Working from home has a lot of benefits - you save time and money by not having to worry about the daily commute, you get to work in an environment you have customized to your own tastes and you don't have to put up with irritating co-workers. There are also plenty of downsides to working from home, however - you're isolated, there are more distractions to deal with, and it's harder to maintain a decent work-life balance. Read on to learn how to improve your productivity and stay sane while working from home.
1. Invest in a secondary Internet connectionIf you're an occasional home worker, the chances are that your home Internet connection is a standard, domestic package. This means that it has a less than amazing SLA, and when it goes down you could end up waiting hours or days for it to be restored. Investing in a backup connection, even if it's just a mobile dongle with a few GB of credit on it, will ensure that you won't end up missing deadlines because of a connection outage.
2. Set up a work PC (or at least a separate user)It's hard to focus on work when friends are IM-ing you, there are video games on your desktop, and the Hulu icon keeps catching your eye, reminding you that you haven't watched the latest A Game of Thrones episode yet. Remove those distractions by using a separate PC for work, or setting up a different login to use during working hours, which only has shortcuts to work related applications, and only has work IM and email accounts configured.
3. Learn to say "No!"Perhaps the hardest thing about working from home is that everyone you know decides that you don't really have a proper job. As soon as word gets out that you don't have to travel to work, your neighbours will ask you to take deliveries for them, your family will want you to run errands, and friends will drop by on their days off because, hey, "you aren't working then either, are you?". Be firm, and don't make the mistake of accommodating this behaviour "just this once", because that will open the floodgates for even more intrusions on your working day.
4. Use video conferencingIf you are a remote worker who is part of a team where the other employees are based in an office, then you may find yourself feeling isolated because you don't get to attend office meetings. Speak to your boss about arranging video conferences once every couple of weeks so that you can enjoy some much-needed "face time" with your colleagues.
5. Invest in backup solutionsWhen you work in an office, you can let the IT department handle patches, upgrades, backups and repairs. As a remote worker you don't always have that luxury. In addition, if you have children in the house there's always the risk of a child wandering into your study and spilling their juice on your laptop. Investing in a good backup solution will save you a lot of stress should that happen.
Written by Gozde Kar Foxhall Business Centres