When your team works from home it has its advantages and disadvantages. Working in a home office and maintaining work-life balance requires preparation and regular evaluation of work practices. If team members are not careful, their home office can take over their life. By following a few guidelines, your team can avoid burnout as they take advantage of working at home.
Setting Up a Home Office
It is important to set up the home office properly in the beginning. A poor work environment will only harm productivity. So, make sure that your team members are comfortable and have all of the tools that they need to do their job well.
- Location: They should choose a separate room or a location that is out of the way. This will help prevent distractions and create a professional work environment. They also need to make sure that their work area is well lit.
- Equipment: Make sure that their equipment is functional and that they have everything they need.
- Clear out the office: They should remove items from the office that are not work-related. It should not be a storage shed.
- Organize: They must organize supplies so that they are accessible, easy to use, and functional.
- Make it a workspace: They must limit the office use for work. It is not a play area.
It is difficult to establish boundaries in a home office; people do not view a home the same way they see the work office. Because they do not have company policies to prevent distractions, your team members that are working from home will need to create their own boundaries. They can base these boundaries on the rules and boundaries of the physical workplace. For example, do not take personal calls while you are working. Just like other boundaries, they should expect people to challenge them. They must stick to their boundaries, however, to be effective at their job and keep their work-life balance.
Dealing with Distractions
It is easy to become distracted while working from home. There is no one to supervise, and family can easily forget that they are working. Fortunately, a few safeguards will help your team members avoid distractions.
- Limit access: They can ask their family to stay out of the office while they are working. Family, children especially, can be very distracting.
- Use a timer: They can schedule breaks for activities like social networking so that they do not constantly surf the internet.
- Turn off the television: Even if they need a television for work, it does not have to be on all the time. They should turn it off to avoid distractions.
- Set aside time to talk on the phone: They must not allow themselves to be distracted by every phone call.
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Working from home gives team members the chance to create you’re their own schedule, but they do need to create it. If not, they will have trouble accomplishing tasks on time. Most people find a schedule that sets tasks for each hour helpful, but you may use any format or time block they like.
- 8:00 am – Breakfast
- 8:30 am – Return emails
- 9:00 am – Call clients
- 10:00 am – Research
No matter how they create their schedule, they must stick with it. It is too easy ignoring their schedule when no one is monitoring their performance.
For some team members, it can be a great advantage to work from home if they stick to some basic guidelines. This starts with setting up their home office properly to ensure productivity. The team member working from home should set up boundaries and make sure they are sticking to them. They should also set-up some safeguards to minimize distractions. They should be encouraged to make their own schedule to accomplish tasks and to stick to this schedule as much as possible.
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