Working From Home: is it for you?

For some of us, the idea of working remotely within the comfort of our own home (or toilet) is the perfect embodiment of a work/life balance.

However, it can be difficult to focus and get things done outside of the office (insert ‘easily-distracted’ here), so working from home is easier said than done.

To help you maintain your productivity while you’re working from home, here are some of our top tips:

Work Environment
First things first: if you’re going to be as productive as you are in the office, you need to recreate that
office environment.

You won’t be able to recreate it 100% but at least 5 things you must do are:

1) Go outside and bring in an old and tired plant and stick it next to your desk. It’s even better if it stinks a bit and has bugs.

2) Go the library or even just a nearby bus stop and find some people who talk constantly. Ask them to come round to yours and chat in a loud disrespectful manner about all kinds of crap particularly when you’re on a really important project and have an especially tight deadline.

3) Go down to the tip and find the most uncomfortable seat you can and use that. No padding would be ideal.

4) Make sure you’re pretty much out of tea, coffee, milk and bog roll.

5) Get someone to ring you every 10 minutes.

It sounds like simple stuff, but creating a slightly more realistic setting will help you keep in the office-mindset.

Plan your time
Once you know where you’re working, plan your day accordingly.

Write a to-do list of the tasks you need to complete before the close of play and attach set times to your activities wherever possible.

But be reasonable. Even though you’ve set the scene, there’s no point in working from home if it’s going to be as miserable as the office so give yourself plenty of time between tasks. Maybe an hour or so.

Only watch the television at the good bits
OK, so you work better with a little background noise, and you’re excellent at multitasking. The television shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

The truth is, whether you’re tuning into to your favourite show or not, even the best of us can get drawn in by some classic daytime televisual delights. All it takes is a catchy theme tune or a nice bit of nostalgia, and your attention could be lost for afternoons on end. So, to avoid that trap only watch the important bits of each show.

Never Miss Your Favourite TV Show Again
Never Miss Your Favourite TV Show Again

Definitely the first 15 minutes and last 15 minutes but you can skip adverts meaning you respond to a work email or two.

You can actually turn it off completely (or at least turn the sound down) when it’s something like Loose Women or Escape To The Country.

The same goes for social media. Ask yourself: would I be doing this at work? If the answer’s ‘sometimes’, then go ahead. You’ll be able to catch up later when Antiques Roadshow comes on.

Take breaks
All work and no play is not a good strategy! Distractions are one thing, but avoiding a little time off to break up the day is quite another.

Make sure you take regular fag breaks, toilet breaks, tea/coffee breaks and a regular lunch break at the very least (and don’t go ‘al-desko’ either). Go out for a sandwich at a park or a Full-English in the High Street.

Even something as simple as going to buy a gentleman’s magazine or sitting outside in the sun near that Nurses College can help recharge your batteries and avoid burn-out.

Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with a sneaky half or two at lunch time either. You’ve deserved it!

Work set office hours
Working from home is not the same as flexi-time so try to work your regular hours.

However, you may managed to avoid your miserable commute but that still technically counts as work time so knock an hour off in the morning to make up for it.

Same in the afternoon. Aim to pack it in around 4pm latest and then read a book on the sofa for about an hour so that it’s a bit like getting home at 5pm which is when you normally finish. Result!

Keep connected
One of the most important arguments against working remotely is the lack of collaboration and communication between colleagues. To combat this, make sure you’re connected at all times.

Even if you’ve just taken 15 out for a light nap, or are having one of those ‘bad toilet’ days it’s best show your colleagues that you can always be reached so at least have Skype turned on.

And, if you’ve made a to-do list, send it to your boss to keep him in the loop. At the very least, it shows that you’re actually attempting to work.

Final thoughts
Whether you work from home full-time, or on more of an infrequent basis, the key to keeping your output productive is to keep focused at all times.

If you’re still struggling, try this tip: imagine your boss was in your house. If he or she wouldn’t be happy with how you were spending your day, it may be time to mend your ways. Unless of course you’re having an affair with him/her in which he/she probably is in your house so always take an hour out of the day to have sex too – it won’t do you career any harm!

Opinion Disclaimer

* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Accolade Recruitment only and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other Recruitment agency or the Department of Employment. Any examples of analysis or case-studies discussed within this article should only be utilized in real-world situations at the candidate’s risk as they are based on often limited and debatable source information.