For many start-ups and office workers, working from home is the ultimate goal. No longer will you have the demands of co-workers and the stress of the daily commute to contend with – instead, you are free to work on your own terms.
However, this increased level of freedom can actually end up being counter-productive. If you aren’t strict on yourself, you could end up wasting precious time on unnecessary tasks rather than sticking to a schedule to ensure you stay efficient at work.
Tailor your Environment to Yourself.
Staying motivated and boosting productivity in your home office needn’t be a difficult chore. Although you won’t have a boss breathing down your neck all day long, you also won’t have the interruptions of co-workers and all the other usual office distractions. You will be free to optimise your home office to ensure everything is set up to create the most effective working environment for you as an individual. Prefer to work in complete silence? Turn off the radio and allow yourself to focus. Is the room too hot? Open a window or adjust your thermostat. When you work from home, you no longer have to cater to the needs of each of your colleagues, meaning that you are able to create your own ideal office environment.
When you work from a home office, it is easy to let motivation slide and procrastination rule your day. Of course, time is money, so if you find that you are regularly wasting hours in your day procrastinating or doing unnecessary tasks, you may need to rethink your working strategy. Limit distractions during office hours by keeping your personal and professional lives as separate as possible. Admittedly, this is more difficult when you have a home office, but it is still achievable. Keep anything which isn’t needed for daily tasks out of your home office, ensuring that you are in work mode the moment you step through the door into your home office. That way, you should find it more difficult for the distractions of your home life to seep into the working day – even if that big pile of ironing waiting for you is looking more tempting by the minute!
Optimise the Layout of your Home Office.
The layout of your home office can also have a big impact on productivity. For a start-up, corner desks can be particularly good for keeping levels of productivity high. Make sure that everything you need for daily tasks is within easy reaching distance of your workstation. Keeping everything neat and orderly can also be a massive benefit – organisation and productivity really do go hand in hand. A start-up has the benefit of being able to create a system of organisation from scratch, whereas getting organised may require a little more work if you have been working from home for a while.
The best way to get organised is to dedicate a few hours solely to the purpose of getting everything organised and in order within your home office. Make sure that all of your paperwork is filed away, boxes and files are labelled correctly, and any old paperwork or unnecessary items are got rid of. It is also important to ensure that your desk is kept as clean and tidy as the rest of your home office. Store items like stationery and notebooks in the drawers of your desk and any paperwork should live in a folder or filing cabinet. Although personal items like plants or photographs are nice to have on your desk, you want to avoid cluttering up your workspace with surplus items. After all, your desk is where you will be spending the majority of your day, so it is important that it is kept neat and organised at all times.
Stick to a Daily Schedule.
Another tip is to make a schedule and ensure that you stick to it. In the office, your normal working day will usually be planned out with time allocated to tasks efficiently. However, in the home office, the chances are that you will be in charge of your own daily schedule. This means that time often ends up being wasted or days not utilised to their full potential. Create a daily schedule or to-do list to enable you to stay as motivated and productive as possible throughout the day.
Startup or experienced office worker alike, if you follow these tips you should soon find yourself on the way to increasing your levels of productivity and becoming a home office aficionado.