For many employees, the modern workforce is increasingly transitioning toward remote possibilities. Remote work becomes more popular every year and offers employees improved balance and flexibility. But that doesn’t mean that working from home is easy. Staying engaged and organized throughout the day can be a reoccurring struggle, especially when employees are trying to adjust. To help you get the most out of your remote experience, we’ve put together everything you need to know about staying productive and organized while working from home.
Set Clear Expectations
The first step toward staying organized at home is establishing clear expectations with those around you. People often misunderstand that just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you are available. Help roommates, children, your partner, or anyone else living in the home understand that you are still working and can’t always socialize or be disturbed. You might also consider hiring a part-time babysitter during your most productive hours. This understanding is also important for any outside friends and family who might expect anytime availability.
Create A Work Environment
Working from home gives you comfort and freedom, but that doesn’t mean every day is pajama day. Getting dressed and prepared every morning will help you feel more alert and ready to go. Similarly, it’s important to set aside a designated desk, office, or work area. Establishing a specific workspace mentally prepares you to be at work and removes the temptation to finally clean your room, do a little meal prep, catch up on a new episode, or give in to whatever kind of at home distractions threaten your productivity.
Set A Regular Schedule
Humans are ultimately creatures of habit and work best to well-defined patterns. Setting a regular work schedule creates familiarity, making it easier to get started and stay organized throughout the day. Most importantly though, a work schedule establishes a regular start and stop time to your workday. This helps you stay dedicated during work hours and improves regular coworker contact. An established stop time also creates an effective work/life balance. Working sporadically can easily extend a normal workload into a 10 or 12 hour day.
Utilize Your Productivity
Just because you create a work schedule, don’t feel like you have to be confined to the traditional 8-5. One of the best parts of working remotely is the freedom to create an accommodating schedule. This can mean working around existing obligation, but it can also mean utilizing your most productive moments. If you work best during the evening hours or are refreshed after a midmorning run, build your schedule around those opportunities. Remote work lets you unlock your best abilities by taking advantage of nontraditional or even nonconsecutive work times.
Keep A Paper Planner
Planners are the best way to keep track of both day to day activities and unusual or sporadic events. Planners visually represent the day, making it easier to understand and prepare for, and helping you to feel more organized and in control. Paper planners are particularly beneficial for staying organized while working at home. Paper planners, unlike their digital counterparts, are put away at the end of the day and inaccessible outside of your designated workspace. This gives you work a sense of completion, making the transition from work time to social time much easier.
Regular Self Reflection
Staying organized while working from home also means more self-awareness and accountability. While breaks are important of course, it’s easy for them to get out of hand. Take time to identify your most distracting time wasters and put methods in place to make them less accessible, especially when you are stressed or bored. Regularly follow up with yourself about spending time and minimizing distractions appropriately. Keeping an occasional time log of your activities can also be used to give you a gauge of how distracted you are during the typical day.
Keep Up With Your Office
Working remotely can feel isolating, and remote workers often report feeling lonely or out of the loop. It’s important to make the extra effort to keep in contact with your office and your coworkers regularly. Regular contact will keep you organize and up-to-date and will help you strengthen social relationships with your coworkers. If you work freelance or are unable to connect with your coworkers often, set aside time to talk with a roommate, a neighbor, or even a barista every once and a while.
While working from home brings freedom, adaptation and better work/life balance, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Staying focused, organized and on task in a home office can feel like a monumental task, especially if your bed is only a few feet away. Thankfully, with increased technology, the workforce is learning to adapt and improvise together. With a little practice and dedication, staying organized while working at home can be a breeze.