In this new world of flexible work employees have a lot of power to pick and choose where and how they want to work. This has been reflected in the number of employers who are now choosing to offer everything from work from home packages, pre and after school care for working parents, flexible hours and even mobility. In actual fact a lot of people are now negotiating everything from mobile data fees to home internet as standard salary packaging arrangements. The hope is of course that a happy employee will be more productive – but; its not always so. How do you know if you can work from home and be productive? Here are five things you need to be doing:
#1: Get yourself into a routine: Just like in the workplace you need to have and enforce a routine. For those who work in an office you must get up and be at work by a certain time, have lunch at a certain time and leave for the day at a certain time. It is important that you repeat the process at home each day until you get yourself into a routine. If you don’t then what could happen is you sleep in like it’s the weekend, you fall behind on your work or you rush to get things completed.
#2: Dress for the occasion and don’t dress down: If you wouldn’t wear your Pj's to the office or walk around the office tea room in your underwear then don’t do it when you work from home. I know, I sound like a fun buster but here’s why: many people who work from home have a direct video link into the office and, on the odd occasion, managers do check up on you. I have heard countless stories of employees who are working from home sitting on a video call in next to nothing. Also, dressing for work (and no I don’t mean wearing a tie or high heels at home) is a psychological thing training your brain to think as if you are still in a sort of office environment.
#3: Don’t be tempted to turn the TV on – yes, that’s right stay away from the remote control – during the day the remote control and Netflix are not your friends. All that will happen is you’ll convince yourself that “this episode is only an hour but its ok I’ll just sneak the one in” – that never happens, and you know it!
#4: Get out and about for lunch: Always try and get out of the house for lunch; give yourself a break by going to the local coffee shop or even better still make your lunch the night before and head for the local park – by removing yourself from the workplace you take a mental break and it stops the temptation from doing the housework between online meetings and emails!
#5: Set aside office specific space: Make sure you have a separate office, where possible, at home or a dedicated working space that you can use. Again, this creates a mental workspace in the home and is kind of your “get up and head to work” moment each morning which fits in with your routine. I know this can be difficult if you share house or have kids so wherever possible try and make it work. In addition, you could apply for tax relief for having a dedicated home office (check with your local tax authorities).
Of course there are also immense benefits such as:
Freedom: yes go on, walk around in your undies if you like! There is research that shows people who work from home feel less pressured than if they were in the workspace. The other thing is that if you do get your work done you can finish early and do other things – at work if you finish your jobs early we sometimes like to pretend looking busy!
The amenities: this is a big one because often the home will have more amenities than a workplace. Your own kitchen and fridge, you don’t have to worry about the smell coming from the toilet after that pesky workmate came back from having spicy curry for lunch and even better if you have a pool right!
No commute: this is especially good for those who have to sit in traffic four hours on end. Working from home is not for everyone but when it works, it works well for both you, your family and your employer
The key really is to start with a routine and dedicate a space to work from. The rest is just pure common-sense.
P.S try and limit your Facebook time and whatever you do keep YouTube watching to a minimum (especially since most internet connections are still provided by an employer – they can still watch you!).
Matthew Tukaki is the former Head of the worlds oldest and largest employment company, Drake International and is the Host of the popular radio show on the Talking Lifestyle Network, Second Career. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter
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