Worried about the state of your work-from-home habits? Working from home, especially for long periods, requires some changes. If you haven’t found your groove yet, don’t worry. Use these work-from-home habits to improve your focus and stay on task.
1) Set Daily and Weekly Goals
When you first start working from home, it can disrupt your normal flow. You might be used to coming into the office daily, getting a coffee, and then reviewing your to-do list. When you work from home, there are more distractions available. The solution? Write out your daily and weekly goals. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, we recommend you use author Michael Hyatt’s “Big 3” productivity concept.
First, write out your answer to this question: What are the top three most important goals for the week? Once you have that answer, break it down into daily actions: what are the top three most important tasks for today? Limiting yourself to three items is important because it keeps you from adding low-value tasks to your list.
2) Increase Your Communication Activity
In a regular office, you see people in the hallway, coming out of meeting rooms, and at lunch. Those casual encounters help build trust and collaboration. When you work from home, those informal communication points tend to fall away. To fix this problem, reach out to one person on your team each day and say hello.
Tip: For the best results, avoid relying exclusively on email. Pick up the phone and make some calls throughout your day. You’d be surprised at how connected you will feel after even a short 10-minute chat.
3) Check Your Security Practices And Ask For Help When You Need It
Working remotely means you need to think more about security. In a traditional office setting, you have key card security and a corporate network to protect information. Working from home means you need to give some extra thought to security. With this habit, you practice the discipline of asking for help with security.
At a minimum, check on these points regularly:
● Check your password security. Make sure you are not relying on saving passwords on scraps of paper and notebooks. Do yourself a favor and write down contact information for IT so you can easily get a password reset when you need it.
● Ask for help with multi-factor authentication (MFA). Ask what types of MFA solutions your organization has for work-from-home professionals.
● Look for ways to improve physical security. For example, if you have a home office, close the door while you are at work. Likewise, avoid working in relatively more public areas of your home (e.g. your back deck).
Even if you are highly confident about your work from home security, take the time to ask for tips. Your IT department may have additional tips on ways you can improve your security.
4) Choose Your Workplace Wisely
Working from home successfully requires that you have a comfortable work location. Ideally, you will have a dedicated home office you can use each day. However, that may not be possible in every situation. To choose the right physical location for work from home, use these tips.
● Avoid Your Bed. Don’t tempt yourself to fall asleep by setting up shop in your bedroom.
● Avoid the Sofa. If the TV is staring you in the face, it is going to be tough to resist it.
● Choose a Backup Location. You may need to share a home office space with a spouse or family member. Plan to come up with an alternate option.
● Set Up Your Workspace for Success. Put all of your needed work from home equipment (e.g. laptop, work phone and chargers, etc.) in the same place each day. That makes it easy to get down to work each day.
5) Use Your Flexible Work Schedule Wisely
When you work from home, you tend to have more schedule flexibility. For example, you don’t need to commute in the morning! However, no rule says you need to work a traditional 9-5 schedule. If most people in your department do work 9-5 and you need to do so differently, communicate your plans.
There are two specific tactics to manage a flexible schedule wisely. If you need to step away for an hour or two during the workday, most managers will be understanding. However, do not abuse this flexibility. As a rule of thumb, try to keep to the same schedule three to four days per week.
6) Practice Self Care
When you first transition to work from home, your normal habits may go out the window. If you neglect your mind and body consistently, expect your work to suffer. The following self-care practices will help you to stay focused on each workday.
● Make Yourself a Coffee or Tea Each Day. Starting your day with one of these drinks is a good way to signal to yourself that your day has officially started.
● Keep Your Sleep Schedule Consistent. When you go to bed at 10 p.m. one day and 2 a.m. another day, you will get more tired. It’s like you’re traveling through different time zones.
● Do Something Fun Each Day. Yes! This is a critical practice for driven people who find it tough to stop working. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Enjoying a video or two on YouTube is enough.
7) Report Your Results
Ever heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind?” That is a major threat to the work from home professionals. This problem is easy to cure. Take note of your work-related accomplishments and report on them regularly. For example, if you have a standing one-on-one meeting with your manager, prepare a few notes in advance of the meeting. Reporting your accomplishments will help eliminate any doubts that you are not productive.
Your Next Step For Work From Home Success
Choose one of the work from home habits from this article and put it into practice today. Once you become comfortable with that habit, add another one. That’s the simple way to become more successful when you work from home.