12 Ways to Stay Productive at Your Home Office
Scot Hulshizer would have made it big in the corporate world. This 46-year-old corporate executive and entrepreneur from Boca Raton, Florida was leading huge businesses, departments, divisions, and offices such as AT&T Mobility and CommandScape when he discovered that remote work can bring dramatic changes to his life.
He told website Work At Home Success how he transitioned from his day job to work on his passion: teaching others how to tell their stories with their profiles.
“I decided to take a break from corporate life and use the downtime to build a sustainable business that helps others build their dream job,” Hulshizer said, adding how he witnessed firsthand how difficult it was for aspirants to represent themselves during company hiring events.
Scot narrated this story online: “I have always been happiest helping others grow and develop themselves personally and professionally. Career coaching and training seemed to be a natural fit, and it lent itself well to working from home.”
He is one of many home-based workers who have found peace of mind and fulfillment by showcasing their knowledge as they build their careers by working remotely.
While not every remote-work professional knows how to best work in their home offices and maintain a high level of productivity, there are to stay productive while working from home.
Table of Content:
- Office versus remote work
- Best ways to work from your home office
- 1. Define the work and set goals
- 2. Own your home-office space
- 3. Work during your best hours
- 4. Allot time for ‘eye breaks’
- 5. Use natural light
- 6. Prepare well for the day
- 7. De-clutter surroundings
- 8. Dress up for more productivity
- 9. Never let social media distract
- 10. Sign out and log off
- 11. Balance work and life
- 12. Communicate and socialize
Office versus remote work
People who take the step to shift their career tracks or retire from office-based work to create their own home offices are on the rise. Research indicates that there will be even more opportunities available in the years to come. Working from home has provided many professionals with more time to spend more with their family, take care of their health, and enjoy life-work balance.
One of the greatest differences between remote-based work and the traditional office-based job is about braving the commute. Greeting the morning each day without thinking about road traffic is one of the advantages of working from a home office. Also, you manage your own work hours instead of staying in the office from morning till night.
In the office, employees must interact with colleagues, superiors, or company owners. Aside from the pressure, you are conscious of the hours. Working from home erases all these pressures.
You can increase productivity, better present your skills, and save up on costs. Almost every day feels like dinnertime as you prepare the home-cooked meals you love. At the same time, business partners working from their home-based offices are also more lenient.
There are ways to be more productive while working from your home office. This article presents several ideas that can improve your remote working experience.
Best ways to work from your home office
1. Define the work and set goals
Clear and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant & Timebound) goals are the top secrets of success in home-based work. Ask yourself: What should be done? What are the deadlines? Articulating these points clearly can help ensure that you accomplish them and provide output for the best interests of your business or the companies you are working with.
Setting your schedule is one way. One thing is clear when working at home: the pressure is still there but unlike what you have in the office. Tackle your projects as you would in the office. In this way, you can appreciate the home-based environment even more.
2. Own your home-office space
Productivity can begin at home. You might have probably done this on your desk in the office building – placing photos of your loved ones, decorating the desk with memorabilia from company activities, storing coffee sachets in the drawer, and more.
Do you have a room at home just for office work? Do you work in a corner of a room? Whichever the layout of your professional space, it is important to make it your own. Turn your home office into a place where your personality is.
Architectural Digest shares ideas on designing your home office. You can invest in space savers and furnishing that have a range of uses. Brighten up the room, and see the advantages of painting the spaces white. Your mind can be more at ease when you have plants in your work area.
3. Work during your best hours
On the first day of the week, Monday comes in like a series of huge, crashing waves; you get overwhelmed with tasks that seem to be heavier than the rest of the week. You want to get started in the day with your freshest mindset on the biggest and most crucial parts of the work. At the same time, keep in mind that adding details to a major project at the final hour can compromise quality.
While some of us are naturally morning persons, others are night owls who work best in the evenings. Believe it or not, there are certain hours within your day where you are at your most productive. Start from your best work time and see how your momentum builds up and helps you complete more challenging tasks.
4. Allot time for ‘eye breaks’
This is a small thing that can significantly affect your entire working experience. Eye breaks are necessary because, most of the time, you work on computer screens. Even if you manage social media on your personal accounts, eye strain happens when you are looking at the screen for hours.
Stay away from this trap. Stick to the 20-20-20 rule. In other words, move away from the screen every 20 minutes and turn your eyes to something about 20 yards away, then hold this for about 20 seconds. It could be the garden outside your window, a cloud, or a hill.
You won’t need to move away from the desk, stand up, or walk but if exercise when you feel like it. These breaks freshen your mind and recharge your body.
5. Use natural light
Brighter home offices that feel light on the eyes are ideal places to concentrate, think, and create. However, take care to balance the light and avoid glare on your computer or laptop screens.
Take advantage of natural light by pulling up the blinds and flipping the light fixture switch to avoid glare. As you go deeper into the day, use lamps and overhead lighting as necessary.
Melissa Minton, Lindsey Mather, and Kate Jerden on Architectural Digest recommend natural light for guest rooms and for workspaces at home. You can add chairs, lounges, low tables, and bowl decors from your favorite interior decorators.
6. Prepare well for the day
You can never expect what happens in a day’s work. There are times when loads are heavier, and there are times you have the luxury of escape, catch up on your favorite TV series, or enjoy meals with loved ones.
Aim to prepare well for the day. Set your morning routine and cup of coffee. Avoid pondering the work the night before. Preparing your own meals a day before is fine, but filling your mind with worries while you rest after work is counter-productive. Clear your mind as you log off, and start anew in the morning.
7. De-clutter surroundings
Some people are content to work with only a chair, a table, a computer, and a mobile device. Others tend to work with more stuff around them: unfinished books, mugs, chips, cereals, or paper piles.
While these do not generally mess up your digital working spaces, these things at your peripheral vision can distract you. Clean up space, organize stuff, and create a work area where you can better concentrate.
8. Dress up for more productivity
Often, weekend activities can linger even as the first day of work arrives. You may have gone traveling with the family or watched a movie in the living room in your home clothes. The endorphins are still on vacation mode.
Charge the atmosphere to its most professional level by dressing up for work even when working from home. Studies reveal that changing from the basic tees, slippers, and pajamas to something more professional can promote concentration and productivity.
Isn’t it ironic that you would try and not click on social media while using your electronic devices in your home workspace? We know how social media can be detrimental to productivity, without us conscious of passing time.
Specifically, you can remove social networks from your browser shortcuts. Even better, log out from every account. Social media feeds are endless, but your main goal is getting the work done.
10. Sign out and log off
If working from home has a loophole, it’s probably about staying logged on 24/7. This is a common mistake of many remote workers. The advantages of working from home do not give anyone the license to demand that you stay logged continuously. If you do, you tend to forego private moments and work-life balance.
11. Balance work and life
This brings us to the idea of working according to work-life balance. Online work setups are for individuals to live, work, and play in their own space and time. Once you have found the right balance and consistency of working remotely, you can allocate the best times to travel or exercise more often.
Since your work in mostly based on digital platforms, you can imagine the advantage of being able to answer emails while waiting for someone to finish with the weights at the fitness club or opening your laptop and sending business letters while on vacation.
Advocates of the homework environment noticed that, while working from home give you more time to manage better, there is no development of bonds that form in social circles with office co-workers.
However, during work hours, you can keep up your level of productivity while communicating often about work. Keep communication lines open to your roommates, siblings, parents, partners, or spouse during work hours. Open up conversations and make yourself feel the good life that a work-at-home setup presents.
Productivity is indeed a big word. In fact, it is easier said than done. With these guidelines to help you, you can maintain great productivity levels as you work in your home office.