Being able to work from home has been a desirable perk for most people for several years. Although the number of telecommuters and remote workers has been increasing steadily in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the number of people working from home to explode.
According to studies, about 7% of Americans worked from home prior to the pandemic, and more than 60% have been working from home in 2020 (source).
With so many people suddenly working from home, about 50% of workers in the U.S. have had to adjust and learn how to work from home rather than commuting to an office.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to work from home since 2008. There was definitely an adjustment period during the first year, but I’ve found that I work much more productively at home and I’ve never missed working in a more traditional office setting.
This article will cover a number of tips related to efficiently working from home. Some of the tips are based on my own experience, and you’ll also see quotes and tips from a number of others who have experience working from home. Hopefully, the diversity of opinions will provide a well-rounded look at the topic and help you to come away with some practical tips that you can implement right away.
Tips to Help You Work from Home More Efficiently
1. Create a Dedicated Office Space
One of the biggest challenges that you’ll face with working from home is being able to separate your work life from your personal life. If you have a room or space in your house or apartment that is dedicated as your office, it’s much easier to make that separation.
Ideally, your office will be a room with a door that you can close, especially if there are other people living with you. However, if you don’t have a room that you can spare, you can use a specific part of a room to create your office.
Todd Kunsman, the head of marketing for a software company and blogger at Invested Wallet says “One of the best tips I have to be more efficient is to create your own office space, as it will help with productivity. If you just work from your kitchen or laptop on the couch, I find it harder to be focused and to get in ‘work’ mode. Instead, even if it is the corner of a room, make it your own office space filled with things that inspire you and keep you focused.
“It’s okay to take your computer and move around your home to switch up the views, but I’d recommend always having a dedicated area that feels like an office to you. It helps me stay focused and less distracted on things that are in our home.”
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, many people were forced into working from home on short notice and didn’t have the luxury of extra space in the home for a dedicated office. You may need to use some creativity here, but do your best to establish a specific location in your home for working.
2. Invest in an Ergonomic Chair
In order to be productive long-term, you need to take care of your health. When you’re sitting for many hours each week, an ergonomic chair is a very worthwhile investment.
If you’re sitting for long periods of time in a chair that’s bad for your back, eventually you’ll have trouble working at all. An ergonomic chair will help to protect your back and allow you to work efficiently for longer hours.Table could not be displayed.
3. Create a Schedule
When you’re going to work in an office, you probably have set hours. That’s not the case for a lot of people who work from home. Without a schedule, there’s a lot of temptation to prioritize other things aside from work.
Michael Leonard of Inspire Your Success says, “Unlike a normal 9-5, you have to create a schedule to get work done! Don’t wake up and try to ‘wing it.’ Instead, do the big tasks/harder projects early in the morning when there are fewer distractions and you can move your business forward.”
I take a similar approach to Michael. I have set working hours, just as if I worked a traditional job in an office.
Having a schedule is important, but it’s also important that others know about your schedule. When you work from home, it’s not uncommon for friends and family members to assume that you’re always available.
Furqan Aziz, CEO of InvoZone says, “Most of the time families and friends cannot differentiate when a person is working or available to run errands. This issue is important and can be addressed through communication. Effectively convey to the family about your working hours.”
If it becomes a problem, you may need to establish some boundaries with friends or family members who become a distraction during your working hours.