Kitchen Table Economics

5 Tips for Working from Home Productively

Follow these tips to avoid the pitfalls of working from home

Whether you’re a small-business owner who works out of the house or a salaried employee who wants to enjoy a corporate perk, working from home is becoming more common all the time. While it offers many benefits (no commute, no office rent, and general comfort), it can also threaten your productivity. To make sure you don’t lose your efficiency once outside the office, try out these tips:

  1. Dress professionally. Just as if you were going into the office, make sure you take a shower, brush your teeth, and wear professional clothes. This will help you get into a work mindset much more than if you just plop down at the computer in your pajamas.
  2. Follow a set schedule. Procrastination is much more inviting when you work from home because you don’t need to finish your work by the end of the day to go home – you already are home! Try to work regular business hours, making time for official coffee breaks and lunches. Being “on the clock” will help your productivity.
  3. Set up a workspace. Distraction is also much more tempting when you work from home because you have all your “toys” at hand. To avoid this, set up an official workspace away from the TV, stereo, and fridge. An official desk and workspace will help you focus all your energy on the task at hand.
  4. Keep a log of hours worked. Even if you don’t have to submit billable hours in your line of work, record every assignment you complete throughout the day and how long you spent on it. It will keep you accountable to yourself (and your boss, if necessary).
  5. Unplug at the end of the day. One of the most difficult things about working from home is leaving work behind when you don’t physically leave your office.  It’s important for your productivity and your sanity to separate your work and home life – even if both take place at home! After you’ve put in a full day, turn off your computer and get out of the house, whether it’s running errands, working out, a happy hour with friends, or just a walk around the block.