The spread of the coronavirus has transformed the way businesses run and organizations function. Today, the concept of work-from-home is more normal than ever. Traditionally, companies have discouraged this practice because they deem employees as less productive and more difficult to manage when working remotely. But that is not true. Work-from-home has enormous advantages not only for the employees but also the organizations they work in. While the former gets to enjoy flexibility and a better work-life balance, it benefits the latter in terms of reduced costs and attracts talent that prefers working remotely.
However, to make the most out of this rather convenient and cost-effective work concept, there are certain rules that one needs to follow. It goes without saying that a functional laptop, smartphone, and reliable internet plans for smooth remote-working. But there are certain work-from-home tips and habits through which you can further enhance your efficiency. Let’s have a look at some of them.
#1. Wake Up on Time
Since work-from-home eliminates the hours you spend commuting to work and back, it’s easy to get lazy and indulge in more sleeping. But that should not be the case. You should wake up at the same time as you’d do for onsite work. Use this time to freshen up, run chores, meditate, exercise, or cook a meal. Setting a consistent routine will make you disciplined in work-from-home time management.
#2. Dress Up
People often ignore the importance of dressing up while working from home. Yes, you don’t have to dress up as formally as you would for your office, but that does not mean you spend your working days in sleepwear or pajamas. The mere act of changing clothes and making your hair signals your brain to be alert and ready for something important. That’s the way our brains are programmed; they take cues from our personal and social outlook. Besides, work-from-home doesn’t mean nobody would ever have to see you. Video meetings and sessions are a norm in today’s work environment and it’s important to look presentable for them.
#3. Dedicated Workspace
When working from home you have the flexibility and freedom to choose your spot and space. This doesn’t mean you start doing your tasks from bed or any random room. You must set up a dedicated workspace in your home, one that has work vibes and is free from all kinds of distractions. Setting up a work environment in your home includes choosing a private corner or room with a comfortable desk and chair and all the work essentials (computer, diary, pens, etc.) within reach. This would improve your concentration which is the key to achieve better results.
#4. Don’t Take Long Breaks
While working from home, it is important to take regular coffee and lunch breaks as you do in the office. Breaks help you freshen up and stay active. However, taking long breaks in WFH can be detrimental to your productivity. You might be tempted to take that friend’s call thinking you have plenty of time and nobody has an eye on you, but doing so will take your mind off work and you’ll have a harder time concentrating when you get back to the task. So keep your work and personal time separate. Your hobbies and family can wait for your post-work hours.
#5. Set Ground Rules for Family Members
Today’s working generation is familiar with the work-from-home concept and the requirements that come with it. But the older and younger generation may not take it as seriously. They simply view it as work without any strict rules or routine. Yes, at times your workload may be less than usual and you’d have a few minutes to feed your pet or check on your kids, but this should not indicate to your family that’s the case every day.
It is hence important to set ground rules for family members so that your work-from-home routine and tasks are not affected due to any kind of distractions. Make them familiar with your timings, your responsibilities, and constraints and how you should not be disturbed when working. If you have children at home, engage someone to look after them during your work hours.
#6. Avoid or Limit Social Media Use
Social media is one of the biggest distractions from work both in the office and at home. Interacting with your friends, reading news, and commenting on posts is very time-consuming and addictive. Most workplaces restrict personal use of social media. But this restriction is not possible in work-from-home. If you tend to check your social media accounts every time a notification pops up, it’s a moment of interruption for your work.
So it’s extremely important to avoid or limit the use of social media during work hours. Ideally, you should discipline yourself to use it for a limited number of minutes/hours. However, if you find yourself unable to do that, you can make use of time-revealing and time-setting mobile apps to do the job for you. These apps reveal the amount of time you’ve spent on social media in a day and some even allow you to set fixed durations for each socializing app. For example, if you want to limit Facebook use to 30 minutes, the app would restrict you from using it when you’ve reached the limit.
Advantages of Work-from-Home
The work-from-home concept is becoming increasingly popular owing to the enormous advantages it offers. Let’s have a look at some of them.
#1. No Commute
The first and foremost advantage of work-from-home is not having to commute to and back from the office. It saves your transportation cost as well as your time which you can then utilize for something more productive. Besides, not having to commute significantly reduces your daily stress levels because you don’t have to deal with traffic and the worry of not being able to reach the office in time.
#2. Greater Flexibility
Work-from-home allows you more flexibility in terms of how you want to dress, where you want to sit, and how you wish to manage your time. You can easily create a routine and space that works well for you.
#3. Lesser Distractions
In-office, your boss may call you for an unplanned meeting or some colleague may come up to you for a discussion you don’t want at the moment thereby distracting you from your work. But in work-from-home, you have the freedom and authority to reduce such distractions. You can lock your door and set rules in the house that keep others from disturbing you. At the office, you may not have such authority on an individual level.
#4. Work-Life Balance
Since work-from-home gives you control over your time, it makes it easier for you to attend to the needs of your private life. The time you spend driving to work can be spent with your kids, you can also have lunch breaks with your family and you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping your friends waiting at dinner because of being stuck in traffic on your way back from the office.