowing that someone else expects you to be productive will encourage you to work harder and get more done.
4. Stay connected
Working from home can leave you feeling disconnected from your colleagues and out of touch with your company.
Try using Campfire or HipChat to keep communication between you and your co-workers open all day. We mainly use Campfire for work related conversations but it often gets overrun with GIFs, links to interesting articles and general chit chat.
I find that chatting with my team stops me feeling disconnected when working from home (and helps me keep an eye on what they’re up to!)
5. Stick to your hours
Working from home doesn’t mean you should work whenever you feel like it.
That doesn’t mean you have to stick to the 9-5 schedule you find so stifling in the office. Choose a work schedule that suits you but do make sure you get enough hours in (and no more). This might mean starting work at 6pm and working through the night or working 4 hours in the morning and 4 in the evening. It’s your call, but pick your hours and stick to them!
6. Track your time
I believe measuring is key to productivity. Without recording how you’re spending your time, how can you possible know if you’re spending it right?
Track your working hours and exactly how long you spend on each task. This will help you to identify your prime working hours and where you are losing time and productivity.
7. Don’t forget to talk to other humans!
It might seem like a nice idea, spending a day alone without having to deal with other people, but I recommend making sure you talk to at least one human being a day, ideally face to face. Remember, we’re social animals and while peace and quiet is nice every once in a while, we need to be around other people to be happy and productive.
How do you make the most out of working from home? Share your experiences in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.