Working from home provides a number of benefits. You don't have to deal with commute times. You can be in for if something needs to be delivered to your home. You can have lunch from your own fridge. And you can work in your pajamas. But the drawback is that being in the comfort of your own home can be too comfortable. To battle away from the temptations of slacking off while working from home, you have to have a plan.
Staying productive while working at home varies a bit depending on the job you do and if you are planning on working from home full time or only telecommuting some of the time but many of the general principles are the same.
View work as work
It's easy to feel like it's a day off or a half day when you're working from home, especially if you usually work in an office or on location. But when you're working from home you need to view is a full working day. This isn't just to please your boss, though it will likely do that, but to help you get through the day and not feel like it's a chore.
Do it with to-do lists
Setting goals and recording when you accomplish them is good general advice for productivity but is especially useful when you're working from home. There's no shortage of to-do lists available on just about every device.
A popular traditional to-do list is Wunderlist. It's available for smartphones as well as the web and PCs and you can have a number of lists separated by categories. You can also share a list with your coworkers and assign tasks to individuals so that you can keep track of who is assigned to which tasks.
If you want to go with a different kind of task managing service you can try Trello. It is a virtual board full of cards that can be shared with everyone in the office. Once a card has been created you can add specific people, notes, due dates, links, and more to the card. You can have different columns such as "in progress" and "completed" to keep everyone up to date. Trello is used throughout Mobile Nations and keeps the various sites on task and coordinated.
Dedicate that workspace
As comfortable as it can be to work from your sofa in front of your television. You're likely going to be more productive setting up a dedicated space for working from home. Depending on how much space you have in your home you can have a specific office or just clear off a table and create a workspace.
Your mind gets used to doing activities in certain locations. You're accustomed to sleeping in your bedroom, watching TV in your living room, and working in an office, or wherever you usually work. If you muddle those boundaries when you are working from home, you won't be as effective as when you're working from a place at which you've conditioned yourself to work.
Quite those devices
These days many of your electronic devices can talk to each other, syncing notifications from your apps as well as your messages. Constant pinging throughout the day can throw you off of your rhythm but can be easily turned off with quiet hours on your PC or phone.
If you need some notifications for work but don't want your games popping up telling you your crops are ready, or don't want someone tagging you in a Facebook post interrupting your work, you can turn off notifications on a per-app basis as well. This allows you to use your devices for work instead of having your devices work against you throughout the day.
Communicate, don't evaporate
When you're in a traditional place of work, you can usually talk to people in person very easily. Whether it's clients or coworkers, you need to stay in touch with them in a similar way from home as if you were working together in person. You can't evaporate into the background just because you're not physically near the people you work with.
If your place of work uses a communication software like Slack, Hipchat, or Microsoft Teams, you already know how important chatting online can be but when you work from home this becomes essential. Little notes or comments that you could make to the person at the desk next to you still need to be said. Since just about everything is connected to the internet these days it isn't hard to say the same thing from home.
If where you work doesn't have a channel of communication open already, or you work for yourself you can still set up a chat client such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Skype.
Push through it
Unfortunately, regardless of how many notifications you turn off or how nice your workspace is, you still need to just buckle down and bear it sometimes. Being at home means that you're in your own environment full of things you could occupy yourself with. After all, this is a home you have likely spent quite a bit of money and time on being comfortable. The truth is that you'll have to learn to cope with these if you want to be productive while working from home.
Wrapping things up
Working from home can save you a grueling commute while also helping you stay in the comfort of your own home. But if you don't avoid common the common pitfalls of distraction in your house you can end up being less effective than if you're in the field or at an office.
By having a plan and keeping up to date with your coworkers and clients you can remain active and get as much done while getting home earlier for dinner.