Millennials are changing the workplace, and although current college students are on the edge of this generation, there’s no sign of this change slowing down for Generation Z. One of the latest trends in the workplace is actually happening outside the workplace. More and more companies are allowing, and even encouraging, employees to work from home.
Personally, I have first hand experience with working from home, and I understand why people are increasingly choosing remote work. According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 43 percent of Americans said they spent at least some time working from home, which is a 4 percentage point increase since 2012.
While working from home has its conveniences, it’s important to draw a line between comfortable and too comfortable. In my two years of working from home, I’ve learned how to balance comfort and productivity to be just as effective, if not more so, working remote. Here are my top tips on how to effectively work from home.
Stick to your usual morning routine.
If on a normal work day you would wake up, work out, shower, get ready, and eat breakfast, don’t skip a step just because you’re not going into the office. Getting into a work mindset starts with your typical pre-work routine, no matter how simple or complex it may be. If you’re planning on working from home, don’t roll out of bed and work in your pajamas. Or even worse, don’t stay in bed in your pajamas. Get dressed and find a space that’s comfortable enough to focus, but not so comfortable that you might accidentally be lulled into a midday snooze.
Work from “home” somewhere other than home.
If you’re someone who gets easily distracted, or can’t resist the allure of hopping back in bed or turning on Netflix in the living room, try working remote from outside your house or apartment. Getting in the routine of going to your favorite coffee shop or local library can help add structure to this less structured type of work day. Also, human interaction is not a bad thing. Being around other productive people can help motivate you to stay productive.
Turn off your phone.
Or at least utilize the “do not disturb” feature. Being outside of the traditional workplace can make it more tempting to check your texts, Snapchats, or how many likes you’re getting on Instagram more often than you typically would. Part of the reason for this is that there’s no one around to see you slacking off, or at least no one who can determine the status of your employment. If you wouldn’t usually check your phone every ten minutes in front of your boss, don’t fall into this time-wasting trap while working remotely.
If you treat a day of working from home like a normal day of work, you might find that you’re even more productive outside of the office than in it. Choosing where you work from is a privilege, but it comes with the responsibility of maintaining the same high quality and effort. Being “out of office” can make your day a little less stressful, but don’t let it make your day any less productive.