Global Workplace Analytics estimates over 3 million American workers telecommute at least part-time. The high-tech sector is no stranger to this trend. In fact, I’m part of that statistic. While there are some obvious benefits (Who misses rush hour traffic?), there are some challenges. Here’s how I make my home office work for me.
1. Make room and reduce clutter
Designate an area in your home for work-related duties only. Whether it’s an entire bedroom or a desk in the corner of your apartment – consider this area your own office. Remove distractions – like piles of laundry and unopened mail – and simplify your space. Check out this creative way to keep pesky cords out of sight. Consider cleaning up your virtual workspace too. De-cluttering your desktop and organizing folders will help you work more efficiently.
2. Get comfortable but not too much
Working from home allows you to get in your comfort zone, but make sure to rein it in sometimes. Get out of your pajamas and into some comfortable day clothes. Sit in an ergonomic chair and position your monitor and keyboard to promote good posture. Let in natural light whenever possible to brighten the room – and your mood.
3. Make a schedule and stick to it
One of the pitfalls of working from home is that you will end up working around the clock. Stop the madness! Make your own business hours, factoring in breaks, and don’t allow personal distractions to keep you from your tasks. Resist the temptation of checking work emails or making client calls outside of those hours. When you’re off the clock, you’re off the clock.
4. Take a break or two or three
Periodic breaks keep your mind fresh and actually make you more productive. Go out for lunch; pause for a cup of Joe; take a walk. Just be sure not to go over your allotted break time so that you can still remain on schedule.
5. Change it up when you need to
We’re creatures of habit, so a change of scenery from time to time may be what you need to get in gear. If you feel like you’re in a rut, get out of the house and work from your local coffee shop or library. Find an office space you can share with other telecommuters. Even just moving your home office furniture around can provide the inspiration you need to make it through the workweek.
Do you work remotely? Tell us how you make the most of your home office.