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Baby bottle and blocks on African American woman's desk

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Cush salaries and corner offices are no longer the only perks to landing the job of your dreams. Quite a few companies have increased flexibility in work schedules by adding work-from-home positions. With this flexibility comes the added expectation of meeting productivity requirements without constant supervision. Here’s how you can stay on point.

Get dressed

Working in a pj’s can be a luxury of working from home. If it affects your ability to get into work mode, you may want to get dressed as you would if you were going into the office. There is a direct association with how you dress and how you feel. If tanks and joggers make you feel too relaxed, trade them for slacks and tunics. The goal is to be professional, motivated, and disciplined. Some work-from-home employees have to take it up a notch and actually designate an office space. Deep-couch working is not for everyone. Know your limitations and do everything you can to maintain your professionalism.

Make a list

Starting your week with a list of goals is the best way to hold yourself accountable for your work output. Setting goals helps you get the most out of your day and propels you forward. Technology has made list making a breeze by providing access to scheduling apps, phone reminders, voice memos, and so much more. Keeping your priorities in check can make or break your career. You’re working away from the office now, which means you won’t always have your boss tapping your shoulder, motivating you to get things done. You’ll most likely have to give weekly reports or check-ins to let your others know how things are progressing. When you can give detailed updates on the status of your projects, you can easily assure your team back at the office that your physical absence is not a hindrance.

Use a timer

Setting goals and making lists won’t guarantee a completed project. Assigning time limits to your tasks will help you minimize distractions and stay on task with deadlines. Using a timer also helps break the repetition in your work. If you have a larger project, you can complete it much faster by breaking it up into smaller parts. If you can quickly knock out a task in 5-10 minutes, do it first, so it won’t slip through the cracks. The worst time to start a task is during the last 20 minutes of your day. This is usually the time we’re focusing on wrapping up, dinner plans, and personal errands. You can also designate a specific time of day for checking emails and returning phone calls. Of course, you’ll have to handle emergencies as they come but you’ll have a better idea of what you can accomplish in a day.

Take a break

Remember to take some time for yourself. When you’re in an office setting, you’re reminded of lunch by smelling microwaveable meals or hearing chitchat as your coworkers line up for the break room. You may even get invited to a group outing. Working from home means it’s all on you. If you live close enough to the office, you may still want to participate in office lunches. In reality, you’ll work through lunch or try to squeeze in some laundry or cleaning during what’s supposed to be your break. Make it a habit to take a 30-minute to 1-hour break each day to regroup. Productivity increases when you’re refreshed. This is especially important if your job requires a lot of time sitting or in front of a computer. To decrease leg cramps and strained eyes, step away for a few minutes every 2 hours and get right back to work. Whether you decide to take a walk or a nap, this time should belong to you.

Working from home creates freedom but shouldn’t be your invitation to start slacking or putting in way too many hours. Your team trusts you to handle business even when they don’t see you. Get ready to set boundaries, have regular check-ins, and exceed expectations!

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers find the career of their dreams by creating the perfect resume, providing interview preparation and career coaching. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com.

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