Home Sweet Home Office: Maximize your productivity working from home.

Even if you don’t own a home based businesses, you may at some point find yourself needing to work from home. 

Flying solo? You don’t have to be alone

Working from home is for the most part solitary. It’s not for everyone. Working alone takes self motivation, discipline, and good organization to be successful.  Some people require professional interaction, feedback and daily accountability to be successful at work which can make working from home really tough.

 How can you feel more connected?

  • Pick up the phone instead of sending an e-mail.
  • Meet with clients and colleagues face to face when possible.
  • Consider using a shared work space from time to time. These spaces can offer full services including workspace, reception, board rooms, technology and more.
  • Spend time in your neighbourhood. Going for a walk or visiting the coffee shop to be around other people may make you feel less isolated.  

Desk duty: Set up your space properly

As tempting as it may be to work off a laptop while sitting on the couch or lounging on your bed, having a dedicated and organized work space is key to being successful when working from home. In order to set the proper atmosphere your professional space will need the proper equipment. This could include:

  • Noise cancelling head phones to ensure clients won’t hear Fido greet the doorbell
  • A work only computer to protect your work from well intentioned family members using it for games and streaming that could cause viruses.
  • A dedicated business phone line to ensure fewer interruptions whether you are on or off the clock. 
  • Good lighting to help your eyesight, limit headaches and keep you perked up when you otherwise might feel dreary.
  • An ergonomic chair to prevent back, shoulder and neck pain.

Keeping time: Stay on task

Working from home is…. work; therefore, it is best to treat it like so. Developing a daily routine will help you stay on task.  Get dressed for the day as if you were leaving the house for work.  This will act as a mental cue to switch from at home mode to work mode. 

Set specific work hours. It doesn’t have to be the traditional nine to five… after all flexibility is one of the benefits of working at home. Determine when you should be working based upon your clients’ hours, time zones, and your peak productivity time.

Once you have your work hours set, you need to ensure you will stay on task. Make a daily list and stick to it.  This list should include:

  • Must do today
  • Not essential but would like to get done, and;
  • Need to do eventually

Keep track of how long you spent on each task. Did you actually spend two hours writing that proposal or did you get caught up on Twitter? Be honest and use the time tracker and to-do list to keep yourself accountable.

Be cognizant not to work outside regularly scheduled hours unless absolutely necessary. You need to protect your weekends and vacations. As easy as it is to get distracted from work, it is also easy to get overworked if you don’t protect your personal time when working from home.

Squirrel! (Distractions will be everywhere)

When working from home, a door is just as important as a desk. You need to be able to close yourself off from distractions that naturally occur in a home. This includes pets, children, housework and visitors. Being near your family is an advantage of working from home but it is important to stay focused while you are at work. You can use visual cues for family members like a stop light to advise them when you can’t be interrupted, a yellow light for knock first and a green light for when it is ok to drop in and talk.

To increase productivity:

  • Limit all social media and non-work related internet browsing during work hours.
  • Stay out of the fridge and schedule your breaks and meals to help curb mindless snacking.
  • No housework allowed! You’d be surprised how a quick load of laundry becomes a lost hour.
  • Don’t allow friends to stop by or engage in long personal phone calls during work hours.
  • Keep the TV turned off.

Ultimately, working from home can offer you reduced overheads, flexible work hours, more time with family, and the opportunity to work for any client across the globe. You just need to set yourself up for success!

If you would like advice or have questions on your home office, call Business Resources at 1 888 234-2232 or email us at cfib@cfib.ca

Who is Jocelyn?

Jocelyn Rhindress is the Regional Team Leader of Business Resources for Atlantic Canada. In her more than her five years with CFIB Jocelyn has assisted thousands of members with their business inquiries. Her compassion for entrepreneurs started at a young age. Jocelyn grew up watching both her grandfather and father run their own small independent businesses where she witnessed both the joys and struggles that entrepreneurs face on a regular basis.

Jocelyn holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Economics from Mount Allison University and also has a Certificate of Human Resource Management from Dalhousie University Continuing Education.  Jocelyn thoroughly enjoys finding answers, solving problems, giving advice, and supporting CFIB members. She is proud to be a part of CFIB where she promotes the vision to be the most courageous, connected and influential voice committed to the growth of Canadian Entrepreneurs. Feel free to contact Jocelyn or her Business Resource colleagues with any business question, concern or issue you may be facing. Help and support is just a phone call or email away.