How to Work from Home Like a Pro

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Work from Home. Like a Pro. Given the chance, most employees would jump at the opportunity to work from the comfort of home.

More flexibility?

No rush hour traffic?

Trading in heels for yoga pants?

Heaven!

In addition, many studies show that home-based employees are happier and more productive. However, some companies are understandably still hesitant to offer this benefit because the arrangement isn’t without challenges.

Distractions pop up and it can be easy to get side-tracked when we’re in our own environment. It’s just human nature. Who can resist the siren call of a dishwasher that needs to be emptied?

If you’ve convinced your employer to allow you to work remotely, there are a few tips and tricks that can ensure that this arrangement is a win-win for both of you.

1. Get dressed (and shower!) every morning

Yes, the temptation to roll out of bed and sit down at your computer in sweatpants or pajamas can be almost irresistible. But try to stick with your old morning routine as much as possible.

Hit the gym, take a shower and then put on some real clothes before clocking in. It will make you feel more professional and put you in the right mindset to tackle the day ahead. Plus, chances are, your family will appreciate it, too.

2. Create a dedicated office space

Even though you no longer have a commute, you should still make a point of “going to the office,” even if it’s just down the hall.

Do this by setting up an area in your home that’s for work alone. It could be a whole room or just a corner in the guest room. Whatever space you decide on, equip it with a desk, file cabinet, office supplies and a comfortable, ergonomic chair. It’ll also make it easier to close the door and leave work behind when it’s quitting time.

3. Designate regular office hours

clock We’ve all heard the term “work-life balance,” and this is especially important when working from home. With your office right down the hall, it can be all too easy to check office email or finish up that proposal at all hours of the day and night. In your mind, establish set working hours — 9 to 5, 7 to 4, whatever makes most sense — and then do your best to stick with them.

4. Change up your routine occasionally

Up until now, we’ve talked about the importance of keeping a routine in place and sticking with it. However, being in your house 24/7 can make even the most dedicated hermit a little stir-crazy.

One of the advantages of most work-from-home arrangements is that you don’t have to actually be in your house if you don’t want to. Scope out your neighborhood coffee shop. Look into a co-working arrangement a day or two a week.

Even just sitting on the patio instead of at a desk can clear your head and make you more productive.

5. Dampen distractions

paper-clipDistractions aren’t always bad.

Occasionally, we all need to take a break and clear our heads, especially if we’re working on a challenging project. However, it can be all too easy to get drawn into “time sucks” like social media and online games.

If you suddenly find that you’ve lost a few minutes — or hours! — on the web, you may need to set up some safeguards to get you back on track. A simple kitchen timer may be all you need. Set it for 5 or 10 minutes and when it goes off, get back to work. If you need a little more motivation, online applications like Anti-Social, StayFocused or FocusBooster can help keep you focused.

Setting up a home office? With a full line of business stationery, presentation materials and promotional items, PaperDirect is your one-stop source for your work-from-home needs.