In case you didn’t notice, Indiana got a bit of snow yesterday. For us Formstack-ers not taking time off for the holidays, working from home was our only option. Fortunately, the Formstack office encourages working from home up to three times a week, so we are used to maintaining the same level of productivity both at home and in the office. Working from home requires a different mindset than being in the office, and it takes some getting used to. However, studies report that there are some definite productivity benefits to allowing employees to work remotely. Are you resolving to spend more work hours at home in 2013? If so, here are four tips to make sure you work efficiently:
1. Don’t stick to a 9 to 5 schedule. In the office, you are probably used to working around four hours in the morning and afternoon, with a break for lunch. When working from home, tweak the hours you work to match the times you are most productive. We have an employee who likes to take afternoon runs, so she works through the lunchtime hour and wraps up her to-do list a little earlier so she can work out. Maybe you prefer to take shorter breaks throughout the day to catch up on YouTube trends or your Facebook news feed. Find a time schedule that allows you to focus during the hours that you need to work.
2. Create a workspace. One of the nice things about working in an office is that you automatically associate the atmosphere with productivity (well, most of the time). By simulating that atmosphere at home, you can maintain that mindset away from the office. Even if you work on the couch, make sure your workspace enables you to focus on your work. Some people work really well with the television playing in the background, but not everyone. Figure out which homey touches remind you that you’re not in the office anymore, but still encourage productivity.
3. Stay in the loop. When working from home, you have to make a conscious effort to communicate with your co-workers about project updates and accomplished tasks. Additionally, staying in the know about office happenings allows you to avoid playing catch-up on your next day in the office. At Formstack, we use several different remote working apps to keep everyone in the loop. Utilize a company chat system or intranet, like HipChat or Yammer, to stay chummy with other employees. Need to meet with someone who doesn’t conveniently live with you? Google Hangout or GoToMeeting are two great videoconferencing options. We’ve also implemented a task management system called DailyStat.us to keep departments updated on what everyone is working on. With the right tools, working from home will not make you an unproductive hermit.
4. Enjoy being at home. Seriously, one of the best aspects of working from home is that you don’t have to physically communicate with any co-workers. If you want to work in your Buzz Lightyear footy pajamas, go for it. If you want to take a 30-minute break to walk your dog, who’s holding you back? That’s the beauty of remote working. Do whatever enables you to produce quality work. You get to lounge around on your couch and avoid an annoying commute – that rocks. One little tip though: if you do have to participate in a video meeting, make sure you at least have a clean shirt on.
Do you have any advice for anyone working remotely or from home? Let us know in the comments below!