How to work from home productively is a question that has taxed even the most successful of us.
Getting down to work at the office is one thing, but what about doing it at home when it feels like there are a million distractions to keep you from the task at hand?
These tips will help you ensure you're at your most productive when you're working from home.
1. Create a suitable work space
A suitable work space can make all the difference when home working. Ideally, you should have a separate office with a desk, but this isn't always possible.
If you don't have a room you can turn into your office, then aim for a desk in the room where you're least likely to be disturbed by someone else.
If you don't have a desk, then you're probably going to have to make do with a kitchen table until you can get something more suitable sorted.
You should also ensure your chosen work space has a good Wi-Fi connection, and allows you to easily plug your laptop in when it needs to charge.
Speaking of laptops…
2. Ensure you have the equipment you need to do your work
At the very least this is going to mean a laptop and an internet connection.
But it also includes any software or apps you need to work, along with login details if required.
In an ideal world, this should be planned in advance but if that's not possible make sure you know who to contact to get access to vital software and apps.
It's also a good idea to have a backup plan when it comes to your internet connection - if you can use your smartphone as a wireless hotspot then you'll be able to connect your laptop to the internet even if your main connection is down.
3. Ensure other members of your household understand what's going on
Interruptions from other members of your household can be extremely frustrating when you're working from home, and they can lead to conflict.
So it pays to do everything you can to minimize disruption.
Sharing your calendar ahead of time so people know when you're going to be in a meeting and don't want to be disturbed is a good idea, especially if you're pushed for space.
If you've got room for your own office, you may want to make a "do not disturb" sign for the door to help ensure you get privacy when you need it.
If other people are working from home at the same time as you, then things can get more complicated and you may need to compromise.
It's also a good idea to explain to people you're working with what's going on, and let them know if, for whatever reason, your current home working situation isn't ideal - people will understand if you're facing disruptive, or unusual circumstances.
4. Take regular breaks
So far we've looked at things that can stop you working, but sometimes working too much can be an issue for home workers.
Without other people to keep you in a routine, you can find yourself working longer hours without a break. This in itself can damage your productivity.
Take regular, short breaks, and a longer break for lunch.
5. Finish work and switch off
Another risk of homeworking is that sometimes you can get into a position where work only seems to end when you fall asleep.
Again, this can damage your productivity. Everyone works late sometimes, but if you're working late all the time then the chances are something is going wrong somewhere.
Finish work as close to your normal finish time is possible, then turn off your laptop.
If you work in a home office, leave the office and shut the door. If you don't have a dedicated office, tidy up your workspace and put your laptop away.
Switching off from work will help you relax, ready for the next day.
6. Stay in touch with colleagues and clients
Working from home can make you feel out of the loop, so take steps to ensure that you're regularly in touch with everyone you need to be in touch with.
Email can help with this, but it's not ideal. Instant messaging apps can help if you're only looking to keep in touch with a couple of people in your team, but if you're part of a larger team then you may want to use something like Slack.
Video conferencing software such as Zoom let you carry out face to face meetings without having to be in the same room as the people you need to talk to.
If you need to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets with people, then you should consider using a service like Microsoft Office 365 from GoDaddy as well.
7. Explore new ways to stay productive
Settling into a rut is a particular hazard of homeworking, so trying new things to keep yourself productive is a good idea.
This guide explores the topic of how to be more productive and has seven easy tips to implement.
It's possible to work extremely efficiently from home, just as it's possible to work extremely inefficiently from an office.
Do everything you can to make sure your home working environment is a pleasant, interruption-free space, but don't fret if circumstances mean you're not able to concentrate fully on your work during certain periods of the day.
And don't forget to switch off from home working when you need to. You've earned it.