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Top Tips for Working Productively from Home

January 21, 2016 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Working from home offers many benefits. Whether you are a solo entrepreneur, part of a start-up, or work for a large corporation, working from home provides you with the luxuries of saving more money and working more efficiently. As the number of people who are working from home has increased in recent years, several pitfalls have emerged. Fortunately, many strategies for success have been developed to deal with them. From managing distractions to improving your technical literacy, the below tips will help you be more productive while working at home.

Manage Distractions

Working from home offers the unique opportunity to focus directly on the goals you want to accomplish. However, working from home can also lead to an endless amount of potential distractions. It is important to deal proactively with these distractions by setting limits and sticking to them. Consider making certain hours of your work day media free. It can be tempting to check social media, personal e-mails, or scores for a live game during “work hours”, but it can also negatively affect your productivity. During work hours, it is important to stay focused. While the occasional distraction can be refreshing, setting limits has proven to be a successful tactic for many people who work from home.  

Keep a Clean Workspace

A clean workspace is crucial to your productivity. You do not want to be wasting time searching for valuable information amid a disorganized stack of papers that have built up over time. Make sure you have adequate space to organize your files and your office supplies. One way to maximize space is to utilize a small document scanner. Document scanners have enabled people to maximize their desk space by converting all paper clutter to digital files. It is much easier to organize your files when they are on the computer, so it is important to make sure you run backups on your files frequently, either to the cloud or a personal server or hard drive. For files that require a hard copy, make sure you have a sufficiently sophisticated organizational system so that nothing is ever lost. In order to avoid clutter, all non-essential files should be shredded or put in the trash.

Use a Virtual Office

While there are many advantages to working from home, there are a few notable disadvantages. You want to present a professional appearance to your clientele, which can be affected by things like your personal voicemail, home address, or lack of space for in-person meetings. One way to present a professional appearance is to utilize a virtual office. Servcorp's Virtual Office Package comes with the complimentary use of in-house office space, a dedicated receptionist, local business telephone number, and mail forwarding services at a month-to-month contract. If you are looking to make a professional impression on your clients without having to pay a traditional lease agreement, a virtual office is an excellent option for you. 

Improve Your Technical Literacy

Technical issues are inevitable, and they can seriously harm your productivity. Since most people who work from home do not have access to an IT department, it is important to improve your literacy with the technology you are using. One convenient option is to take an online computer class from a local community college. A foundational knowledge of technology will help you to troubleshoot any issues that may come up. Another option is to familiarize yourself with services available to you. If you purchased your computer at Best Buy, you should take advantage of Geek Squad. If you use an Apple computer, check to see if there's a Genius Bar near you to help you when problems arise. There are many other services available that would be well-worth knowing.