Whether you’re working from home by choice or your employer has instituted a new work-from-home policy, the world of working at home might be new and intimidating to you. Luckily, this guide is here to walk you through every concern – from how to set up the perfect at-home workspace to tips for deftly avoiding distractions.

Tip 1: When working from home focus on the tasks, not time.
The traditional workday asks us to toil from nine to five, 40 hours a week. Often, however, those hours don’t correlate with any outcomes. After all, we’ve all spent days sitting at a desk doing nothing, merely because it’s expected. Manage your day more effectively by ditching the time sheets and instead evaluating performance based on what you actually do.

A good way to reorient your work around productivity, not time, is to draw up a list of tasks for each week. Every Friday take a moment to write down what you would like to get done the following week. This should include discrete duties that can be done in a day as well as milestones to meet on longer-term projects.

Once you have your agenda, forget about hours. Each day, just focus on crossing items off the list. At the end of each day, complement your to-do-list with a “to-done” list. This is a record of everything you accomplished each day, whether it was on your original agenda or not. Keeping tabs on your progress helps refine your time management for the next week.

Tip 2: Create a daily routine that works for you.
Habits are powerful, but they’re not easy to form – particularly good habits. Creating a schedule for your daily tasks and activities that you’re able to stick to will help you to form good habits and break bad ones for a more productive, happier life. Setting up a solid daily routine is a little bit art and a little bit of science. The science is figuring out what you need to get done, while the art is figuring out when to do it.

Creating and maintaining a schedule provides a sense of routine, and in some cases, something to look forward to. We understand as well as anyone that things come up and life happens, but establishing a sort of regularity will ease some day-to-day stresses. Below are just a few of the areas of life that show the importance of establishing a routine or schedule.

Tip 3: Build resilient relationships while working from home.
Working from home has progressed from being just a trend to a more viable and respectable option for many global organisations today. Developing high quality relationships have been positively connected to increased productivity and feeling psychologically safe at work. People, who have strong workplace friendships tend to feel less isolated, more focused and loyal to their company, get sick less often and do not change jobs frequently.

But given all the benefits of having high quality workplace friendships, it is imperative that virtual employees must make a deliberate effort to build relationships.

Tip 4: Overcome challenges to achieve your goals.
If the goal you’ve set is worthwhile, expect some resistance. Any significant goal in your life is only reached when you overcome challenges along the way. As you encounter each obstacle, you can choose to either give up or press forward. You succeed when you resolve to rise to the challenge, instead of sitting on the side-lines or giving up.

Tip 5: Optimize your working experience by creating a comfortable environment.
Clearly, there are advantages to working at home. But adapting to this style of work doesn’t always come naturally. If you’re new to remote work, you may need some tips and tricks to get the most out of your home office.

Unless you’ve always worked from home, your domestic space may not be equipped like a professional office. It may sound superficial, but having the right furniture and amenities can do a lot to boost your productivity. After all, curling up on the couch with your computer may be cozy, but after a while, you will find yourself nodding off – or, worse, dealing with back pain and eye strain.

Save your spine by investing in an appropriate workspace. A solid desk, ergonomic office chair, and proper lighting will help you remain comfortable as you put in eight hours a day. Take the time to make your workspace appealing with personal touches like decorations and plenty of plants. A nice view always helps, too.

You can further enhance your remote work experience by including space for staying active. No home office is perfect for everyone. But through trial and error, you’ll discover the right mix of routines and equipment for you.

Tip 6: One size doesn’t fit all.
When it comes to a company’s work from home policy, everyone is different. Your productivity and overall success as a remote employee depends entirely on your preferred work style. That’s also the reason it’s hard to find any solid data on whether or not people are more productive at home. Anecdotally, it seems to boil down to personality type and the job you do.

The spread of home working is opening up a new range of possibilities for the way businesses can work and structure themselves. As well as opportunities and benefits, home working brings new responsibilities for the employer and employee.