Working from home became a lot more popular in light of the Covid pandemic as lockdowns forced plenty of people into this situation. Working from home was a growing trend anyway due to the nature of society. The pandemic likely sped up the trend as more companies realized the benefits to both themselves and their employees. Not only do companies save money on office space and utilities when their employees work remotely, but productivity increased when workers were sent home. For their part, employees liked working remotely as it reduced the stress of commuting, allowed more flexibility in scheduling life around work, and, for those who expected to work from home over the long run, it allowed them to move from high cost of living communities or ones that didn’t offer much in the way of amenities to communities that were more affordable or offered a better lifestyle.
Working from home
The thought of sitting in your home and making money was never really taken seriously until very recently. Traditionally, you had to get yourself up and out of the house 100% of the time, incurring the stress of traffic, the expense of commuting to work, and the inconvenience of using your off hours to do all your household chores. Now, your commute is from your bedroom to an office setup — either a dedicated space or a portion of your room — you don’t need expensive clothing and dry cleaning — you can do your work in sweats (adding some more professional clothing only on top) — and you can throw in a load of laundry or pop in a casserole in between Zoom meetings so you have more free time after work and on weekends.
From a business perspective, working from home means you don’t need dedicated office space for each worker, Instead, you can use a smaller, less expensive setup where workers share office space to work from the office on a staggered schedule or you can eliminate office space in favor of conference rooms for those times when you need to meet in person. Many businesses found pandemic work from home so effective and efficient that they eliminated the need for workers to ever come to the office.
Tech companies led the charge in virtual work, building distributed workplaces to attract the best and brightest workers regardless of where they lived while offering clients the ability to work with the firm regardless of their time zone. No more hassle with visas for foreign workers or forcing employees to work during the night to meet the demands of clients located halfway around the globe.
For startups and gig workers, working from home reduces your overhead to make it easier for your brand to succeed on limited resources.
So, whether you have your own business and are looking for a solid business future, or you are simply doing a job for your employer at home, want your setup to work for you to allow for optimal performance and comfort while reducing the impact of your home office on your family and lifestyle. Many people struggle with working from home because they aren’t aware of how to get the best out of the situation. Here are our tips for getting the most out of your efforts to work remotely.
Make sure you’re comfortable
Being comfortable with your remote workspace means you have what you need to perform your role at your fingertips and the space is conducive for work. If your office is comfortable, then you can get a lot more done with less strain and wasted effort.
For most people, this means having an appropriate desk and comfortable chair since you spend much of your work time sitting at your desk. Balancing your laptop while working on the couch or bed leads to back and neck pain that might produce long-term negative health consequences. You also likely need a computer and a larger screen or multiple screens helps make your work easier than trying to work from a small laptop screen. You might find a filing cabinet useful even if your work is mostly digital as you need little things like envelopes, stamps, tape, scissors, pens, and paper at least sometimes. Taking time to find these accessories in a jumble of stuff on your desk or in a corner is a waste.
A printer is also a great thing to add to your home office as most folks find it impossible to get by with only digital assets.
Find your perfect space
If you have the right home, then it makes life so much easier in terms of working because you have a dedicated space for all your stuff. If you must work from the dinner table, that means setting up and clearing your work daily, which wastes time. Plus, if you live in an apartment, you may find the noise and distractions caused by neighbors make your work more challenging.
If you’re not satisfied with where you are right now, then perhaps looking around for the perfect place makes sense. Relocating is quite a big commitment, so make sure you’ve got the right. If you know you’re going to be working from home for a while, the right home is imperative. For some, relocation is a blessing and working from home allows them to move from an expensive city, like LA, to one with a lower cost of living and less congestion. Thankfully, firms like Compass real estate are there to help you with information and opportunities to ease your relocation concerns. When looking for the perfect place, you need the right help.
How is your connection looking?
You obviously need a stable, fast internet connection if you plan to work from home. Virtual meetings strain system resources so you need a good connection and a computer that can handle the demands imposed by video conferencing software.
Another aspect of your connection worth serious consideration is security. Potentially the most serious threat to an organization from remote workers is the patchwork of cybersecurity protections available at all these locations. It makes sense to consult a cybersecurity expert to ensure your business assets are protected when you use remote workers.
It’s very, very easy to become distracted when you’re sitting at home. If you have kids, a smartphone, a TV, video games, and all kinds of similarly stimulating things, you can struggle to get things done – even when you know you have a deadline. Do what you can to isolate yourself and get away from these annoying distractions. If possible, make arrangements for childcare and set up a schedule for pets so they don’t interfere with your work. A door is a great asset when it comes to avoiding distractions.
Set up a work routine
Just like when you’re working in your traditional office, you must get into a routine. For people used to working from an office, with its externally imposed work routine, it may take some time to develop a routine when you work from home. To start, you might establish work hours and stick to those hours religiously. Hence, if your work hours are from 9 – 5 with an hour for lunch, then you focus on work during those hours. If you find yourself all caught up with your work, don’t use that as an excuse to shrink your work hours. Instead, use the time to organize your work activities so you’re more efficient.
By the same token, don’t let work take over your life just because you don’t leave for the office. Once you hit 5 pm, push away from your desk and close the door. You’re done with work for the day. Also, ensure you take breaks AWAY FROM YOUR DESK as these breaks make you more productive by allowing your mind to clear and your body to move.
Need marketing help to support business growth?
We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies. Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.
Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.