It is estimated that over three million of us in the UK work from home - but what's the secret to success when it comes to remote working? How do you avoid the inevitable distractions and keep your mind on the task in hand? The home office experts, Betta Living have devised the following top tips to help you be your most productive.
1. Have a dedicated workspace
It sounds obvious, but there's always the temptation to take your laptop into the living room or even worse, into bed with you! This is not a good habit to get into and should be avoided at all costs. Instead create an area that is solely for work. A home office is the perfect solution; if you don't have the space to dedicate an entire room to your office, utilize a spare bedroom or area within another room.
It is just as important that at the end of the working day you can close a door on work and regain your home again - so consider storage solutions to let you keep work tidy and separate from home life.
2. Dress for work
You're not going to the office, so there's no need to don your usual suit and tie, working from home means you can be more casual, but make sure you change out of your pyjamas, have a shower and dress for the working day ahead. This will help you to mentally prepare for the working day.
3. Set yourself working hours
OK, so one of the major benefits of remote working is that you don't need to do the normal 9-5 working days, you can be more flexible. But be realistic, don't start work at 7pm at night, when you're feeling tired and not at your best and don't think that just because you're at home that you should work for 12 hours straight! Set sensible working hours and stick to them.
4. Create the right environment
Make sure your house is not too warm, too cold or to noisy - create a relaxing environment to help you work productively. NEVER turn on the TV, even if it's just background noise, it will inevitably distract you from what you're doing and allow your mind to wander. If silence is too deafening then put the radio on or some music, some people work better in this environment as it reminds them of the hustle and bustle of a busy office.
5. Watch your social networking
Avoid Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, just like TV these can be very distracting and can see you wasting hours of valuable time! Also, your boss or your client may spot that you're busy updating your status rather than concentrating on their work!
6. Make a daily to do list
Keep good practices that you had in the office and start the day with a to do list, it will help you structure your day and give you satisfaction as you tick off tasks. Make sure it's realistic and prioritise the most urgent jobs so you can make a productive start to your day.
7. Go outside
Working from home can be isolating and lonely at times, so give yourself a break in the day that involves going outside. This could be to grab lunch or a walk around the block - it is an opportunity to get away from your computer screen, see other human beings and relieve some stress!
8. Forget the household chores
It is easy to get distracted by jobs around the house, but you must make a pledge never to do household chores during the working day! This rule will ensure that you remain production but also that your family or the people you live with understand that when you're working, you're working and no you cannot do the hover vacuuming or put the washing in!