Working from home is a delicate balance of comfort and efficiency. At times, you might feel exceptionally privileged to have the opportunity to simply get out of bed and get to work on your couch while in your pajamas. Other times, you may feel distracted by the chores piling up around you, preventing you from focusing on the work at hand. When it comes to working remotely, there are many pros and cons.

Whether you work from home full-time or simply once in a while, here are five ways to be successful when your house is your office:

1. Minimize distractions. 

It can be really challenging to work from home. You see the dishes piled up in your kitchen sink, begging to be washed. Your eyes notice the overflowing basket of laundry that needs to be tended to. You hear your retired neighbors chitchatting outside, a dog barking down the street, and the mail person dropping off your delivery. In short, your house can be a distracting place.

Do your best to minimize your distractions. Turn off the television, shut the windows, and plop yourself in a quiet room to avoid interruptions. Your chores will be there when you can tend to them after you’ve completed your work obligations. Those texts awaiting your replies will be there to answer after work hours. Close out the social media tabs open on your computer, and get to work.

2. Dress for the day.

Even if you’re working from home, you should get ready and dress for the day ahead. Just because no one can see you, doesn’t mean you should roll out of bed with messy hair and pjs on.

Think about it: aren’t you more productive when you feel good? Aren’t you extra efficient when you’re ready for the day? Shower, manage your hair, and dress for work. Personal care and hygiene is bound to set the tone for your day, because you mean business, even when working from home.

3. Create a dedicated work space.

Not everyone has a spare room in their home that they can transform into a personal office. If you do, great! Utilize that space as your work space. If you don’t, do not fret. Set your work space up on your kitchen table or dining room.

If you need to pull the blinds to avoid outdoor distractions, do it. Get your computer ready and charged, grab your pens and notebook, and get yourself situated at a table.

Try to avoid setting up camp on the couch. Although it’s comfortable, laying on the couch is probably not the best form and ergonomic practice when working from home. Plus, how efficient do you think you’ll be while on the couch? Probably not nearly as successful compared to a table, and better yet, a home office.

Create a work space at home that works for your comfort and efficiency.

4. Set your hours.

If you’re employed by a company, you probably have set hours in your job. If you make your own hours, set them accordingly. Whether you work 9-5, or varied hours set by your own preference, make sure you dedicate yourself to working the hours you need to while working from home.

As aforementioned, it can be really easy to multitask around the house, like cooking a meal while on a conference call or folding laundry and checking email. Do not abuse your ability to work from home. Make sure that while you’re on the clock, you’re actually in work mode.

Clock in and out just as you would on the job at the office. Treat your house as your office while working from home and earn your hours accordingly. Yes, time theft is a thing, even when you’re working from home.

5. Be professional.

Whether you’re in the office, driving in your car, or working from home, remember to always maintain professionalism on the job. No one wants to hear you eating potato chips on a conference call or cursing while you’re stuck in traffic. Be just as professional as you would in the office. Working from home should be no different.

Respond to emails promptly, speak clearly and professionally on calls, and stay focused on the job. Working from home is no excuse to slack off or lose your professionalism. If you do, it could lead to your employer retracting their work from home policy, or they could even reconsider your remote position altogether. Keep it professional!

Working from home is becoming more and more of a norm in the workforce these days. If you have the option to work from home during inclement weather, on occasion, or regularly, be sure to embody these tips to be successful when your house is your office.

Originally Published on GenTwenty

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