Working remotely is getting increasingly popular, with more and more companies allowing their employees to work from home. Remote employment is great on so many levels. It saves on commuting money and time and also prevents managers from breathing down your neck constantly. However, it is all hunky-dory till your children come home from school and require all your attention or your neighbor's teenage daughter throws a day party for all her friends. It has often been debated whether working from an office or from home is more productive. While working remotely offers great flexibility and the opportunity to stay in your pyjamas all day, it has its challenges, too. Here are a few tips for those working remotely:
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- Follow a regular routine. Take a shower and get dressed as if you are actually going to an office. This not only motivates you, but also reminds everyone at home that you're working.
- Create a daily task list and set self-imposed deadlines. No matter how many interruptions you face, make sure to check all the work off your task list before going to bed at night.
- Set effective boundaries for friends and family members. If someone drops by to meet you, be polite yet firm and tell them that you will catch up with them after your work hours.
- If there are too many distractions at home, take your laptop to a coffee shop. This helps separate your work time from your personal time.
- Use different coloured papers to signal to your family members whether it's okay to come talk to you or whether you're too deep in an assignment. Hang these papers on the door of your room to avoid unnecessary distractions.
- Remodel your work room to look and feel like a comfortable office by investing in a comfortable business chair and special lighting to make your environment more work-friendly.
- Be clear about your work hours. Convey to your family and friends that it is not okay to disturb you during your work timings unless it is an emergency.
- Pretend in your head that you're not home. Don't answer your residence phone or the door during your work hours to avoid the temptation of taking time off.
- Don't take non-work appointments like that of a doctor or your tailor in the middle of the day. Book an appointment as you would while working at a proper office – ideally at the beginning or at the end of the day to maximise productivity.
- Try to meet your virtual team in person at least once a month. Sharing goals and work modules will you a fresh perspective on how to get the most out of working from home.
- Enjoy the flexibility that your work schedule allows. If you find your concentration wavering, indulge in some fun activity or take the day off to rejuvenate yourself.
- Invest in a noise-cancelling headset with a mute button so that you don't get caught off-guard during an important call because of the police sirens blaring down your street.
- Start your day early. If you're a morning person, your mind will be fresh and awake before the rest of your house is up and you can get maximum work done during this period.
- Structure your day like you would while working at an office. Don't take unscheduled lunch breaks or wander off into the kitchen to snack. Follow a set schedule.
- Remove all social networking sites from your toolbar bookmarks to avoid the temptation of constantly logging onto Facebook and Twitter.
Working from home is a luxury not many get to enjoy. If you've bagged the opportunity to work remotely, make sure to follow the above tips so that your productivity levels stay high and your work doesn't suffer.