Please enjoy this guest post from the helpful folks at Office Suites Plus, a virtual office company.
Through recent advances in technology, the number of people working from home offices has greatly increased in the past decade. And for good reason. When you take the proper steps, a home office allows you to work from the comfort and convenience of home without sacrificing productivity. Here are five helpful tips to make your “home office” time more productive.
1. Adhere to a schedule: People who work from home have the luxury of creating their own schedule, but it is still important to treat your day like a regular work day. That means waking up early, allotting a reasonable amount of time for lunch, and making yourself available to coworkers and clients at the same hours each day. This not only helps make you more productive, but it also ensures that you aren’t wasting your coworker’s or client’s time.
2. Eliminate Distractions: A home office is an easy place to get distracted. Televisions, the Internet, spouses, and children can all contribute to a decrease in work productivity. While computers and the Internet are almost essential to perform any job in this digital age and therefore impossible to do without, utmost care should be taken to remove all other distractions from the working environment. You should choose an environment that is most relaxing to you. This could mean the peace and quiet of a basement or the beauty and radiance of a sun room.
3. Keep in touch: The modern employee uses a variety of technologies to stay in touch with coworkers. Email, instant messengers, text messages, and phone calls are absolutely vital to communicate effectively with coworkers and clients. Keeping them up-to-date with progress on projects will help everyone work at an optimal level. As mentioned previously, making yourself available between predefined hours is a great way to stay productive.
4. Take Breaks: A Gallup Poll conducted in 2000 showed that 80% of workers feel stress on the job and over half said they need help managing it. Working from home may help alleviate some of the stresses that come from a regular 9-5, but it may also create some new ones. After all, it is hard to escape the stresses of the office when you live in one. A great way to avoid “burning out” is to pace yourself throughout the work day. Short breaks every couple of hours can go a long way to reducing stress. Lastly, don’t be afraid to close your laptop and turn off your work phone when 5pm rolls around. You obviously need to finish all work-related responsibilities, but you are not obligated to be on call 24/7.
5. Stay Organized: Clutter kills productivity! Excess clutter is a distraction and can make it awfully difficult to find what you need amongst a mess of paper. The solution, go paperless! Throw away all sticky-notes, calendars, and to-do list and opt for their electronic equivalent. Removing all non-work related materials from your desk will help you stay focused on the job at hand. If you aren’t the type to continually maintain a clean working environment, dedicate a day in the week to tidying up.
Using these five tips, your home office productivity should greatly improve.