Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. With more companies shifting to greener practices and others looking to expand their reach to other areas, video conferencing will become the norm for remote workers and occasional telecommuters. But concentrating while in the comfort of one’s home can be challenging with so many distractions close by. Here we offer a few tricks to help stay focused and productive at home as you would in any office.
We certainly don’t expect you to don a full three piece suit to walk 10 steps into your home office. It can be as simple as putting on a pressed button-down shirt. It’s all about getting into the mindset of getting ready to do work.
Read motivational material
No one’s around to motivate you so the onus is on you to jumpstart the workday. Make a list of your favorite motivational quotes; keep it in plain view as a constant reminder. Also subscribe to any of these great motivational blogs.
Create the environment
Whichever room you choose to work from, make sure there’s a good balance of natural and artificial light. Keep the work area free of clutter and of any distractions like a TV or a distracting view. Ensure that it isn’t in a high traffic area during your scheduled work hours.
Comfort and ergonomics
It’s important to pick a desk and chair that is comfortable but won’t lead you to slink down into an after lunch coma. Keep these ergonomic exercises close by for quick reference when you start to feel tired or tense.
It’s easy to get distracted if your eyes wander to dishes that need washing or those shelves you’ve been meaning to put up. Place your work calendar, to-do lists or any business cards in open view. This is a small subtle reminder that you are in work mode.
The biggest disadvantage of the remote worker is the inability to interact and collaborate with colleagues who are back at the office. Unlike the traditional audio call, video conferencing gives the added benefit of visual stimulation and the feeling that you are connected to the team.
Schedule a set time
Get into the habit of creating set work hours. The routine will also help regulate your work and create a healthy work-life balance. Others in the house will also learn to respect and work around your schedule.
Like the last point, let people know that you will be unavailable at certain hours. Make signs that you do not want to be disturbed. If you’ll be on a video conference call, make sure pets and children aren’t able to run in and interrupt.
Make different music playlists
If you’re feeling sleepy, put together a playlist of high-energy music to get your blood going. Conversely, if you need to buckle down and concentrate, putting on mellow classical or instrumental music. Pandora and Spotify have great ready-made playlists.
Eat the right food
Don’t be tempted by reaching for last night’s leftovers if you're feeling sluggish. Whole grains, nuts and fish, help boost blood flow and energy. Other foods like yogurt, eggs and fruit are rich with the vitamins and nutrients needed to improve memory.