Opinions expressed by entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The perks of working from home outweigh the cons for most people. You get to choose where and when you work and have more control over your schedule, not to mention you can dress how you want to — a business shirt on top and sweatpants on the bottom? Sure! Why not. Zoom doesn’t have to know, but we’ve all done it.
However, as someone who has worked from home for over 12 years, I can tell you there are downsides to working from home. When you’re working remotely, distractions can be hard to ignore, and no set schedule can be your downfall. Simple things can distract you from work, from pets to friends and family, but so can poor work-from-home habits.
If your productivity has ever taken a hit when you’re working from home, it’s time to take control of your time. Below are the three biggest culprits likely to distract you and affect your productivity. If you can stop doing these things, you can get much more done and save your sanity.
Related: 4 Hidden Dangers of Working Remotely
Top 3 mistakes people make when working from home
1. Checking email or slack outside of normal business hours
Working from home often means that you need to set your own working hours. No one will come to your house and tell you to stop working. Even when you set working hours, you still need to control your time and schedule.
This can often mean that you work at all hours of the day, especially when checking your email, Slack, or other communication channels outside of regular business hours. You think that you’ll just quickly see if anyone needs anything, then you get drawn into doing something that probably could have waited until the next day.
No one can always be productive, and it’s essential to try and separate your home life from your work.
Instead of working at all hours of the day or not having any structure, you need to be honest about when you’re willing and able to work. This might be partly dictated by the hours you’re required to work or when other people are available. You probably need to be somewhat available during regular business hours to communicate with others, but you don’t need to be switched on at all times.
2. Not getting dressed before starting work
One of the perks of working from home is that you can dress how you want. You don’t have to be ready to go into the office, although you might choose to wear something better if you know you have a video meeting coming up.
However, working in casual clothes or pajamas can make you less productive. When you’re not dressed to leave the house, let alone go to work, it can lower your self-esteem and even make you feel like you’re not working. You can find that you lack confidence and don’t feel very professional, so you don’t do your best work.
Getting dressed as if you’re going to leave the house, even if you’re not, can help to put you into work mode. It gives you the confidence to face the day and feel like you’re really working rather than just hanging out at home. If you struggle to motivate yourself to dress for work when you’re not planning on going anywhere, consider creating a “commute” for yourself. Plan to take a walk in the morning, go and get a coffee or run a morning errand. This will encourage you to get dressed, if not for the office, at least for going outside.
Related: Why You Still Have to Dress for Success
3. Working in every room in your home
Separating work and your home life can be pretty challenging when both exist in the same place.
Your environment can affect your mood and ability to pay attention, and you can easily get distracted when working from home. It’s great to put some laundry on when you have a spare few minutes, but you don’t want to be distracted by your cat or the TV.
A dedicated workspace in your home will help you keep your personal life separate from your work and prevent distractions. If you have a spare room that you can use, it’s ideal. However, if you don’t have a room you can use as a home office, you can still create a workspace with minimal distractions. You could set up your desk in a quiet corner of your home, wherever you might have the space and can remove as many distractions as possible.
Being productive when working from home doesn’t need to be complicated. If you stop making these big remote working mistakes, you can boost your productivity, get more work done and manage your time more efficiently. It will not only help you to improve your working day but will also make your home life better too.
Related: How to Keep Work and Home Life Separate as You Work Remotely