Working from home isn’t something every company offers. But it’s a highly valuable perk that not only allows employees to save on commute time but offers the flexibility to get in some “life” during work hours – like switching over the laundry or letting the dog out.
When you are presented with the opportunity to work from home, it’s important to demonstrate to your employer that you are just as effective as you are on days when you’re working in the office. Here are some tricks of the trade that I use to maintain my productivity at home:
- I map out a plan for my day that includes a couple of breaks for small chores or taking my dog on a quick walk – in addition to a lunch break. Usually, these breaks take no more time than walking to the break room to get coffee or having a conversation with a coworker about my plans for the weekend. But it helps to prevent screen-stare headaches and burn out.
- On my desk at home, I actually keep two to-do lists: one for work to-dos and one for home to-dos. If I write down my home to-dos as I think of them, I’m not only less likely to forget them, but I’m also less likely to get up right then to do something that could easily wait until I’ve wrapped up my work day.
- I work in a space at home that’s free of distractions: no TV, no view of my sink piled with dirty dishes and no use of social media (unless, of course, this is part of your job). I keep this space clean all the time, so I have a calm and organized environment in which to work. And I also keep a lot of indoor plants in it to oxygenate the room!
- But the best trick to working from home is being very proactive in communication and in accomplishing collaborative tasks. If I need someone’s help or advice, I ask myself, “If I were in the office would I do this right now or wait until tomorrow?” Most of the time my answer is, I’d do it right now. So, pick up the phone and call, send an email, or chat a quick message to your teammates. Don’t leave until tomorrow what can be done today!
One final note about working from home is that I make sure to set myself work/home boundaries. Of course, some nights I end up working later than I would have if I were in the office, but in an industry when the to-dos are simply never done, it’s important to set a cut-off time or a final task and stick with it. That way, you have enough time to relax and recover for the next productive day!
For more work from home tips, check out our tip sheet, 7 best practices for working remotely.
About the author
Karissa Buckner serves as sr. recruiter for Synergis, a top IT and creative staffing firm. She has four years of experience in recruiting and has been leading the Creative Recruiting Team for two years. As the company’s democratically-appointed UX Queen, she focuses on working with all types of UX, UI, VUI, and Research candidates, and networks in the UX community every chance she gets. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.