The number of people working from home is on the up. Advances in technology mean that many employees can now work remotely. In fact a recent survey by the TUC revealed that nearly one in eight UK employees now work from home.
Cutting out the commute lets you spend your working hours getting on with your job and many homeworkers feel more productive too, as they can avoid distractions. If you’re thinking of making the change, or already enjoy the benefits of working from home, try our top tips to perfect your home office environment.
It’s a real job – so treat it like one!
When you work from home it’s tempting to treat your job with less respect than an office-based role. So remember that homeworking days are just like any other day at work:
- Be disciplined - get washed, dressed and have breakfast before you begin
- Stay focused - have a time plan or to-do list for each day
- Create boundaries - separate your work from the rest of your life
Remember that homeworking isn’t houseworking! Just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you’ve got time to do the laundry or run errands.
Create your own space
Give yourself a dedicated work area. It doesn’t have to be a whole room, just an area that’s quiet and laid out how you want it. Avoid spilling out on to the dining table or sitting in front of the TV with the laptop, quite literally, on your lap
Try to keep your work space separate, especially if there are kids at home. It’s ideal if you can close a door on the rest of the house while you work – and close it on your job when you’re finished.
Are you sitting comfortably?
You’re going to be sat there for a good, long time so invest in a comfortable chair; that way you can focus on your work instead of your seat. This could save you from future posture problems too.
If you can get a desk with drawers and compartments to help you organise your files and supplies, even better. Or try a filing cabinet or shelving where you can keep what you need close by. This will save you the time and distraction of rummaging around and keep you organised
Don’t multi-task – minimise distractions
A few lucky people can surf the web, write emails, chat and work on a complex document all at once. But if you’re not a natural multi-tasker, your work will get done far quicker and to a much higher standard if you concentrate on one thing.
Be honest with yourself about what distracts you and vow to cut them out of your daily work routine. Here’s a starter list to consider:
- Listening to music, TV or the radio to ‘keep you company’
- Instant messaging
- Constant email notifications
- A big wobbly pile of unanswered post
- A vast collection of desk decorations
- Twitter or Facebook updates
Protect your precious work
Keep your data secure with IT security like a firewall and updated virus protection. And back up your work every day! You can use CDs or DVDs, or invest in an online backup: most can automatically copy over new or amended files every day and they keep your data safe on secure computer networks.
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