10 Easy Ways to Make Working at Home Work for You

The workplace has changed. For many, what was once a corner office is now a corner of a living room or spare bedroom. And that company cafeteria? It's now called your kitchen. It's a sign of a growing trend that's taking place at businesses of all sizes across a wide range of industries: employees are hanging up their car keys and working from home.

Research has indicated that as many as 1 in 5 workers are working from home at least once a week. With benefits for employers, such as reduced costs for office space and increased employee satisfaction, it's easy to understand why the trend is popular for employers.

Employee in home office uses a laptop while talking on the phone.But perhaps one of the biggest benefits for employers is that employees who work at home are more productive. Without the distractions of water cooler gossip, unplanned meetings, and long lunches, employees can do what they were hired to do — work efficiently.

How to Adjust to Working at Home

Anyone who has made the transition from working in the office to working at home knows that there are immediate benefits, including less time and money spent on commuting and the ability to dress the way you want (even in your pajamas). They also know that the transition to working at home can be difficult at first.

Here are some successful strategies for ensuring home working success, happiness, and maximized productivity:

  1. Have a dedicated work area. One of the biggest drawbacks of working from home is that it's difficult to leave work behind when it's in your home. One way to help delineate your home/work life is to have a dedicated space, preferably a separate home office.
  2. Set "office" hours. Establish the times when you will "go to work" and stick to them. That means, you should avoid conducting business during off hours.
  3. Get dressed. While one of the benefits of working at home is the ability to work in your pajamas, it's still a good idea to put yourself in a business frame of mind by showering and dressing. Your co-workers will probably appreciate that if you do video conferencing.
  4. Schedule your day. Be sure to make a "To-Do" list and to write down your goals for the day. Don't leave "work" until you've accomplished them.
  5. Take breaks out of the home. Another pitfall of working at home is that you can sometimes feel trapped in your home. Be sure to venture out by taking your work to a local coffee shop or by taking a walk at lunch time.
  6. Schedule household chores. While it's nice to have a clean home, you don't want to let the distraction of domestic chores keep you from getting work done. Try to do only your work during work hours.
  7. Put on some music. In comparison to a busy workplace, home can be very quiet and somewhat lonely. Consider putting on some soft, non-distracting music or having the television on in the background.
  8. Interact with humans. If you work at home, it's important to have outside contact. If you have the opportunity to meet with a co-worker in person every now and again, do it. Or, consider having lunch with a friend or neighbor.
  9. Meet with your manager. Working at home can often be so comfortable that you may not want to go back to the office for meetings. To ensure you don't "fall off the org chart," and stay in good standing with your company, set up in-person meetings when possible to remind your manager of the good work you do.
  10. Avoid social media distractions. With the absence of co-workers, you may be tempted to spend extra time chatting with others on social media. Try to limit the time you spend on social media to a few minutes each day, or at least until you complete all the items on your "To-Do" list.

There's no doubt; working at home works. Just follow these simple steps to ensure it works for you.