You’re in your PJs, sitting back and enjoying a hot drink while replying to a mail from the boss. Working from home is absolute bliss. Or, is it?
Until a few years ago, working from home was a privilege accorded to the top management, the bosses and the CEOs. With commute getting tougher and companies getting younger, this concept became more acceptable across hierarchies. Today, working from home is highly favoured by college students, budding entrepreneurs and mothers, who enjoy its comfort and flexibility.
Although it sounds like a breeze, working from home is not easy. If anything, it demands more discipline and dedication as compared to an office environment. One is left struggling with deadlines, juggling official and personal work, often missing interpersonal relations and job satisfaction.
If you plan to start working from home or already struggle with some of its holdups, follow these tips to regain focus and become more productive.
1. Make A Work Schedule & Stick To It
A major advantage of working from home is that you have the luxury to work flexible hours. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, as long as you finish the work and meet deadlines. However, people often mistake flexibility with working in shifts—which only means that they end up working in bits throughout the day! It is highly recommended that you come up with a timetable and fix your work hours, just as you would if you went to office.
Noma Nazish, 23, digital writer at Cosmopolitan, has done several work-from-home internships during college. She explains, “A work schedule helps you prioritise and break down your work into achievable goals. It is the best way to get work done efficiently.”
Notify everyone about your schedule so that your colleagues know when to contact you, and friends and family know when to leave you uninterrupted.
2. Create Your Workspace At Home
Don’t lounge with the laptop on your bed, just because you can. You will never get the desired work speed or worse, you might even doze off! It is important to reserve a quiet and peaceful corner of the house for work. It will not only energise you with positive vibes, but will also leave a decent impression on clients and colleagues with whom you communicate through video chats. Sure, finding a peaceful corner in a busy Indian home could be difficult. Why not explore the option of quiet cafes with free WiFi?
3. Communicate Clearly
Working from home keeps you away from all the office politics. But it requires you to put in extra efforts in order to not feel isolated from your team. Try to converse with clients and colleagues as often as possible, and stay abreast with new developments taking place in office. Don’t hesitate to initiate a discussion, clarify a doubt or ask a question.
Priyanka Singh, 24, client executive at DBD Mudra recalls her days working from home and says, “Sometimes, an entire assignment would go waste because the expectations of the client were not explained or understood correctly. It would be ideal if a meeting with one’s employer could be arranged once in a while to clarify things. How often you communicate and how you communicate are both equally important. Since the recipient of your mail cannot read your expressions, you have to be extra careful to put things across in a formal, polite and unambiguous manner.”
4. Don’t Give In To Distractions
When you work from home, there are the innumerable distractions you have to battle every minute. It could be your kids coming back from school, your friends asking you to step out for a bit, your favorite TV show, or mostly just social media. Errands that seem as easy as grocery shopping have the potential to ruin your work routine for the day.
Bhawna Giroh, 24, a freelance content writer, admits that it is very easy to get distracted while working from home. “Just because there is no one to keep a check on them, people often tend to postpone work for the next day. Movies, dinner or simply sleeping in late seems more tempting. Eventually, they only end up feeling guilty with too much work on hand as the deadline approaches.”
It is extremely important to have a strong sense of work ethics even when working from home. Giving in to distractions is not only disrespecting your work, but also unethical as you’re taking time away from the hours you get paid for.
5. Update & Upgrade
Not only do you need to be aware of the new developments in office, but you also need to upgrade and update everything used for official purposes. This could include your Internet speed, your laptop or printer, or something as seemingly insignificant as the lightning and furniture of your workspace. Remember how annoying it would be to find things dysfunctional or out of place in the office. The same applies to your home, even more because you have no one else to blame! You will be spending as many hours working at home as in office; putting work on hold for lack of resources is not a valid excuse.
6. Don’t Go The ‘All Work, No Play’ Way
When your personal space becomes your workspace, it’s easy to get drowned in official work. This is especially true when you’re working with startups, or if you’re a struggler trying to prove your mettle. Since there’s no need to leave work and go home, you could end up working long hours, leaving yourself no time for R&R. Doing so could take a toll on your health and personal relationships, eventually affecting the quality of your work. In order to be creative and innovative, it is important that you step out of the house and interact with others. Exercising and dressing up decently are imperative to keep yourself charged and motivated. Singh admits that merely dressing up smartly boosts your motivation, something that can never happen if you refuse to get out of those PJs.
Working from home has its pros and cons. Following these steps can help you find the drive to succeed, no matter where you are.