According to a Gallup poll conducted last September, 45% of US employees surveyed worked from home last year either all or part of the time. The numbers have been rising since the onset of the 2020 pandemic. What started as a temporary inconvenience has now become a mainstream business strategy. The onset of online freelance platforms have contributed to this way of work with so many students and stay-at-home parents often using them to earn part-time income to pay off debt or save money. Many of these folks have turned those “side hustles” into full-time businesses.
Remote work appears to be here to stay. Here are some helpful tips for work-from-home employees.
1. Create a Proper Workspace
The kitchen table should not be your office. It is not comfortable, which will hurt productivity. For best results, a good-sized space that’s separate from any common areas, one with some comfortable, ergonomic furniture and decent technology should be invested in. Proper lighting is important also.
2. Invest in Quality Hardware and Software
Start out with an affordable setup, but make plans to upgrade the laptop and subscribe to software platforms that help with efficiency. MacBooks are more expensive than PCs because they last longer and have more secure operating systems. Free accounting software and cheap CRMs’ don’t integrate well with other systems.
3. Set Up a Schedule and Stick to It
A common mistake that at-home workers often make is assuming they no longer need to work regular business hours. Remote work does give more flexibility, but that shouldn’t create unmanageability. Try to stick to a regular schedule with a start time and end time. Make it a point to “leave work” each day to help promote balance.
4. Communicate with the Outside World
Solitude is one of the greatest dangers to the home worker. It can cause depression, lead to a lack of motivation, and cause you to be less productive. That’s why communicating with the outside world, preferably via video conferencing, is so important. Get connected. Communicate frequently with co-workers, friends, and family.
5. Get Out of the House
Real social interaction is therapeutically critical for human development. This was painfully learned during the pandemic when our movements were restricted by social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Don’t do that voluntarily. Take walks. Play golf. Take someone special out to a nice restaurant. It’s important.
The Bottom Line: Be in Charge
Though at-home workers may work for someone else, they are in charge of themselves all day. They are in control of furnishing the office, selecting the right technology, setting up the schedule, communicating with the outside world, and balancing the day with some outside activity. It’s a lot of responsibility. They should embrace it and enjoy the independence.