Have a dedicated work area where you can concentrate and spread out

 

 

Work from Home supervisor

 

 

Schedule time for breaks throughout the day

 

Best Practices Working from Home

Until we have formal telework policies, and some of us return to work at least some days a week, we will make the best of the current situation. First, have the right tools in place. Then, here are some best personal practices to help you be productive and focused as you work from home.

Set aside a Dedicated Work Area

Create a quiet place where you can concentrate and spread out. It may not be an elaborate set-up, but you want an area where work-related material can be stored and organized so important papers aren't lost somewhere in the house. A dedicated area also trains the brain to associate this place with professional activities, separate from your personal life.

Make sure your workspace functions efficiently for you and your work style. Surround yourself with things that inspire you and make you happy - flowers, music or pictures. Make your workspace a place you enjoy going to each day, so you can focus and do your best work.

Set and keep regular work hours

Do your best to set work hours and keep to them. Develop a schedule and stick to it with the same dedication as when going into the office. This makes it easier to stay on track and helps managers, co-workers, and family members plan how and when to interact with you.

Some interruptions can’t be avoided. Project deadlines may unexpectedly require extra hours. Family obligations can interfere, especially if children are home during the day.

Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps maintain work-life balance. At the end of the work day, leave work at the "office" and enjoy the rest of your day. This will help you recharge so you can be as productive as possible the next day.

Dress to impress, even if it's just for your dog or cat

The way you dress affects the way you feel, so it's a good work habit to wear a casual, but not sloppy, work wardrobe. Looking professional can be especially important if you will be on video phone calls during the day.

Taking the time to shower, have breakfast, brush your teeth and dress in work clothes can make you feel more confident and make the break between home and office -- even if they’re in the same place.

Plan your workday ...

Structure your workday to maximize efficiency. A quick review of your calendar when you first start work can set you up for a productive workday.

Make a list of your most important tasks before you move on to less urgent business. If possible, shut your office door, (if you have one), to signal to others that you’re working and are not to be disturbed.

... and know your peak productivity

Take advantage of your body’s natural rhythms and plan your work around your most productive hours. If you know you focus best in the morning, start on projects that need your undivided attention and resist the temptation to check email until 10 a.m. or later.

If you can choose your hours, remember that results are what matters. Completing a task when your energy level is highest or the home environment is most conducive may be more productive than insisting on sticking to a regular 9-to-5 schedule.

Take breaks

Schedule time for frequent breaks throughout the day. Get up from your desk, stretch or walk around the house. Take a coffee break or enjoy a midday meal.

A major advantage to working from home is having the flexibility to take an online exercise class or a walk down the street.

Taking a break and getting your breath and blood moving can reinvigorate you and make for a more productive day.

Avoid Distractions

One challenge of working from home is that with no coworkers or managers nearby to see what you're doing, it’s easy to become distracted by people, pets and chores at your house. You'll be more productive if you avoid these distractions and stay focused on work.

Avoid online distractions as well. Limit the time you spend on email, social media and websites that aren't related to work. Set a timer on your phone or computer if it helps you limit the time you spend on them. Don’t waste time on meetings or activities that are are not necessary or related to work.

Finally, at home there are always errands to run and chores to do. Do your best to put off household tasks, like laundry and dishes, until you've gone "home" for the evening.

Click here for ways to make dealing with distractions easier.