I have prepared for you 8 tips on how to work effectively from home. Why is it an important topic? According to the FlexJobs study between 2005 and 2017, there was a 159% increase in the number of people working remotely in the United States.
In Poland, this trend is developing slowly, but given recent events in the world (Coronavirus, home studying, remote work), it can significantly accelerate in the coming years. Already in many corporations, as well as smaller companies, you can work a few days a month from home.
According to another Flex Jobs Study, 65% of people are more productive working from home than in a traditional workplace. The Republic (2017), Kantar TNS and RemoteHow report that 76% of Poles use remote work if they have the opportunity to do so.
Remote work, due to its limitations is not for everyone but some industries (e.g. marketing, sales, IT, education) can prove to be a good alternative.
So how to work efficiently from home?
1. Schedule tasks the day before
Working from home involves various temptations from all corners (e.g. another episode of the favorite Netflix series, another achievement to unlock in a computer game, a refrigerator filled with food). To avoid them you should schedule to-do tasks the day before. And stick to it. Of course, you can modify them during your work, but first, you should have a draft of your tasks. It can be a list in your notepad or a kanban board created in a software application (e.g. Todoist, Asana, Trello, Microsoft Planner, Google Keep). I often combine both ways. General tasks on the computer screen and detailed points and subpoints on a piece of sheet. Tasks must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed.
- Specific – well-defined, clear and unambiguous; specifically define what you expect done/delivered.
- Measurable – define specific criteria for measuring progress toward accomplishing each established goal.
- Achievable – requires you to stretch but is not impossible to achieve.
- Relevant – the goal is related to the department’s mission and/or a specific project or program.
- Timely – the time frame is clearly defined or progress toward achievement is tracked at regular intervals
Another important thing – set priorities for tasks.
2. Give time to work, break and rest
When you are planning tasks set up work intervals (e.g. 10-12), breaks (e.g. 5 or 15-minute breaks after each hour) and longer rests (e.g. 12-13, 16-17). Why is it so important? You may find that after completing one of several tasks you will feel a sudden surge of endorphins and you will find that this is the moment for a “reward” and instead of a small break, it will be a very long break. That is what we want to avoid.
3. Night owl or early bird?
My rhythm of work is typical for early birds. The best things come out of me in the morning, and that’s why I often start the day with the most difficult tasks, requiring the most attention and creativity. This is not the rule, but it works quite often.
When you are a night owl you are probably more efficient during late hours.
Working from home allows you to adjust your working hours to your natural rhythm. Work when you have the highest efficiency.
4. Use instant messaging
If your work requires contact with colleagues, customers, partners, or others, then determine how to communicate with them in advance. If you’re already using a program like Skype, Slack, or Teams, that’s great. If not, I recommend that you first get acquainted with Slack. It’s a great communication tool that lets you organize your conversation with multiple people and solve problems on the fly.
5. Agree your work with your household members
Don’t live alone? Tell your family or roommates that you are going to work from home that day and during these hours. You can combine household chores with breaks.
6. Create working conditions (very important)
It is good to separate space and create a place for work (desk, chair, computer, dedicated space in the room). Ideally, it should be a place away from various temptations and household members. Some of my friends also practice dressing “like work”, because pajamas can make you lazy. There’s something about 🙂
7. Go outside
Take care of the comfort of work and if you have the opportunity, go out for a short walk, take the dog or go to the local store for something good.
8. Save files to the cloud
If you are working partly or only at home it is worth securing access to materials.
Of course, you can send everything to an email, save to a USB or burn to a disc (do you?), but this is a short way towards chaos. Suddenly you will see several versions of files, with different markings, modification dates. Well, trouble guaranteed.
If you have a Gmail account, you can hook up Google Drive (+ Backup and Sync) or use OneDrive for Microsoft accounts. There is also an option to use Dropbox. What does it look like in practice? You hook up the service, sync folders between your computer and Cloud (Google Drive/OneDrive/Dropbox) and voila! Now you have access to your files from anywhere on Earth.
Thank you for reading!