Author: Karen Beaman, Director Agent Acquisition and Onboarding
“You work from home? You are so lucky. I wish I could ‘work’ at home and cross chores off my ‘to-do’ list at the same time!”
That sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Well, working from home isn’t exactly like that.
For some reason, people think that “working from home” is synonymous with “sitting around in pajamas” or doing laundry, washing dishes, exercising, taking care of personal errands and not really working. I can tell you, emphatically—it’s not! Working from home is work, just like people do in an office. I participate in meetings, talk frequently with my co-workers and consistently meet deadlines. I’m a solid, contributing member of the team…I just work in a home office.
It’s not easy, though. I’m not complaining but being productive when working from home takes some planning, preparation and self-motivation. It is easy to get distracted when there is more than the Internet to consume your attention. So, considering all the questions I’ve heard and experiences I’ve had, I wanted to share some tips on how to stay motivated when you work from home.
- Set a schedule. This is especially critical if you have a family whose schedules you are working “around.” Get up at the same time every day, start work at the same time and stop work (around) the same time.
- Get dressed. This one sounds simple and even silly, but getting dressed puts you in a different mindset. You’re not lazing around the house on the weekend—you are a productive member of the workforce.
- Create a dedicated work space. Ideally this is a space set up just for work. Design a space that will keep you focused and motivated. Keep things you use frequently for work close at hand. Do whatever you can to minimize distractions, especially noises that could be very distracting to other people if you are on the phone.
- Interact with your co-workers. It can be a phone call, chat, email or video conference. Get to know the people you’re working with on a personal level, not just a business level. Build bonds and support each other.
- Plan your workweek. If you can’t plan your whole week, at least plan your day. Create a clear picture of what you need to accomplish, what is scheduled and who you need to connect with. And always allow some unscheduled time to accommodate last-minute items. That helps to keep your stress level down.
- Take breaks. It’s important to give yourself mental breaks and a change of scenery is best. Taking a brief walk can help you to re-focus and be more productive when you sit back down at your desk.
- Reward yourself. Make a special lunch. Get out in nature. Share an accomplishment with your coworkers. Do a virtual high-five.
- Set boundaries. When you work from home you may need to set boundaries to help yourself maintain that work-life balance. Ask your friends and family to respect that work time is for work. And avoid burn out by making sure you unplug at the end of the day and resist the temptation to check emails during family time.
- Take time to socialize outside of work. Networking is great and definitely something I encourage—but a conversation with a neighbor or getting together with friends to catch up is a great way to unwind after your work day.
- Enjoy your productivity and freedom! Working from home is a fantastic way to keep your skills fresh, stay engaged with the working world and help support your family. There are some great (and legitimate) work-from-home options, including working for yourself as an independent contact center agent. Whatever work you do, enjoy the freedom that comes with working from home.
These are a few of the ways I’ve learned to stay motivated in my time working from home. What tips can you share?