Working from home. A concept suddenly thrust into our daily lives. And while many entrepreneurs have long since mastered the art of working virtually, for many it is a new-and at times-scary proposition. Working outside your traditional office environment can seem isolating. But you can do it. Just remember: It is more than a mindset shift-it requires a disciplined approach to planning your activities and seeking out opportunities to interact with your co-workers. Here are nine tips you can use to make the most of this experience:
- Establish a Routine
Try to mimic the routine you use in your normal workday. Whether it is at home, an airport or a coffee shop, following your normal schedule is vital to feeling like you are working. Get dressed and start your workday at the same time. No pajamas. Distractions away from the office come easy, so sticking to your routine will help.
- Set up a Dedicated Workspace
Having a dedicated area in your home to work is essential. You cannot get distracted by the dog, television or that pile of household tasks on your to-do list. When you are in your workspace, work. Follow your normal worktimes and you will stay focused.
- Convert Commute Time to Learning Time
Remember all that time you spent getting to work? Now you can use that time to enhance your value by learning something new. Try an online course or video. Whatever you choose, use the time wisely.
- Take a Lunch Break
Do not sit at your desk at eat lunch. It is too tempting. In a normal work environment, you have to go somewhere. At home, it is down the hall. Use the extra time to get in your workout or engage in some other activity to benefit your health. You need a solid break during the day to stay invigorated.
- Connect with Others
Feeling isolated? Take a minute to reach out to someone. Rather than sending a lengthy email, try a video chat or phone call. Human contact matters. Intentional connections build team bonds and help sustain you when you are working remotely.
- Use Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is a great way to connect people from different locations. It provides a deeper level of connection and engagement than a call or text. Remote meetings are often very effective, but you must make sure everyone is focused on the meeting, not multi-tasking. Set up regularly scheduled meetings to add more structure to your day.
- Communicate Clearly
Effective communications is critical. Take some time to plan out the structure for your communication with your team. Identify your key messages and what you need to add to support them. This will help you clarify your thinking and be better understood by others when they are only relying on your written communication.
- Leverage Your Opportunities for Productivity
Lack of interruptions equal productivity. Distractions take your eye off the ball. Leverage productivity and tackle that special project you were hoping to get done.
- Be Aware of the Time Trap
It is not uncommon to feel guilty you are not working hard enough when working remotely. It is easy to fall into the time trap to seek out additional job responsibilities to fill your time. Make sure you are on the same page about any extra work you might get. You do not want complications when you get back into the work setting.
–Jill J. Johnson
Jill J. Johnson is founder and president of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the bestselling book, “Compounding Your Confidence.” For more information, visit www.jcs-usa.com.
To see more articles like this sign up for the NextPage Insights newsletter here. Insights is delivered monthly