Work from home or remote work is the most searched term in the last month.
Facing the complicated situation of the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the whole world was affected, most countries and companies recommended that everyone should stay at home and work from home for many businesses.
It seems that staying home for one or two or three days at home is not all difficult for us, even to love it, but to maintain and ensure work efficiency is really difficult, with a lot of temptation.
First, we will learn what is working from home?
So what is work from home or remote work?
Work from home, also called telework, teleworking, mobile work, remote work, and the flexible workplace is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel (e.g. by bus or car, etc.) to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse, or store.Wikipedia
Think of it this way: instead of commuting to an office each day to work from a designated desk, remote employees can execute their projects and surpass their goals wherever they please.
People have the flexibility to design their days so that their professional and personal lives can be experienced to their fullest potential and coexist peacefully.
Working from home is awesome … right up until the cat throws up on your computer.
And your neighbor, who you can only assume is building a time machine, starts firing up all sorts of power tools and noisy machinery across the street.
For many modern professionals, working from home every once in a while is a luxury that our respective companies afford us.
But which environment actually allows us to be more productive: the home office or the office?
In the office, your coworkers often pose the greatest threat to keeping you from getting some real, heads-down work done.
They drop by your desk, engage you in conversation, and invite you to lunch. The social benefits of a workplace are definitely nice to have, but they can become a challenge if you’re easily distracted.
At the home office, however, I find that it’s easy for you to become your own worst enemy. Because when you’re not surrounded by coworkers, you’re free to drop those pesky inhibitions.
At the home office, no one’s watching. You don’t necessarily feel that same peer pressure or communal obligation to get stuff done. (Also: You don’t have to wear pants.)
How to Work Effectively From Home?
Whether you’re working remotely one day per week (or more) or full-time—by choice or because of a health scare or weather event—it’s important to ensure that you are set up to be productive.
This includes having a designated work-space with the right technology; ways of dealing with kids, pets, and other potential disruptions; and a schedule that allows for the social contact and stimulation that ordinarily comes from being in a workplace with others.
Here are strategies and 9 tips to work from home more effectively
1️⃣ Know the ground rules
Does your employer require a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility? Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi?
Which tech tools might you need, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats, or Trello for project management?
If you work for someone else, it’s important that your employer spells out the ground rules and ensures you have the appropriate equipment, such as a laptop, as well as network access, passcodes, and instructions for remote login, including two-factor authentication.
Be sure to do trial runs and work out any problems that might impede your work.
If you work for yourself, you may need many of the same tools.
2️⃣ Set up a functional work-space
Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s critical to have a private, quiet space for your work.
If you can, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities.
In my experience of working from home for over 3 years, the workplace must:
- There is a separate corner, no one bothered
- As far from your bed as possible because you do not know that you will sleep at any time
- There is a bit of greenery or sunlight
- Restrict pets, because their cuteness can make us forget tiredness and forget deadlines 🙂
You can also tell us about your homework corner, which is also a popular trend on social networks Facebook and Twitter recently.
Some effective home working corners give you more ideas to improve your home working space.
3️⃣ Get the internet speed you need
If you have kids, their FaceTiming and Xbox habits may slow your connection and download speeds.
Moving as close as you can to your Wi-Fi router can help (devices that are distant tend to draw on bandwidth), or you can consider switching to Ethernet.
You’ll likely need a dongle since laptops don’t have Ethernet ports these days plus an Ethernet cable to connect your computer to your router. Wondering if your most-used website is down?
Check isitdownrightnow.com, which monitors key websites and services to see if they’re working.
4️⃣ Use web app or phone apps
If your job involves making long-distance and/or international calls, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Skype all let you call over the Internet across the globe on the cheap, and if you and the person you’re calling are on the same service, the call will be free.
We wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without solid collaboration tools. All Shareblogtips employees spend their days in Gmail, Google Docs, Slack, Stack Overflow for Teams, Trello, and Hangouts, as well as other tools that cater to their specific roles.
These allow us to work together without being in the same room.
As for meetings, we use Google Hangouts and Zoom (for larger meetings).
Rarely will you see people physically in a room for a meeting?
It’s more common to see people in the same office—sometimes even the same desk—all on separate Hangout screens.
5️⃣ Minimize distractions
If you have a barking dog or a jack-hammering worker outside your windows, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones, such as Apple’s AirPod Pros.
And if the kids are home and you’re without childcare (say, during the summer or a natural emergency), see if you and your spouse (or a neighbor in a similar situation) can take turns with care—which may mean you have to talk to your manager about working evening hours.
6️⃣ Plan extra social interactions
Some folks love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, staring at the same project for long hours.
It can get lonely.
Be ready for that, and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time, like a lunch date (even if you take it at 3 PM), a video chat with a friend, or an exercise class.
43% Percentage of Americans in 2016 who worked remotely at least part of the time, up from 39% in 2012.According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report.
7️⃣ Stick to your work schedule
Every person who has spent time working from a home base will have to deal with a lack of understanding from people who think working from home doesn’t really mean working.
The burden lies upon you to set your working hours, stick to them, actually work during those hours, and refuse to let anyone else dissuade you from the idea that you’re truly employed.
Unfortunately, home life has its own distractions that can burn precious daylight and put well-meaning home workers behind on important projects.
In addition to the typical interruptions in the nine-to-five (vendor calls, power outages, accidents, pet or child needs), there are personal boundaries that will continue to be pushed.
Close family members have to understand that you can’t help them move during the workday, or even chat on the phone for an hour.
Setting limits if you have children at home can be especially tough.
On the positive side, letting kids see you work hard at something you love—even at the parts you don’t love—can greatly influence their future career choices and entire attitude toward work.
8️⃣ Beware of workaholic tendencies
Efficiency and flexibility are two of the top ten reasons that people want to work from home, along with shorter hours (what might you accomplish with eight straight hours of keyboard-pounding, uninterrupted by emails or daily staff meetings).
But sometimes flexibility is too much of a good thing.
When your office is always there, waiting, with that deadline looming over your head, it’s pretty hard to just close the door and pretend you’ve left for the day.
Many home-based workers find themselves working more hours, not fewer, logging in work time on nights and weekends, just because it’s there and they can’t ignore it.
It’s true that many work-at-home professionals keep a five-hour day, as opposed to an eight-hour day.
This does not mean, however, that they work less. Hours are often calculated as “billable hours,” meaning that for every hour spent performing a task that they charge for, there are many minutes spent doing non-compensated administrative tasks.
9️⃣ Don’t bet on saving money
Without a daily commute, mandatory lunches and the cost of office-appropriate attire, it may seem that working from home will peel some costs off your budget.
But additional outlays can crop up. The expense to set up an office may include laptops, printers, internet service, cell phones, business cards, web hosting, business services, and software.
Forget about using your existing equipment for your business if you plan on taking the full cost of each as a tax write-off.
Personal and business purchases need to be kept separate in order to comply with tax law.
For starters, you can only deduct for a home office if you are working freelance or as a contractor.
Since the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you can no longer deduct for non-reimbursed work expenses if you are an employee, including any home office deduction. That makes it especially important to try to get extra costs covered by your office.
So, hold on before you try to deduct half your mortgage for “office rent” or the entire cost of your internet.
There are strict limits to what can be claimed as deductions or credits on your return.
You can deduct valid work-related expenses, but only the percentage that is actually used for your work.
So if you pay for an internet service that is also used by your spouse and children, and even yourself for non-work-related matters, you can’t deduct the full cost – only the (estimated) portion that is exclusive to employment-related matters.
The same goes for office supplies, telephone bills, and utilities.
If you’re an independent contractor, you have to pay your own Social Security tax (the self-employment tax) and payroll taxes (an expense that most employers pay half of).
So, generally, a sole proprietor won’t see drastic cuts to his or her tax bill.
The Bottom Line
Working from home can be exciting, empowering and even profitable, provided you are realistic about the pros and cons.
Whether you are a freelancer, a company part-timer, or a full-time employee who just doesn’t hit the office on certain days, it’s a way to escape the daily grind.
But there are added responsibilities that come with freedom, not to mention planning, foresight, self-discipline, and focus. Oh, yes, and hours of uninterrupted hard work.
As many home-based employees will tell you, it’s not easier to work from home – it’s just a different location.