Fewer people than ever work in an office. 3.9 million people in the United States telecommute and work from home. This is a substantial slice of the US workforce, and it’s one that is rapidly growing.
Telecommuting has many benefits for workers. However, it’s not necessarily easy for many people to make this transition to working remotely. Without direct supervision in a corporate office environment, there can be many distractions. Productivity can greatly suffer as a result. With this in mind, below are some tips you can use to increase productivity while working remotely.
Stick to a Schedule
It’s easy to stick to a work schedule when you have an employer setting your hours. If you ignore it and don’t show up for work, you’ll of course be fired. However, what if there is no employer or supervisor to schedule your hours for you? Left to your own devices, you may end up barely working at all. You may try to find any excuse not to work. Overall, your profitability and your ability to make a living will certainly suffer.
Instead, you need to make your own work schedules and stick to them. Schedule enough time to complete your work every day with a little bit extra in case you need it. In fact, you should be working as much as you would be in a regular office. If you want to be gainfully employed as a telecommuter, you certainly need to be working full time and perhaps even more. Just because you won’t receive overtime for your efforts does not mean you shouldn’t work as much as you can.
However, also make sure to schedule some downtime so you don’t burn out. If you have a family, this is even more important. If you are productive enough, you should actually end up with extra time since you won’t have to commute. According to statistics, the average employee spends about 200 hours a year commuting. That’s about nine days a year!
Create a Home Office without Distractions
Distractions are the enemy of productivity when working remotely. They can eat away at the time you should have spent working to the point your ability to maintain a healthy income through your work vanishes. Overall, even if you are working from home, you still need a workspace that is conductive to one thing, working. To do this, you have to create a home office.
You can receive tax benefits for the money you spend on a home office. However, you don’t really need to build anything. Simply modify an existing room into an office.
Make sure you have everything you need such as a work desk, desktop computer, printer, fax machine and file cabinets. Don’t add things unrelated to you work that will only serve as distractions such as a television. Limit the software installed on your desktop computer to only work related programs. If you are a gamer, use a completely separate room and computer for your gaming.
Secure Your Home Office
Businesses are expected to spend $100 billion on cyber security in the coming years. Just because you work from home does not mean you can ignore cyber threats like hackers, malware, viruses and more. Make sure your data is secure and you have cyber security software installed.
Your home office being physically targeted by criminals is also a strong possibility. This is especially the case if you store products, raw materials and other assets in your home. If that’s the case, you certainly need to invest in home security to protect your business. If you don’t, your livelihood may be put in jeopardy.
Telecommuting may have many strong advantages over a traditional workplace for many workers. However, working remotely does also come with its own unique challenges you must consider. Overall, you need to focus on maintaining a high level or productivity when working from home if you want to succeed as a telecommuter.