The number of home workers increased from 2.9 million in 1998 to 4.2 million in 2014 in the UK alone and with over 70% of companies set to adopt mobile working by 2020, these numbers are only set to increase. So whether you're already a freelancer or remote worker, or thinking about running your own business from home, we've compiled some tips to help stay efficient and productive when out of the office and working from home. So, read on to see how home working can work for you.
1 Set aside a dedicated workspace
If you're working from home, make sure you have a dedicated area to do your work. This doesn't have to be a dedicated office room or co-working space, but can just be a desk or somewhere in your home where you go to work. Doing this will help differentiate your work space from your personal space and ensure you can keep your work life separate when relaxing at home.
2 Set some daily goals
If you're going to be working away from the office, it can be a good idea to set and note down a few goals for the day. These can be made up of both long and short term goals, with the short term goals helping to offer you a sense of achievement and satisfaction when you're working away from the office each day. This should also stop you getting sucked into watching cat videos on the Internet all day!
3 Try and get rid of distractions
Any home will come with its fair share of distractions, these include both inanimate distractions like the TV, and living varieties such as kids and pets too. While we're not recommending locking your kids and dogs away, there will be other distractions, from playing video games to doing the housework, that can eat up more time than you would think, and can be easily avoided. If you can, try and keep these distractions to a minimum.
4 Aim to create a schedule or routine
So you've set your goals for the day and dodged the distraction of looming housework. Think about setting yourself some sort of schedule for the day too or aim to try and get into a routine. Generally home workers tend to be more productive and work longer hours than required, so you may find it useful to set defined working hours too.
5 Stay in contact with your team
When working flexibly it's important to still feel part of the team. With hosted VoIP phone systems it's now even simpler to keep in touch with the team in the office. Plus, being on the same network means it's even cheaper too. Whether you have a VoIP phone at home or are just using a softphone on your laptop, it's now much easier to collaborate with your colleagues even when you're in a completely different building or country.
6 Be healthy, manage your snacks
You've got your routine sorted but you're starting to graze at your desk. Aim to have a planned lunch break and regular tea breaks so you don't end up wandering over to the kitchen every few minutes for biscuits or crisps. This should also ensure that your desk remains crumb-free.
7 Try and leave the house
Don't forget to leave the house if you can. Take a wander on your lunch break or if you want to take your work with you, go to a nearby café and enjoy a change of scenery. Yes, you're meant to be working from home, but with a flexible VoIP phone system for example, you're not only limited to just working from home.
8 Dress for work
Staying in your pyjamas all day might seem like a great idea but getting dressed for work will help delineate and separate your work day from your personal time off. It can also help kickstart your body into thinking that it's time for work!
9 Clean up your web browser
No you don't need to get out the feather duster, but it can be helpful to clean up your web browser. In Chrome, rather than set your browser to open up all the tabs you last had open, set it up to just open up on a specific start up page. It'll be quicker to start up and less overwhelming especially if you last had 50-odd tabs open on shutdown. You might also want to hide your bookmarks toolbar to stop you reaching for Facebook or YouTube every 10 minutes. Alternatively, if you don't want to hide it altogether, try decluttering your toolbar or hiding some of your more distracting bookmarks away.
10 Work when you're most productive
If your organisation or job allows, try to work when you're at your most productive. Some people are more productive early in the morning, while for others it's later in the evening. Knowing when you work best can help you be more efficient and effective in your role.
You don't have to follow every one of these tips when home or remote working, but hopefully there are a few here that can be put into practice and hopefully aid productivity when working from home.
Most importantly, don't forget to make sure you enjoy the freedom and flexibility that working away from the office grants you.