Tips for Working From Home: Part 2
is pleased to bring you the second part of our series on Tips for Working From Home
. We know that many users of our cloud or internet-based business phone systems rely on virtual offices and working from home to get their jobs done. Here are a few more suggestions. Want more? Check out our first post on Tips for Working From Home.
1) Make sure you have everything you need to do your job.
Some people are advocates of setting up a fully functional home office, while others simply work better in a more open environment. Whichever you prefer, make sure that before you start, you’ve thought through everything you’ll need to do your job and that you have it easily accessible. Nothing is more distracting or disrupts a work flow like searching for something as simple as a pen and pad of paper, binders, or other simple office supplies. We’re not saying you need a fancy red stapler
to get your job done, just make sure you have what you need handy to minimize distractions and maximize your productive time.
2) Set boundaries with family and friends.
If your family and friends are anything like ours, they assume that just because you telecommute, that means you’re essentially sitting around doing nothing but watching TV and doing laundry. If you’re like anything like us, you know that is absolutely not true. No matter how tempting, turn down any out-of-the-ordinary requests to meet up or talk on the phone. Just because you CAN go on an outing in the middle of the day and make up your work later in the evening, that doesn’t mean you should. It’s certainly not the best way to be productive. If you wouldn’t do it working a regular desk job, don’t do it at home. (Wearing pajamas is the obvious exception).
3) Set specific work times and goals.
This goes back to being organized and maintaining a regular schedule to maximize efficiency. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, there is a finite limit to how productive you can be on any given day. You will burn out. So figure out what you want to accomplish, and try to be goal-oriented, as opposed to time-oriented. Also, try to coordinate with your coworkers. If there are specific times that your colleagues tend to work, you should align your schedule with theirs. Communication will be much more effective.
4) Track time by hand
One of the best ways to make sure your strategy is working is to track your time by hand. Every hour or so, write down what you accomplished. It will give you a sense of accomplishment, but also help you catch inefficiencies in your work. After every week, evaluate where you could have been more efficient, and at what points you find yourself wasting time. Try to eliminate those pockets (but remember to schedule regular breaks).
5) Reduce your web clutter.
Distractions are our biggest enemy. Two easy tips: 1) Close any non-essential web browsers, and establish a cap for how many browser windows can be open at once. 2) don’t check your email every 5 seconds, or every time you hear an Outlook notification. Set aside time in your day to go through and respond to email. Responding immediately after you get one sets high expectations for your response rate, and disrupts your focus on other projects.
Do you have more can’t-live-without tips? Share them with us in the comments below!