When working from home, it’s common to fall into the trap of distractions or let your house get out of order.
However, with a little foresight, you can ensure both your mind and house are working at their optimal levels, ready for an efficient day while maintaining the excellent work-life balance being a home worker can provide.
Let’s take a look at 20 remote working etiquette to follow when working from home:
1. Keep your work area tidy
An organized workplace leads to a productive mind. Keeping your workstation well laid out and clean will encourage you to remain focused.
It’s too easy to let this part of your home become a dumping ground for old takeaway boxes, empty coffee cups, and other debris.
Use a filing cabinet to store paperwork, and create a workstation as separate as possible from relaxation areas such as sofas and coffee tables.
2. Prepare for the day before it arrives
To feel ready to work, you’ll need to implement your routine – be it a jog or a cup of coffee.
3. Use a notepad as a to-do list
A notepad is particularly useful for those working from home with children and is an excellent tool for noting down anything requiring your attention throughout the day.
This will help you stay organized and ensure that you stay productive at the work at hand. Notepad can be on a book or your laptop or phone.
4. Set yourself short, achievable goals for each day
By setting small goals for the day, you’ll feel the satisfaction of ticking off each task as it’s completed.
The above step of keeping a notepad will help you achieve your daily/weekly/monthly goals.
5. Dress appropriately for your day ahead
When working from home, it’s easy to slip into a state of semi-undress, which may not be appropriate for your workplace.
Rather than working in your pajamas, dress comfortably while ensuring you’re presentable to the outside world if required.
You should get dressed the way you would when going to the office. This will tune you mentally for work at home.
6. Don’t eat at your desk all-day
Eating lunch on your desk while continuing to work is a recipe for disaster. You’ll feel lethargic and focus on your digestive system rather than your work!
If you have time, prepare a lunch to take with you and eat in a relaxed environment.
7. Take regular breaks throughout the day
When working from home, it’s easy to let yourself become engrossed in work.
However, taking breaks throughout the day will help your focus and energy remain high.
8. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise
When working from home, it’s easy to forget about exercise as part of your daily routine, but it is vital for maintaining a healthy body and mind.
Meal tip: Throw leftover veggies into a quinoa salad for lunch the next day!
9. Ask your partner or housemates to respect your workspace
Working from home can be an opportunity to treat yourself, so you must maintain the work desk separate from chill-out areas.
The best way to achieve this would be to create a small office in some separate room which is not much visited by family members.
10. Use time management software such as Rescue Time
When working from home, it can be common to fall into the trap of wasting time on distractions such as social media.
Time management software will allow you to block distracting websites and track your minutes and hours for quick reference during your day.
11. Use noise-canceling headphones if required
Working from home can also provide a welcome opportunity for family members to catch up on the latest soap opera or reality show in peace.
To avoid being disturbed, keep a pair of noise-canceling headphones close at hand and mute your TV or computer when required.
12. Use “meeting software” such as GoToMeeting to communicate with colleagues
When working from home, your “workplace” doesn’t stop at the doorway – it’s your living room and kitchen!
To avoid interruptions and distractions, use meeting software such as GoToMeeting to communicate with colleagues and clients on a more friendly platform than email.
13. Leave personal items out of sight
When working from home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of dropping your keys and dirty laundry on the nearest surface.
However, personal items should be kept from sight – mainly if you live with others – as they can prevent colleagues or clients from taking you seriously as a professional.
14. Keep food and drink away from your desk
It’s easy to let yourself become distracted by hunger pangs or a dry throat.
To avoid unnecessary diversions, keep food and drink out of reach or in another room when working from home.
15. Make sure your phone is on silent
Unless you are expecting an urgent call, it’s essential to have your phone switched to silent or vibrate at the very least while working from home.
You don’t want to be interrupted by a rogue text message or social media alert while trying to impress your colleagues and clients.
16. Don’t take work into your bedroom
It’s tempting to bring your laptop to bed when you’re working late at night.
However, working in your bedroom can result in you dozing off into deep sleep, meaning that you’ll struggle to fall asleep when it does come around to bedtime.
17. Don’t accept any work during evenings or weekends when you’re not working from home
Just because you are working from the comfort of your own home, it doesn’t mean that the rules don’t still apply!
It’s essential to have boundaries between work and leisure hours. If you work in your free time, try to shut down and ignore your laptop or phone until the following day.
18. Don’t take alcohol into the workplace
Working from home makes it easy to fall into the trap of “treating yourself” with a glass of wine or a beer in the evening.
However, working from home can make it difficult for your colleagues and clients to take you seriously if they catch a glimpse of your drink of choice whilst visiting your workspace!
19. Don’t bring children into the workplace
Establishing boundaries between work and home life is hard when you’re working from your living room.
This can be risky when it comes to managing children who may want to play in the same space simultaneously!
20. Use a board or pin-up calendar to plan ahead
A board or pin-up calendar will help you stay focused when working from home.
It’s common to get distracted by the needs of everyday life, so having a calendar in view at all times will help you prioritize your day.