As the world’s most talented athletes gather in Rio this summer to fight for the gold, you are stuck at home, watching from afar. While you may not have the speed of Usain Bolt, the grace of Gabby Douglas or the serve of Novak Djokovic, fear no more because with these tips on dos and don’ts, you are guaranteed to take home the gold medal in the telecommuting games.
1. Don’t: Stay in your home.
Even though you might technically say that you “work from home,” confining yourself to your home office may actually be harming your work flow. By switching up your surroundings, you can actually maximize your productivity. So, next time you find yourself in a midday slump, pick up your belongings and head to your local library, coffee shop, or even nearest park to up your efficiency and bask in glory atop the productivity podium.
2. Do: Decorate, decorate, decorate.
While getting out of your home office is important for improving your workplace performance, having a comfortable space to foster productivity at home is just as vital to your telecommuting success.
Personalized touches—such as pictures, color and wall decals—create a vibrant, serene space that can boost your mood, inspire creativity and improve focus. As soon as your home office begins to feel like you, you will see an increase in your overall productivity and the gold medal for telecommuting will be yours.
3. Don’t: Browse the internet aimlessly.
Fewer eyes watch your every move when you work from home, and with the pressure to act professionally at all times off your shoulders, you face many more temptations than the traditional, in-office worker. With that being said, despite what people claim, multitasking only decreases productivity.
Whether you’re switching tabs to scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feed, replying to personal texts or checking your phone for the current score of the game, multitasking can create distractions, pull you out of focus and cut down on your productivity. Instead, try turning your phone on airplane mode while working on an important item on your to-do list and using an anti-distraction app to block certain websites in order to remain fully focused on the task at hand. All these steps ensure that you leave with gold bling around your neck.
4. Do: Create a schedule.
Feeling like you must be constantly available is a major consequence of remote work. As much as mobile technology can be a blessing, it is equally a curse because disconnecting appears nearly impossible. Nevertheless, disconnecting is essential in order to create a balance between your personal and work life. Creating a consistent schedule with a start and stop time that both you and your employer agree upon is the first step towards achieving this balance.
Once your work day is over, stop working. Do not get sucked into the never-ending work cycle by checking your email constantly. If you do not value your personal time, how do you expect your coworkers to value it? Boundaries are crucial to your mental and physical health (and your overall telecommuting success). If you want to go for gold, schedules are your secret weapon.
Just like world’s best athletes, remote workers must train and practice in order to find their rhythm of productivity. With more flexibility comes more responsibility; however, with this list of dos and don’ts, you can become one of the best of the best remote workers and take home the gold!
For more tips on how to be a telecommuting champion, check out PGi’s Two Sides of the Telecommuting Coin: A Telecommuting Checklist for Remote Workers and Their Managers.