Top tips for efficiency when working from home

working from home

With the rise of flexible working, we have seen a big increase in the amount of people working from home, or from a location that suits them. But how to ensure efficiency is in place?

Research has found that nearly half of employers do not encourage flexible working despite 70 per cent of workers saying the option would make a job more attractive. Moreover, over half of workers would be more productive if they could spend time working out of the office. 44 per cent of Brits feel they don’t have enough time in the week for spending time with family and friends.

This means that we are bound to see more people moving away from the traditional office space.

However, while working from home, or flexibly, sounds ideal with benefits such as avoiding the rush-hour commute and saving money on travel and eating out, there are challenges that come with it. If one doesn’t have the right structure, they can easily get distracted and become unproductive. So how can you effectively work remotely?

Have a plan

It is important that you know exactly what you need to achieve and when you need to do it by. Before you get started, write a to do list and make sure you stick to it. This will help create a structure for your day and establish an end goal. If needed, this can also be agreed with your line manager in advance so that everyone is clear on your objectives.

Have a routine

Get up at a set time, take a shower and get dressed, just as if you were leaving the house to go to the office. It’s a good way to remind yourself that you are still working even though you are at home and to stop you from feeling lethargic and too relaxed.

Create a workspace

You can easily get distracted by the things around you, so create a working space for yourself with a minimal amount of clutter, as this can help you get in the right mindset. It is also important to sit at a desk or proper table so that you are not slouched on a sofa all day.

Having your own space will help you stay focused and organised and also let anyone else in the house know you are working. Of course, different working environments work for different people, so if you prefer a quiet space, create one for yourself, but if you work better with music in the background that’s also fine too. Just make sure there are not too many things around you that will draw your attention.

Stay connected and communicate

The changes in technology means that we now have the ability to communicate and work effectively from home. It is important to understand what is expected from you and ask questions or discuss matters just as you would in the office.

Catching up with remote staff at the beginning of the day stops everyone from feeling isolated and helps set the agenda for the day.

Sometimes it’s good to have a catch up at the end of the day too so that everyone is in the loop and on the same page. Alternatively, quick conference calls can be good. I like knowing that I can get in touch with my staff whenever I need them and I trust them to get on with the task at hand when working from outside the office.

Take a break

It’s important to give yourself a moment to relax, refresh your mind and give you the time to enjoy the benefits of working from home. Working from home should not turn into a bigger task than it has to be. Make a nice lunch or go for a walk as you would when popping out to get lunch from the office, don’t just sit by the computer all day.

Some of my staff like to make the most of afternoon gym classes which are quieter than before or after work, others enjoy working outside in the fresh air and take their laptop to the park. The whole point of flexible working is that you can work in a way that suits you and facilitates you getting your work done to the best of your ability but also giving you time for the other important things in your life.

Leave work

Working from home should not become a burden. When it’s time to finish work and you have done all the things you need to do, then you should stop working. It’s important to know when to finish for the day and maintain a good work-life balance. Just make sure you have achieved your goals that you set out to achieve.

Talk to other flexible workers

Speak to other flexible workers to share thoughts on what does and doesn’t work well. We have just created the Smarter Working Initiative so that all companies that offer their staff flexible working can come together to share positive experiences and companies that don’t currently encourage this way of working can sign up to try it for just one day on Monday 25 July.

Jason Downes, founder of the Smarter Working Initiative