The following article is a guest post.
Telecommute. Remote. Work from home. No matter what you call it, skipping the office and doing your job from your own home is on the rise for U.S. employees.
Results from a 2016 survey conducted by Gallup revealed that 43% of employed Americans spend some amount of time each week working remotely.
More and more remote employees are also finding they are more engaged and effective when they work from home as well.
Don’t miss these work from home tips for better time management and job productivity:
1. Get Dressed.
The work from home fantasy is definitely a vision of sitting at your computer in your pajamas, sippin’ hot coffee and enjoying your privacy, right?
When it comes to getting your best work done, you might want to ditch that fantasy.
Just like you’re going into the office, getting dressed in the morning, showering and brushing teeth not only helps you wake up and mentally prepare for your day, but gets you in the mindset of working hard.
Just think, you’ll always be ready for a live video meeting, and if you have to pop out to run an errand or grab lunch, you’ll be ready to go.
One of the dangers from having so much freedom and flexibility with a work from home job is losing the structure and schedule that helps you stay on track and manage your time well.
Telecommute employees will tell you that sticking to a schedule throughout your workday makes a huge impact on how much you get done (and how effective your effort is).
Share digital calendars with co-workers to schedule meetings. Keep daily lists of the tasks you need to complete and separate lists of your weekly goals.
Plan ahead for times of the day you will be intermittently unavailable and let your team know ahead of time (without going into too much detail).
3. Minimize Distractions.
You may not realize how distracting having the news on in the background of your workday may be.
Some people find themselves able to focus while listening to music or podcasts. But minimizing other distractions like having a television on, letting friends stop by during the workday, or even checking facebook regularly can help with your productivity and time management.
Turn your phone to silent when possible to avoid getting those constant pinging alerts that have you looking away from work to check your phone every 5 minutes.
4. Move Around.
Chances are if you are working from home, it’s on a computer. Prolonged sitting can quickly lead to bad postures like slouching, slumping, craning the neck, and crossing the legs.
While even the best back brace for posture may help stave off those bad habits, nothing beats getting up and moving around.
Getting out of your chair at least once an hour to move around and stretch, or even intermittently taking a short walk outside, can help greatly with preventing back pain, boosting blood circulation, and keeping your mind sharp.
5. Plan Meals.
Having the freedom to eat whatever you have in the kitchen whenever you want can sometimes leave you skipping meals altogether.
Why? That little voice in the back of your head that keeps saying, “Oh just have a granola bar now, and you can make lunch after your next meeting.’
Except that you get caught up with emails and presentations and other tasks after that meeting, leaving you starving and overcome with cravings in the afternoon.
Plan meals by doing prep work on the weekends like building a salad, cutting up veggies for sandwiches and wraps, or writing out breakfast and lunch ideas on a white board by your desk.
6. Separate Your Office Space.
Working most of your hours from the dining room table? Dragging your computer to bed with you at night to finish checking email?
Working from home can transform your entire living environment into workspace. Don’t let it!
Defining a specific area for working, whether it’s just a desk or an entire home office, can help you prioritize your job when needed, stay more organized, as well as maintain a strong case for a home office tax write-off.
7. Make the Most of the Flexibility.
The flexibility of working from home means you can set your own pace, avoid distractions like water cooler gossip and loud coworkers, and take care of some household duties, errands, or appointments in a more timely fashion than you otherwise would be able to.
Enjoy the flexibility and take advantage of being able to let loose and de-stress when working from home as well.
Feel free to sing out loud, talk to yourself, cook yourself a delicious lunch, you name it! Your own positivity and good mood will shine through the work you do.
8. Watch Your Hours.
Nothing sounds better than unlimited paid vacation, right? Maybe not.
According to a recent Forbes article, turns out employees offered unlimited vacation tend to take no more or less vacation than before, and that on average, American workers have taken less and less vacation days since 2000.
The same principle can sneak up on work from home employees. All the flexibility and control, and yet somehow you end up working more or longer hours because, well, your work is always with you.
Watch your hours when you work from home and reinforce a ‘cut off’ time in the evening when laptops go away and you get to enjoy work-free life.
9. Boost Connectivity.
Don’t leave the strength of your connection to the rest of your team up to email or phone calls.
Organize meetings with free apps and services like Google Hangouts, Skype, UberConference, GoToMeeting, or Zoom.
Coordinate group chats, file sharing, and project management with online services like Slack, Trello, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Evernote.
These tips should be enough to help you work from home better, get everything done, but also live your life and enjoy your free time.