Top 10 working from home distractions
Working from home can be beneficial, but only if you ignore the many distractions.
It's National Work from Home day. Are you concentrating on the report you are writing? Or are you daydreaming of what you will have for lunch? In this feature we point out the top 10 distractions to watch out for on your day out of the office and how best to avoid them.
Getting up late
The first distraction to hit you when working from home is that warm, comfy bed you drag yourself out of everyday. Don't use working from home as a reason to stay in bed late. The top tactic to getting a productive start to the day is to get up and get ready as normal, as if you were going to work. This ensures you are wide awake and ready to work when the clock ticks over to 9am.
Structure you breaks
One distraction at home is the availability of plenty of cups of tea, extended lunch breaks and a fridge full of munchies. Try and make sure you structure your breaks like you were in the office. Rather than continually stop starting with your work you know when that break is coming and can focus on relaxing for that time.
Many enjoy being able to put music on loud (well, louder than earphones anyway) when working from home. This gives music to work by without the visual distraction of the TV. It is really distracting from your work and you will make silly mistakes you may not make if you were in the office environment. Enjoy your tunes or the radio but avoid flickering pictures in the corner of your eye, however tempting Diagnosis Murder may be
We all have to fight the urge at work but don't slip into bad habits at home. We all need to use the internet on a day to day basis but try and resist looking up that next holiday or the latest TV series box set on eBay. Save this for your breaks or when your work is done.
In line with the last point, this is perhaps the most dangerous distraction for any office worker. At work, people are much better at controlling themselves but just because no-one is watching doesn't make it OK. Use your Facebook and Twitter by all means, it has even been credited with sharpening concentration, but again try and limit this to break times perhaps even use it as a reward once you have completed a task.
Other people around has got to be one of the biggest distractions when working from home. Family commitments always make you want to leave work behind and flatmates sitting watching This Morning will undoubtedly look more appealing than what you are doing. Try to block this out. Point out to family and friends at the start of the day that you are home to work and ask them politely to leave you be. At least you will be home in time for dinner.
The temptation when in the home is to get stuff done. Washing, cleaning, sorting through that junk mail. Tasks you resent at the weekend and want to get out of the way now. Remember, you are working. Treat the space like your office. How would your boss feel if you started pairing up your socks at work? It will wait until after you have finished for the day so try and leave it until then.
Back in February, most of us ended up working from home when almost unheard of snow levels hit the suburbs and the city of London. How many of you ended up in the garden making snowmen or throwing snowballs at the next door neighbour though?
With summer approaching the same temptation is there to laze in the garden and spend your day maximising your tan. You could always work outside as long as your Wi-Fi stretches. Don't long for the sunshine and get distracted from work, sit in your garden and enjoy the warmth but keep to the task at hand. Remember the pub garden will still be there at 5pm when you knock off.
At work you tend to behave yourself, right? The mobile is on silent, you take calls outside and you only text back when you have to without distracting anyone else. Do this at home. Your friends asking you what you are up to tonight or your kids wanting to know what's for dinner can wait until you take a break or finish work. If you phone is constantly going off it will again make you keep stop starting with your work and you'll either make mistakes or not get it finished in time.
It is always good to put in the extra hours to get your work done but when you are at home the key is learning to separate home life and work life. If you have managed to get away from the distractions listed here reward yourself by finishing work when you should. The temptation is just to stay working but you will be much more productive if you close up shop for the day and go back to your work fresh in the morning. Don't knock off early, just take the advantage that at the end of the working day you are already in the comfort of your home without a commute.
Don't let these distractions put you off though. Working from home can be beneficial to both employer and employee.
Andrew Brown, sales manager of of email archiving specialist C2C, is all for working from home. "Working from home often raises eyebrows in some corporates. In fact, it shouldn't. Sure there are distractions provided in the home environment; but these are outweighed by the benefits," he told IT PRO.
He added: "Putting the petrol guzzling, stressful and long commute into the office aside, there are actually less distractions at home to enable employees to work smarter. Employees tend to be less involved in office gossip; take shorter breaks for lunch and coffees and are not drawn into meetings for the sake of meetings.
"In my experience working from home means you work smarter - setting achievable targets for the day and delivering on them."
You do need to show how productive you can be out of the office though so good luck resisting the distractions and make the most of National Work from Home day.
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