Work From Home Organization Strategies
Working at home comes with lots of benefits. The commute, for starters, doesn’t get much better. And statistically, two-thirds of managers report work from home employees are 40% more productive. 86% of employees say the same thing. Hey, even pants are optional.
But it’s important to have an effective organization plan to make it sustainable. If you are or want to be one of the 3.7 million people that work from home, these strategies for organizing your workday and environment will help you meet your goals.
Strategies for Organizing Your Workday
Set a starting time. Punctuality counts! (even if you report to yourself) Determine how much time you need in order to get down to business each morning. You should treat your start/clock-in time just as you would if going into the office. Punctuality is more than just a great habit.
Know when your work day is over. Whether this is the conclusion of an 8 hour block, ideal stopping point during a project, or even the self-implemented clock-out time you’ve established so you can take the dog for a walk / meet your friends / finish binge that last season on Netflix, etc. Hold onto your leisure and family time. It’s just as important to establish an end to your work day. In the long run, maintaining productivity usually means avoiding excessive overtime.
Leave room for breaks. Give yourself a chance to take a breather and socialize. Stay connected by arranging of lunch dates. Pause during the day for meals, exercise and rest.
Put your daily calendar in writing. Organize your tasks and meetings onto a daily calendar. It will help you to juggle your workload and take on the most challenging jobs at the time of day when you feel most alert.
Fill out a timesheet. This may seem a bit micro-managey but there’s a good reason why many companies ask their employees to hand in timesheets. You’ll be able to track how your time really gets spent. The results can be as beneficial as they are surprising.
Keep regular sleep hours. You might be tempted to stay up until all hours because there’s no morning commute ahead of you. In reality, you still need a full night’s sleep to be at your best. Don’t cheat yourself here and stick to a routine.
Pay yourself back. Sick days and car repairs will sometimes interfere with your plans. Be flexible. You can always make the time up when things calm down. This, after all, is one of the key benefits to work from home.
Consider your individual needs. Depending on the nature of your company and/or role, you may be able to ignore the usual nine to five protocol. On the other hand, ensure you are still accessible to clients and colleagues during the hours when they need to reach you. This is the trade-off.
Evaluate yourself. Track how you’re doing. Give yourself a monthly review to identify any improvements that would be helpful. Understanding your own challenges and successes can help build your development as well as progress within your role. These insights should be shared with your manager and discussed openly.
Strategies for Organizing Your Environment
Designate a specific work area. Having a work from home office or at least some space devoted exclusively to business makes it easier to focus on professional activities. Once you pick your spot, the setting itself will help remind you to focus on your job.
Notify your family. Enlist the support of your whole household. Ask your spouse and kids to minimize interruptions. Let them know the best time to contact you on workdays. Post a reminder on your “office” door during conference calls or other times when you need to avoid disturbances.
Limit visitors and errands. You may also need to notify your neighbors that working at home still means you are working. It’s nice to be helpful and hospitable, but ensure your day remains manageable.
Get a partner. Leverage your team. Many professionals who work at home find it helpful to link up with each other. You can schedule a daily call to discuss how things are going. Knowing that you’ll be giving even an informal report may provide the motivation you need to keep your mind on your accomplishments.
Develop a viable schedule for the work you do at home and stick to it. It’s a great way to enjoy your independence while affording to keep the lights on. Work from home opportunities are slowly becoming the norm in today’s workforce. It can provide the flexibility of a modern work / life balance and is more cost effective for employers overall. The key is to set yourself up for success and follow through. Good luck!