Managing Distractions While Working From Home

By: Lauren Mineau

Working at home offers numerous benefits, but home can be a place of many distractions. While it saves time on commuting, getting ready for the day and eliminates in-office problems, remote work presents a new set of distractions. However, there are ways to stay focused and perhaps be more efficient than in a cubicle.

According to a survey by Porch.com, respondents generally felt that having the option to work from home is a benefit that makes them feel valued, less stressed and more productive. The results also shed some light on the distractions people face when working from home.

Some 76.1 percent of respondents admitted to watching television while working from home, but only 16.9 percent say they do that all the time. The results illustrate that most people have done it here and there, but it is hard to determine how distracting it could be compared to, for example, a loud conversation among colleagues while in the office.

Right on Target

Scheduling often leads to productivity. Try setting consistent working hours while remote to keep peak focus and efficiency. Take breaks as frequently as one does while in the office; use them to get away from a computer screen and come back with fresh eyes. Working from home means less supervision and less distractions from priority tasks due to a colleague stopping by or striking up a conversation. Keeping individual focus is crucial to maximizing time and efficiency.

Limit Technology

While at home, there is little chance of a supervisor catching an employee online shopping or surfing social media. The temptation is real when distractions are everywhere, but giving in can slow down work progress. Make workplace distractions off limits until lunchtime or after work is completed. The same goes for turning on the television. As mentioned above, many admit to doing so, but making it a regular habit can be a major distraction.

Making Space

Another challenge when working from home is where to set up a workstation. The ideal place for productivity is unlikely to be the place people go to rest or relax, like the couch or bed. A desk in a room that is strictly for working or getting tasks done is optimal. However, if that is not possible, the kitchen table or a similar setting might work. A dedicated working spot at home cues the mind into focusing on work, the same way your mind knows to fall asleep when lying down to sleep.

Many companies are introducing remote work policies to attract and keep the best employees. It may be an adjustment, but one might find that it is a nice break from the daily grind of the office.

Related Links

Setting a Schedule While Telecommuting

Quick Tips for Improved Productivity