Over the years, the number of Americans in the workforce who work remotely has grown exponentially. A staggering 3.9 million U.S. employees now work from home at least half the week. Flexible hours, eliminated commute stress and improved work-life balance are all attractive benefits of telecommuting.
On the other hand, it’s not always easy to find productive spaces and times to work outside of the office. If you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, working parent or traveler, we’ve gathered the best advice to help you master the skills it takes to work from just about anywhere. Make working from home work for you with these 8 tips:
1. Get an Early Start
With no rush hour commute, your mornings are quite different. You avoid traffic and save time, but traveling to the office often allows you to get into the right mindset to begin your workday. Give yourself an at-home routine that allows for the same mental clarity. Adhere to a schedule each morning that includes things like:
- Going to the gym
- Taking a brisk walk
- Reading a book
- Doing household chores
- Taking the kids to school
- Making breakfast
Rising early also allows you to check a few work tasks off your to-do list before emails and calls come in. You’re often the most productive in the morning and accomplishing important business first will set you up for success.
2. Establish a Productive Space
You may work in a variety of places throughout the week – your home, coffee shops, airports, hotels, coworking spaces – so these places should increase your productivity and be free of distractions. Select a few go-to places for work. Perhaps you prefer the ambiance of a coffee shop to write, want to take calls in the privacy of your home, and need a few hours per day in a coworking space to stay social.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Studies have shown working from home boosts productivity, however staying focused isn’t always easy. At home, you can easily get distracted with household chores or the temptation to relax on the couch. Identify these distractions that take away time from work. A few solutions to mitigate these problems include:
- Use a standing desk to alternate between sitting and standing
- Wear noise-cancelling headphones
- Keep your personal phone and computer out of sight
- Join a coworking office space for when you need more structure
4. Create a Mobile Office
Without a traditional office, working remotely means carrying your work essentials with you throughout the week. Keep everything you need in one place with a durable leather tote or large satchel designed for working while on-the-go.
Pack your bag with a laptop case, extra chargers, a portable WiFi hotspot, note-taking items, and any necessary personal items. An organized mobile office bag keeps your essentials at-hand and allows you to freely work from anywhere.
5. Build Structure with Schedules
Having complete control over your schedule shouldn’t mean foregoing a schedule altogether, so structure is essential. Setting regular working hours helps organize your day. It also tells your team and clients when you are available, keeping you accountable with project deadlines and encouraging time management.
6. Take Small Breaks
Along with a clear schedule, don’t forget to take short breaks throughout the day. This will give your mind a rest and boost your energy levels. Without being confined to an office for eight hours, you are free to use that time to hit the gym, schedule appointments, meet friends for lunch, and run other errands during the day.
7. Separate Work and Personal Time
The ability to work from anywhere can blur the lines between your professional and personal life. A healthy work-life balance is essential to your physical and mental wellness. Without being able to leave business-related stress at the office, it’s easy to bring that home. Enforce a hard stop in the evenings, then do an activity you enjoy to relax and establish a separation.
8. Plan In-Person Meetings
There are endless ways to communicate with your colleagues online and over the phone, but nothing beats face-to-face contact. Depending on your working situation, organize monthly or quarterly in-person meetings to bring your team together. It’s a great chance to clarify communications and build relationships.
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