Improving Personal Efficiency When Working From Home

With flexible working becoming very much the norm and the ease with which technology allows us to work remotely, more and more of us are working - at least some of the time - from our homes. But maintaining your personal efficiency when working from home can be an issue. It can be easy to become distracted by the other non-work related jobs that need to be done, or go to the other extreme and continually work significantly longer than you would if you were in the office. Striking the right work-home life balance that will keep you efficient can sometimes feel impossible, but with a little discipline and using the following tips it can be done!

Create a dedicated work area

The first key to working more efficiently from home is to create a dedicated work area in the house. If you do not have an actual room that you can use exclusively as your “office”, then you must be disciplined and pack everything away at the end of the working day. In this way you create a physical distinction between “working” and “living” and this also has the effect of creating the right mental state - when you are in your "work" area you are at work, and when this is cleared away, or the door is shut, you are "not at work".

Set limits

when working from an office we would typically have an expected start and finish time. When working from home, you do not have any travel time and it is easy to become immersed, so working significantly longer than you would if at the office. Whilst this may help you to achieve more, it can lead to fatigue and inefficiency. Get into the habit of setting yourself a time to start work and a time to finish. Finishing at a reasonable hour will allow you time to socialise with friends and will help to minimise the isolation that home workers can sometimes feel. It also means your family knows when you will be there for them, and this can prevent unnecessary interruptions, resentment and arguments!

Have a break

The UK takes the shortest lunch breaks and works the longest hours in the EU. This culture can be exacerbated when working from home as we can feel guilty about taking a break during "work time". Don’t. A short break every couple of hours can clear your mind and make you better able to focus on the tasks you have to complete.

Keep it flexible

One of the real advantages of working from home is that you can make best use of your personal efficiency cycle. Some people are naturally morning people or “larks”, others are evening people or “owls”. If you are a lark then try scheduling the most important tasks you have to do for the morning. Owls may find that they are more efficient if they leave these until a little later in the day.