I recently gave up my daily commute, and role in a traditional office, in favour of an exciting position at a growing business, and the opportunity to work from home.
Self-employment, virtual businesses and even flexible work arrangements in larger companies are making it more and more common for employees to work from remote locations, including their own home offices. However, working from home is not for everyone. Here are the 3 most useful tips I’ve encountered for how to stay focused and productive in my home office space.
Create Your Own Space
Unlike a well-furnished office building, the home is not always designed to ensure productivity. First, there is the distraction of just about everything around you. Creating a space of your own where you can focus on your work is critical. If possible, it is ideal to designate a full room, with a door, so that you can shut out any noise or unfinished projects in the home that might take your eye off your work. If you are working in an open space, or otherwise common living area such as a kitchen or den, try to establish a creative, yet permanent workspace that does not need to be cleared away at the end of each work day.
Your work space should inspire you. A bright window, plants or a favourite piece of art work can surround you with beauty and ensure that you love the space where you’ll be spending your days. You also need to be comfortable and healthy. Invest in a few pieces of proper office equipment, such as an ergonomic chair to ensure a healthy posture while sitting, and a standing desk to allow you to stay productive when taking breaks from long periods of sitting.
Get Ready for the Day
Some people say that the benefit of working from home is that you can spend the day in your pajamas. However, getting ready for the work day as though you were heading out of the house can have other benefits. Many people feel more confident when dressed in more professional
attire. This confidence can improve your mindset as you settle in to perform your work tasks. It will even come across in your behaviour, and in the tone of your voice on the phone.
Being presentation-ready is extremely helpful if you receive a last-minute request for a Skype call from a client, or if a business contact swings by and invites you for lunch. The secret here is to ensure that your attire reflects the nature of your business. What is considered professional will depend upon whether you are selling surf gear or accounting services. Be true to yourself, but be ready for action at a moment’s notice.
Make Plans to Get Out
Working from home can mean that you don’t have the same opportunity for positive social interaction that comes with a dynamic office environment. Aside from engaging conversation at the water cooler, interacting with others can provide ideas and inspiration, and can lead to brainstorming and collaboration that might not otherwise happen. Scheduling time with others allows you to break the silence (if you work in silence), and benefit from some human contact. Schedule regular meetings, lunches or coffee dates. Join a networking group or schedule some time at a shared office space. You never know – you might bump into someone who can help you through your writer’s block, or open a door at a new prospect. If you don’t have a meeting scheduled, simply get outside for some fresh air and a quick turn around the block. This alone can do wonders for your productivity.
Do you work in a home office? Please message me to share your secrets to staying focused while working in your home office.
About Heather Liemanis:
Heather Lielmanis is the Regional VP, Business Development at Fitneff Inc. Fitneff is dedicated to providing innovative products and solutions that help busy people make their productive time more active. Fitneff offers a full suite of walking desks, sit-stand desks and active accessories that allow you to incorporate movement into your work day.
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Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University.
Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.