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How to work from home efficiently

With long commutes and budget cuts, more people are working from home. But how can you make sure you do work and not watch TV? Last year I started working from home one day a week, so I wanted to share my tips. If you are a home worker, add your own.

Things you'll need

  • A home office (computer, desk, chair, phone, internet connection)
  • A risk assessment from your HR department
  • A plan
  • Motivation from yourself
  • Trust from your employer
1

Know the flexible working policy of your organisation

Ask your HR department for their homeworking policy. This will list what your employer is expecting of you and what you can expect of them. This should also cover their guidelines about equipment and health and safety.

2

Prepare your workload the day before

  • Put documents you will need to work at home on an USB stick (portable drive) if your office does not allow access to shared drive from home.
  • Take all your colleagues phone numbers with you.
  • Email yourself or save reminder in your calendar.
  • Put in your calendar that you will be at home and cannot be available for meetings, so all your colleagues know about it
3

Set up your home office

I advise to dress like you are going to work. Working in tracksuit or pyjamas does not help you feel like it is a work day. Dressed appropiately you will feel more ready to do office tasks. You will also need:

  1. Picture of a handmade Office Chair Slip Cover on an office chair, for sale www.etsy.com, the chair is in front of a small table with a lpatop and a mug on it, representing a home officeA desk or table with good lighting and no clutter
  2. A computer, with good broadband connection
  3. A comfortable chair, with back support and adjustable features
  4. A phone line, so colleagues can call you and you can call them
  5. Find out about access to shared drive or software you might need to donwload on your home pc

 

I found that I need to close the door to not be tempted to do washing-up, sort out paperwork or go to the kitchen. This is working from home day not housekeeping day.

4

Be present from home

Use the social media, intranet and emails to show you are answering queries and that you are available. Don't be afraid to call the office as well. Show your motivation.

There is a huge level of trust between your employer and yourself. They need to know what work you have achieved. Make a list and discuss when back on the office. Too often, people at work feel like they don't want to disturb you at home but you are working, so it's fine if they call.

5

Review it

Is working from home for you? Are you achieving your goals? Is your neighbour making too much noise? Do you have a pet that disturbs you? Make notes of what works and what does not. For example your role or circumstances could change and the number of days you WFH might not be suitable. Or perhaps you find homeworking is not for you and that you need the office environment to concentrate.

Talk to your manager and your colleagues openly. Others might have solutions and tips to help you out. It is not for everyone and not suitable for every role.

So far it is working for me. Every Monday I save three hours commute allowing me to save time and be more focused, a great advantage for my employer. I also can do tasks that demand a quieter environment, such as working on statistics. Other bonus? I can pick up my toddler from nursery one hour early. Bliss!

6

Relax in the fresh air or wander around.

Working as freelancer for such organizations as writing services, you spend a lot of time in a sitting position, so it is very important to get up and mumble from time to time. The best way to do this is to have a walk to the shop or a small dance in front of the mirror - it's just that freedom that's perfectly out of the office!

Further information

Photo credit: office chair slip cover by StudioCherie on www.etsy.com.

 

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Page last edited Oct 11, 2017 History

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