As the war for talent rages on, many employers are offering remote working arrangements to attract and retain workers. Among them are several of the 2020 Best Places to Work in Indiana (view press release listing the 125 honorees in alphabetical order; attend April 30 awards dinner to hear rankings).

The “work-from-home experience” varies from person to person in terms of hours, projects and oversight. The flexibility presents numerous advantages … when the proper approach is taken.

Angela Civitella, a business leadership coach and founder of Intinde, shares tips for staying motivated and productive:

  • Start early: If you had an office job, you wouldn’t have time to laze around in bed or watch TV until 10am – so why do that now? How you kickstart your morning will set the tone for the rest of your day. Make it a habit to wake up early. Your body adjusts to whatever internal clock you give it. Get into a routine that motivates you, be it a shower, getting dressed in work clothes and some coffee or even a quick workout.
  • Maintain the same office rituals: Being productive is a mindset. Imagine you are working in an office and establish the same rituals and process.

        – Set your daily and weekly schedule – and stick to it

       – List your tasks and put them into your schedule – doing the important ones first

       – Set your work hours with a start time and an end time

      – Don’t forget to take breaks and eat

  • Create a proper workspace: Designate a space in your home for work and only work. Find a space where you will not be interrupted or disrupted by anyone or anything. Make it an inspiring space that helps you focus. You need to have a dedicated workspace to put your mind into complete working mode. It should also be a space you can leave at the end of the day and transition to your home life comfortably so you can leave work at work.
  • Schedule regular breaks and take them: Would you work for a boss who forces you to work 12 hours a day without a proper break or lunch? So then why would you be that boss to yourself? Set a time for lunch every day and stick to it. Without an office buddy to remind you to grab a bite or come by and share the latest gossip, you may find yourself working round the clock. Get up every few hours and go for a walk, do breathing exercises, and stretch. When you feel overwhelmed, walk away from your workspace and practice mindfulness for 10 minutes to re-center yourself. Find quick and easy methods to help you gain a refreshed perspective and reenergize yourself without the external motivations that come with an office job.
  • Determine your most productive day and time: Is Tuesday your most productive day, or maybe hump day? Are you at your best in the morning? Does your brain turn on in the afternoon? Figure out your peak times for optimal productivity and schedule your most important tasks within those blocks of time. Assign mundane tasks for low periods that don’t take as much effort.
  • Take a break from emails: Emails are a focus killer and the train wreck of the century. Limit how often you check your emails in order to avoid getting sidetracked. Never start your day jumping into emails because you will find yourself spiraling into an endless exchange at what should be your most productive time of the day. Don’t be reactive – be proactive. Set a few times in the day when you check your email rather than replying to emails every time they come in.
  • Turn a distraction into a focus driver: Some people find music to be a distraction. I can’t imagine doing work without it or the TV murmuring in the background. Silence is more of a distraction for me. But everyone is different. What can you turn into a focus driver that keeps you energized and motivated? Whatever it is, use it to your advantage.
  • Leave chores at home: Don’t let chores get in the way and take you down the road of procrastination. It’s easy to wake up in the morning and see a load of laundry that you are sure needs to be done first. Next thing you know you are stuck in home mode and still in your pjs. Get ready for work with your set schedule and start the day off focused on your business. During your scheduled break times, jump out of the workspace and take on a chore or two, or maybe run out for an errand just as you would do if you were at an office. Variety will keep you motivated and let’s be honest: this is one of the perks of working from home. Just don’t let it become a trap.
Symone Skrzycki is the senior communications manager for the Indiana Chamber. She is also a senior writer for the Chamber’s award-winning BizVoice magazine and has been with the organization for 19 years.