With the rise of the gig economy and an increase in the number of employers offering remote work, more employees are setting up shop at home (including us at B Squared!) While this set-up offers increased flexibility, working from home efficiently is not an easy task.
There are plenty of issues that come with working from home.
Whether you work for an employer or operate as a freelancer, these secrets to working from home efficiently will help you thrive as a remote worker.
Choose A Strong Cell Phone Provider
For workers without a landline, cell phones become indispensable. Whether you’re at your desk, in a co-working space, or running errands on your lunch break, a cell phone is the best way for people to get in touch with you. It’s important to invest in the right device, service provider, and plan to be sure you’re a call or text away.
Invest in Dependable Tech
Most employers provide computers, monitors, and accessories for use in the office. But freelancing or working from home may require a personal investment in technology. Instead of purchasing bottom-end technology to cut costs, make sure your selections can keep up with your professional expectations. You want to have the ability to run required programs and meet client demands without compromise.
Protect Your Network
If you are hosting confidential business information on your personal technology, security is paramount. Aways use secure internet connections at your home or in co-working spaces, and do not access sensitive information on public Wi-Fi networks. The more steps you take to maximize security, the better. Compromising client or employer files will land any remote worker in hot water.
Keep Spaces Clean
When your workplace is in your home, it’s easy to let your personal and professional lives overlap. It doesn’t take long for clutter from your daily routine to bleed into your workday. This can be a detriment to your productivity. Especially when you’re working in an area that’s not properly maintained. In a clear, clean space, you’ll be better prepared to focus on work rather than lifestyle distractions.
Create a Permanent Workspace
It’s possible to be productive when sitting on the couch, but you’re likely to see better results in a dedicated workspace. Even a desk in a corner of your apartment used for work and nothing else will help you focus. The dedicated area will prevent your from focusing on other tasks that happen like dishes or laundry.
Utilize Storage Solutions
If a lot of equipment is necessary for your work, figuring out storage solutions for limited space are essential to staying organized. File cabinets, furniture that doubles as storage, or plastic bins that can be stowed away when not in use can make the most of a small space. If your home isn’t adequate an off-site storage opportunity can provide extra space to devote to inventory or other professional needs.
Most conventional office places are relatively low in distractions, but your home probably isn’t. From your television to the members of your family, there’s plenty to focus on. In order to maximize efficiency, do your best to stay away from temptations. Set up a workspace in a place your children cannot access and that is away from the television, your personal computer, favorite books, or anything else that may grab your attention.
Explore Co-working Spaces
While many homes have plenty of space to accommodate remote work, not every house or apartment is appropriate. If you live in small space, such as a studio apartment, or with several roommates, a home office may not be right for you. In these circumstances, a well-designed space for co-working or a time-shared office may be a great alternative.
Stick to a Schedule
Those who work in an office generally show up at the same time each morning and leave at the conclusion of the workday. Those who work from home are always effectively at work, blurring the line between work time and personal time. Instead of allowing your work life to dominate the time you spend relaxing with family, set a schedule just as you would if working in an office.
Take Breaks as Needed
Few people in a traditional workplace have their noses to the grindstone all day, every day, forever. From time to time, employees will take time to socialize, run out for coffee, or take a long lunch. When working at home, this can be harder to accomplish, particularly without co-workers present to temporarily alleviate pressure. As such, it’s up to you to make sure you take breaks as needed throughout the day to avoid burnout.
Stay Compliant When Working From Home
While some careers don’t have a licensing or regulatory body that oversees activity, many do. If the field you work in requires compliance of any sort, it’s exceptionally important that your home-based workplace and practices are in line with expectations. Before jumping into a remote work experience, be sure you’re following all requirements to operate in your industry.
Consider Professional Advice
If you are required to be compliant, are leasing property or equipment, or must obtain permits before beginning work, professional input can be essential. Rather than doing your own research and hoping everything is okay, consider partnering with an attorney to be sure your choices are above board. If you’re self-employed and are new to taxes, a CPA can also be an asset.
Working from home efficiently can be a difficult undertaking and finding a setup that works for you can take a little trial and error. As you get settled, whether as an independent contractor or working for an employer, go easy on yourself and be flexible. Do what it takes to find what works for you – after all, your productivity and success in business may depend on it.
Working from home can be a wonderful opportunity, but it isn’t without the occasional pitfall. With these secrets to working from home successfully, you can make the most of your next remote venture.
Do you have any tips for working from home efficiently? Share them in the comments below!
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Laura Gayle is a full-time blogger who has ghostwritten more than 350 articles for major software companies, tech startups, and online retailers. Founder of www.BusinessWomanGuide.org, she created her site to be a trusted resource for women trying to start or grow businesses on their own terms. She has written about everything from crowdfunding and inventory management to product launches, cybersecurity trends, web analytics, and innovations in digital marketing.