The remote working revolution has well and truly arrived, with record numbers of the UK workforce now able to enjoy a better worklife balance by working from the comfort of their own homes.
In the UK today, a record 1 in 7 of us works from home, while another 1.8million would love to given the chance. Research from Deloitte shows that worklife balance and flexible working opportunities rank two of the three most important factors for millennials choosing their next job.
Given that more of us than ever before are now working from home, how do we do it successfully? What are the tricks and tips to staying productive when there's nobody looking over your shoulder cracking the whip? In short, how do you make working from home, well, work?
1) Create a designated workspace
Working from bed probably isn't the best for productivity. Hunched over your laptop on the sofa isn't either. If you have the space, create a separate and designated working area. A study, home-office or even just a desk will help you switch into work-mode more easily. Slobbing about the house in uncomfortable, impractical furniture won't. Plus, if you're a freelancer, the costs of your office are tax deductible. For employees there's no harm in asking your employers if they'll help with the costs. These days, companies are fairly open to the idea.
2) Get ready
Shower, shave and get dressed as if you were heading into the office. Psychologically it makes a big difference. It certainly beats rolling out of bed, stumbling to your desk and trying to begin your working day half asleep anyway.
3) Find a routine that works for you
Some people work better early in the mornings, some prefer more sleep and getting down to business a little later. The statistics contradict each other, which is why it's entirely up to you. If you're able to work flexibly, construct your working day as you please - whether that means early mornings, late evenings or a midday break. Find a routine that helps you stay productive and one that you won't find yourself distracted by those home comforts.
3) Write daily targets
Organise yourself by jotting down what you want to achieve for the day. Working your way through each job on your list will keep you on course - not to mention give you the satisfaction of an early finish once everything's done.
4) Keep clear of housework
As tempting as it might be, don't make a habit of emptying the dishwasher, washing clothes and hoovering. You'll waste precious time that could be spent finding your next client or getting that project signed off.
5) Set breaks
Nip out for a coffee, head to the gym, take the dog for a walk or grab a quick bite to eat somewhere other than your house. You get lunch breaks when you're in the office, so why shouldn't you when you work from home? It's important to avoid cabin fever at all costs - otherwise it's a killer for productivity.
6) Listen here
Whether it's the radio, Spotify or even the TV - a bit of background noise keeps you company. Sad but true. After all, most of us are used to the hubbub of office gossip, conversations and noise from the street outside. So if you're still able to focus on the task in hand, a little bit of noise might just spare you from going mad.
Got any tips to working from home? Get sharing...