New at-home workers often overlook the fact that remaining productive can be a challenge without anyone physically present to keep tabs on what they are doing. From the distractions of working in the same house where their family lives to the temptation of running personal errands during work time, the discipline to remain focused doesn’t happen overnight.
Below are several suggestions for anyone new to working at home who has yet to find their stride. Seasoned at-home workers can find some useful tips as well.
Ensure the Home Office Has the Right Equipment
Whether at-home workers are fortunate to have a separate office with a door or they must make the best of working in a room used by others, everyone requires basic equipment to complete their work. Here is a checklist of items that everyone working at home should have in their office:
- Desk and chair: Having an official office desk and chair can inspire people to take their work more seriously than they might working from the kitchen table. Work-at-home employees should take the time to get a good ergonomic fit for desk and chair since they will spend a good portion of the day using them.
- Laptop or desktop computer: The employer should provide a computer for all regular employees, but independent contractors will need to purchase their own.
- Proper lighting
- Internet connection
- Office supplies such as pens, paper, stapler, and folders to organize printed material
- Storage space: Work folders and personal items can go in the desk if it has enough drawers. Filing cabinets may be necessary for employees with a lot of reference materials.
Depending on the job and employer requirements, at-home workers may also need access to video conferencing software and a dedicated phone line to answer customer inquiries.
Work at Home Efficiency Tips
One of the most vital steps work-at-home employees can take is to establish a separate space for work within the home. This is especially true if no extra bedroom is available to convert into an office. Not only does this help to separate home and work, but it also sends a message to the rest of the family not to disturb the workspace.
Maintaining a regular schedule and keeping the home office space clean are also essential to remaining focused and productive. A set schedule prevents people from giving into the desire to procrastinate with work while a clean office removes the distraction of working in a cluttered environment.
Consider Soundproofing for Improved Concentration
Windows are often the greatest source of unwanted sound coming into a home office. The solution may be as simple as caulking or weatherproofing each window to create a stronger sound barrier.
When outdoor noise pollution is a serious issue, at-home workers may need to consider replacing existing windows in their office with new windows containing stronger glass. Window manufacturers include a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating to help consumers understand how much sound reduction they can expect.
The goal is to get the decibel level to 60 or less, a rate that most audiologists agree is comfortable. Having a quiet place to work can make an enormous difference in productivity for people working from a home office.