Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse: On the one hand, you never have to worry about the rush hour commute; but on the other, you spend a lot of time cooped up in one single, solitary location. If you've ever found telecommuting difficult, though, Fast Company's latest video, "8 Ways to Make Working from Home More Efficient," might help. It walks you through a variety of tips and tricks geared towards upping your productivity while also keeping you sane — both of which are equally important.
Speaking as someone who has worked exclusively from home for a number of years, I can personally vouch for most of these pointers; at the same time, though, I also think it's worth noting that not all of them will be applicable for everyone — nor do they need to. For example, one of the most commonly quoted pieces of advice for working from home stipulates getting yourself dressed, sometimes in business attire, before starting your work day; I've never found what I wear to have any sort of bearing on how efficiently I work, though, so I very rarely put on what I consider "real clothing" before getting down to business (that's what loungewear is for). That's just me, though; for others, getting dressed is an essential part of working remotely. Figure out what works for you, then go forth and do it.
Here are a few of the tips I find to be most helpful; scroll down to watch the whole video:
1. Set a Schedule for Yourself
Setting a schedule actually sub-divides into two different pointers — the one up top, and this one:
Starting on time I mainly consider to be a matter of courtesy: If your colleagues actually have to get themselves to an office in the morning, habitually not sitting down at your computer at the start of office hours is the same thing as waltzing into the office late all the time (that is, super rude. Don't be that person). But picking a closing time is equally important: If you're like me, for example, if you don't set a time to sign off, you'll never "leave the office." Obviously a lot of us work jobs that require some overtime (the Internet, for example, never, ever sleeps. Ever) — but it's also important to remember not to spend every single waking hour working.
2. Give Yourself an "Office"
Confession: I actually don't follow this tip; I'm perfectly happy writing from my couch all day. But if you know you're the kind of person that needs a distraction-free zone, definitely set one up for yourself — and as a bonus, you can usually write your home office off on your taxes if you have one.
3. Make Sure Everyone Knows Not to Bug You During Your Work Hours
Family and friends. The most important thing here is being able to communicate clearly to your pals and loved ones that work hours are — as much of a no-brainer as it sounds — for working. Sometimes, people seem to think that working from home means, "Oh, you work from home? That must mean that you do, like, ten minutes of a work a day and then just do other things for the rest of the time, so clearly it is A-OK for me to call you and talk your ear off for an hour." If you find yourself in this situation, just remind them that they wouldn't call you at the office to gab about last night's episode of Agent Carter; as such, they shouldn't do it when your office is your house, either. Then make plans to catch up later — after hours.
Watch the whole video below: