123 Reg logo Blog

6 tips to make remote working work for you

By Tim Fuell - July 16, 2014

Being able to avoid the lengthy commute, especially on days when the weather is at its extremes, or you have work-life balance commitments to keep is an incredible productivity enhancer. However, working from home can also very easily and very quickly have an adverse effect on your productivity too. Here are six tips on ensuring you don’t fall down the wrong slope. Make homeworking increase your productivity:

Have a workable work space

Common sense? It’s amazing how many people forget it. Maybe it is part of the more informal mindset, but too many people try to work from home with a laptop literally on their lap or perhaps cramming themselves on to a tiny corner desk in an overly busy room.  Of course, part of the work-life balance is not to allow work to also take over your home, but give yourself room and give yourself a professional space that is relevant to your task in hand.

Diarise your day

You would probably do that in the office anyway, but make sure you do it at home even more. It gives you the chance to focus properly on what needs to be done by the end of the day and will give you more of a business purpose as the day goes on. Include time for every aspect of the standard working day, but just do it from home.

Avoid distractions

Is this an obvious one? Too often, not obvious enough to other people. Even those who may also work from home sometimes seem to believe the fact that you have nobody else around you and you are not in the office. Rule 1. You wouldn’t normally let family and friends just drop into the office for a coffee or long lunch so don’t feel pressured into it when you’re working from your home office either.

Stay in touch with colleagues

One of the biggest challenges of homeworking is loneliness. It hits everybody at some time. Make time in your day to call or at least interact with colleagues who are either in the office or working from their own remote locations. It keeps you focused, combats the lonely pangs and also makes sure you stay up to date with what is going on beyond your four walls.

Make time to ‘play’

OK, I don’t suggest you break out the XBox – unless on a specified break – but it is important that as a remote worker you don’t miss out on the watercooler moments too. That could be your social media time, a chance to take a stroll to the local shops or just a chill away from the desk, but make sure you include it in your working day when at home.

Turn off

Often those able to work from home feel more guilty about knocking off on time. It’s why remote working rarely has a negative impact on productivity, in fact is it often the opposite, with a positive effect. With people taking few breaks on a day that they start earlier, being less stressed and are not as eager to rush off to avoid the traffic, home-working employees are often the most productive around… but don’t overdo it. Work to a set time and unless something is absolutely vital to be finished to a deadline, it can wait until tomorrow. Being closer to your workplace (or in it) doesn’t mean you have to live and breathe work. Realise how lucky you are to not have that homeward bound commute and make the most of it.