For some, working from home may seem like a double-edged sword. For the 25% of UK businesses that are home based, living and working in the same building means you aren’t interrupted by a noisy office environment. However, it can mean you’re faced with a host of potentially time-consuming distractions.

Here are five ways to maximise productivity in your home office:

1. Firstly, establish set working hours for customers to get in touch with you. Make sure they know to contact you during normal business hours. Engage your clients and suppliers by phoning rather than emailing them. This will help to build rapport and maintain a strong working relationship. Using an effective voicemail system for after-hours support helps you achieve a healthy work–life balance.

2. Factor in time to complete admin tasks like account management, paying utility bills and monitoring business gas prices. Organisation is crucial when working from a home office, as it sometimes feels as though you have to juggle dealing with emails, business development and anything else that comes up, all at the same time. Make a ‘To do’ list and prioritise accordingly; for extra focus, make a ‘Not to do’ list of actions you can put off. Determine if you work best in the mornings or afternoon, and save the challenging tasks for when you’re at your most productive.

3. Combat cabin fever by having a proper lunch break. Step outside and breathe in the fresh air. Offset carbon emissions and reduce your business electricity by going for a walk. Escaping from the office will help battle the mid-afternoon slump and help keep you focused. To boost concentration, take regular screen breaks throughout the day. This will also help your eyes to refocus after staring at the computer screen for a long time.

4. Tailor the working environment to meet your needs. Set optimum heating and lighting levels by managing your business electricity. Creating a comfortable office space will boost productivity and should help prevent you from procrastinating. Keeping your workspace neat and tidy will help you stay professional and stimulated.

5. You need to relax and recharge your batteries on the weekend. If necessary, try to delegate and ask a trusted relative or partner to be ‘on call’ to monitor your business phone line. Having time off gives you perspective, enabling you to think creatively and develop your business.

How do you maximise productivity when working from home? Leave your comments and suggestions below.

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