From 2005 to 2012, telecommuting in U.S. has seen a spurt of 80%. Ned Hallowell, a well-known name with an upcoming book titled Driver to Distraction at Work was quoted as saying “The obvious benefits for workers include flexibility, autonomy, and the comfort of working in your own space.”
Recently, 77 percent of remote employees reported higher productivity telecommuting. Moreover, 24 percent felt that they were to able to accomplish much more work in the same amount of time, and 30 percent of those surveyed felt that they could accomplish more work in less time.
Telecommuting is sure convenient and great for new and young parents, but there may be factors affecting productivity in the long run. Here is some tried and tested work from home tips for employees:
1. Begin Early
The golden rule of telecommuting is knowing what time is most productive and working then. Many urban professionals are night owls which are quite a poor practice. Not only does it affect health but also productivity!
Many corporate coaches recommend beginning early in the morning and making the most post the golden hour. Early morning is free from distractions and quite positive and refreshing too. Employees can walk their dog, get a cup of coffee, take a light shower, open their laptop and get to work.
The routine is simple, wake up at six, get working by eight and stretch the morning shift until twelve or one. Morning is the great time to get meaty tasks finished. Even if you have kids, you can expect a good five to six hours work in the morning after sending them to school. Working in morning helps in lightening the workload by covering much of the work in early hours. Then you can save easy tasks for noon and evening.
Starting early will help you wrap up work by early evening too, allowing sufficient time for evening walks and dinner preparations.
2. Get Ready
Kick away the pajamas and put on your work clothes!
Many might argue that not needing to dress up is probably the biggest advantage of telecommuting, however, the reason is psychological. Sitting around in lethargy-inducing pajamas and sweatshirts discourages you mentally from actively pursuing work. There might not be a study but there is a reason organization emphasize on a formal dress code.
You don’t need to put on the tightest pair of your beige pencil skirt, but a decent trouser and blouse might just be the antidote to lethargy at home. You might possess a praiseworthy range of pajamas and sweatshirts, but investing in work clothes and wearing them at home will help you in maintaining yourself mentally for telecommuting. Following a routine for work at home is quite challenging but putting on the work look every morning will get you one step ahead.
3. Plan Your Day
“Without supervision, even the most conscientious of us can slack off,” states Hallowell.
Being a remote professional, you need to plan a schedule to structure your day. Planning is great for motivation as it sets clear and defined goals. Whether you are new to telecommuting or have developed quite some experience at it, you need to set your goals, every day, week and month. They need to be realistic and you need to meet your daily goals consistently every day.
Set clear boundaries and don’t let your home life intrude in your work routine. If you are not experienced at maintaining solid boundaries separating work and home life, you might lose the balance. But don’t get too consumed with work either and schedule quality time with your family, friends, and pets.
Use collaboration software, set mini-deadlines in the morning when you make a task sheet and pick a definitive finishing time for work so you know you are getting off at six or seven.
When you work a little extra, follow a simple rule: Treat yourself to the extra work and take some time off for a nice longer walk or some extra dessert.
4. Cut back on social media
Social media is perhaps the biggest evil you will encounter during your professional journey unless you are a social media professional.
Some Social media platforms are designed to lure visitors and different games and quizzes keep them engaged. Avoid the temptation and don’t log in to your Facebook account regardless of the numerous notifications. Make a social media routine and use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and others during this specific time only. You can choose lethargic noon hours or reserve social media for a post-lunch time.
Often ten minutes on facebook and twitter stretch to fifteen and then to half an hour and longer! It’s an unavoidable, slippery path designed to pave way for visitors/members spend more time on the platform but a wise decision would be to control giving into the temptation and saving a lot of time.
These days’ websites post a social media link for visitors so they can access the website page and like/follow it to get latest updates. It may be an effective marketing tactic but it’s quite useless for visitors as you can just bookmark the website and visit it later on for updates.
5. Interact during noon
Afternoons can be painfully lethargic. If Lona Sandon, RD, MEd, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association is to be believed, then laziness at noon is quite natural for our body. She states, “There seems to be a natural rhythm or set clock in our bodies, so many people tend to feel a little sleepy around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. There seems to be something natural about this lull. Some cultures have the siesta, and people find that they're more productive and better able to concentrate if they take time off after lunch and come back later.”
But this doesn’t mean you should write off afternoons. Instead, use the time to make calls and take a cooking break. Telecommuting from Starbucks or a café is quite an interesting idea too since it gets you the constant chatter and crowd with a nice, fresh smell of coffee and donuts. But if you are working from home then take a break around one or two and enjoy cooking and a brief walk. Cooking a meal will help you re-energize yourself and come back to work after freshening up.
Telecommuting is quite convenient and may prove to be a blessing for those unable to commute everyday because of health and other issues. Evolving work culture has made it a valuable practice that most businesses are adopting. Nevertheless, it is the employee’s responsibility to limit fatigue, distractions from influencing his/her daily tasks.
Simple tips like following daily goals and maintaining a definitive routine will indeed assist employees in enjoying work from home culture without compromising on relaxation and home life.