Ah, the perks of work-from-home days: comfier clothes, plenty of snacks, a nonexistent commute. But there are productivity perils to working from home, too. Learn how to combat them with our guide to boosting your productivity from the comfort of your own home office.
As companies increasingly offer flexible work schedules, employees are learning how to balance their office-based workdays with their work-from-home schedules. In fact, offices have great incentive to offer employees the option to work from home for at least part of the week — increased savings, reduced office space, and decreased employee turnover and absenteeism.
Almost 40 percent of Americans could work from home, at least part-time, reports Bloomberg. Twice that number say that they would do so if the opportunity was available. Advocacy group Telework Research Network estimates that if employees with telework-compatible jobs worked from home one day weekly, companies could save $6,500 per employee, per year.
Are you a part of the growing trend? Take a look at our top tips for mastering the work-from-home day:
Change out of those PJs
As tempting as it is to stay in pajamas all morning, dressing the part makes a big difference in your mindset. Education specialist Catherine Waldron tells blog Inc., “Getting dressed makes the home office more like a real office, and tells and reminds everyone, especially you, that even though you may be sitting on the sofa reading, browsing the Web, or talking on the phone, that you are actually working.” Plus, if you have to Skype or video chat with coworkers or clients unexpectedly, you’ll be prepared.
Whether you live with your spouse and children or a gaggle of roommates, be sure to establish boundaries so that they know when you’re on the clock. (Inc. recommends hanging a homemade stop sign on your door when you’re busy, and a green light when you’re available.)
Identify your workspace
If you don’t have a dedicated home office setup, create one — even if it’s just an unused corner of your coffee table. Be sure you have adequate cell reception and internet connectivity in the area you choose. Clear out the clutter, remove non-work-related paraphernalia, and stock up on any supplies you’ll need. Printer toner, anyone?
Make your schedule, and stick to it
Before you take on a work from home commitment, speak with your supervisor about what is expected. One study has shown that people who work from home put in, on average, an extra hour a day. Set up a schedule that works for you, determine if you’ll earn overtime and how it will be documented, and, if necessary, agree to the terms in writing with your company.
Get out of the house
While in the office we’re often surrounded by coworkers, at home we have feweropportunities for interaction. Step outside for a coffee break, or work from a public spot, such as the library, advises Business Insider. “When complete isolation makes it harder, rather than easier, to concentrate, it’s time to relocate to somewhere with some friendly white noise.”
Don’t let the old axiom, “out of sight, out of mind” apply to you. Be sure your boss and coworkers know that you’re available — and that you’re hard at work — by following up and checking in throughout the day.