Home Offices: Four Productivity Tips and Techniques for Working from Home

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“I love working for myself from home: I get along with everyone in the office; I can show up in pajamas and I always win Employee of the month.”-Missy Mwac

 

Working from home can either be a bane or boon.

On one hand, you get to leverage your schedule, decide on whether your nighties would be an acceptable corporate outfit and take a power nap (or sleep if that is more preferable) whenever you feel overwhelmed with work. On the other hand, however, you are presented with a myriad of distractions that would make you seemingly lose focus at the tasks at hand. Sure, you get to have your own schedule and work as you please, but can you really get anything done if every thirty minutes or so you find your attention straying elsewhere? Indeed, working from home offers us the convenience which a traditional office would lack—with good reason. Unfortunately, it is precisely because of these conveniences that we get distracted. What if you are working on a report and suddenly find yourself hungry? Would you drop everything just to fix yourself a snack in the kitchen? Similarly, what if you are in the middle of finishing an article and find your eyes wandering towards the television wherein live updates of a particular game are showing? Furthermore, if you are gripped with bouts of drowsiness, it would be a lot harder to resist the temptation to just go lie and bed and rest your eyes for a few minutes—only to seemingly waste an entire afternoon on what should have been a short power nap. Indeed, while working from home is an advantage coveted by many employees, it also presents a world of work impediments as well. It would be entirely up to the individual whether he or she can successfully hurdle such challenges and focus on the task at hand.

Not to worry though, being productive while working from home and away from the office—whether you may be stationed in a BGC condo or living elsewhere—is very much possible. While working outside a traditional office milieu does present its unique set of challenges for maintaining a consistent level of focus, the key is to create an environment that helps you focus. In any case, here are some of the tips to ensure you do not get easily distracted:

 

Act like you are still going to work

If truth be told, our homes are not the most conducive place for getting work done. After all, homes are designed to provide optimal comfort and relaxation—both of which are ideal for downtime. Unfortunately, this can present as a deterrent for getting any significant work done. In this regard, it might be best to get dressed for work. This means that wearing the same clothes you slept in for work is a big no-no. Productivity starts with flipping the switch to work mode and that means changing out of your pajamas to work appropriate outfits. So, the moment you rise in the morning, make yourself some coffee or tea and get dressed in clothes that would be acceptable in a corporate environment.

Compartmentalize your space

One of the biggest mistakes individuals make when working from home is working in the area where they also sleep. You should avoid the practice of working where you sleep and steer clear from confining your life to an area the size of a mattress. Designate a space that should be dedicated entirely to work. Let this be your work area. Ideally, this place should be an area in your home where you do not sleep or spend time with your family. Remember, a conflation between your work and personal space would only put unnecessary stress into your relaxation and sleep habits.

Mix it up

While it is recommended to have a station for work at home, that does not mean you should confine yourself to your home office every single day between the hours of work you have allocated for yourself. Working from a coffee shop or co-working stations would be an excellent alternative to working from home. Furthermore, working in a coffee shop or somewhere similar at least once a week can actually perk up your creativity and productivity based on the noise. According to research, moderate levels of ambient noise is actually conducive to creative cognition.

Minimize distractions

One of the biggest benefits about working from home is that you basically have the freedom to do anything whether that may be creating the ultimate disco playlist for your home office or piling sandwiches in front of your monitor. However, just because you are free to do so does not mean that you should. During your working hours, you should at least make a conscious effort to minimize distractions as much as you can. This means not spending hours just to create the perfect work mode mix and keeping pets away from your workplace. Furthermore, if your children will be at home while you are working, make sure that they understand the importance of your quiet and focused time. Lastly, remember that just because you are home, it does not mean that you are available for every visitor that might come. Let your visitors know that you have a deadline to meet and would be available to chat only when you are done.

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