With the uptick in globalization, longer commutes, and pandemic illness, working from home is becoming a more popular option for small businesses. Learn how to work from home effectively and efficiently. Use these working from home tips and tools to help you supercharge your productivity.
With the rise in tools that bring work and communication online, many people can effectively work from home, a co-working space, or anywhere with a strong Wi-Fi signal.
While working from home will grant you some freedoms, there are also some new challenges to maneuver through. It takes discipline, determination, and a little bit of imagination to effectively work from home.
Implementing some basics can help you succeed in remote work settings.
1. Take Advantage of Cloud-Based Tools
Online tools and apps can support working remotely. You and your team can take advantage of these powerful tools.
- QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based accounting software allows multiple people to access and work on an account from a variety of devices.
- Boomerang will let you schedule emails to send at a later time. This can be helpful if you’re in a different time zone than the people you email or if you like working late into the night and don’t want clients or coworkers to see that you send emails at 2 a.m.
- Dropbox and Google Docs work great for organizing and sharing files virtually and also simplify document backups, helping you to avoid loss of important contacts, photos, and files.
- Slack, Skype, or Teams are essential for staying connected to your team. Be sure to schedule some remote face-to-face time with your team using the video chat options. These tools also allow you to share your screen so that you can present that beautiful presentation you’ve been working on.
2. Create a Community
Working remotely can feel isolating, but it is important to create a space that feels like a community. Here are some ways to help you create an in-office environment from home:
- Schedule daily check-ins with your team. It is important the you and your team get some quality face-to-face time while you work remotely.
- Create a WFH chat in your messaging tool of choice. Use this chat room to discuss non-work related things, share images of your home office set-up, or that really cute thing your cat just did.
- Host online-only events. If you’ve had to cancel any in-person events due to pandemic concerns, host webinars or organize live events on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
3. Manage Meetings Effectively
Having meetings remotely can be a bit of a challenge when there are a lot of people involved. Here are some tips that can help you to run meetings from home more efficiently:
- Set an agenda and be sure to send it out to all attendees before the meeting is scheduled to take place.
- Once the meetings starts, organize the order of speakers. Speakers should also introduce themselves to ensure everyone in the meeting knows who is talking.
- If you’re able to conduct your meeting via video, ask participants to raise their hands if they have something to add. This will help avoid attendees talking over each other.
- When you’re not speaking be sure to mute your microphone.
4. Set Specific Hours
Designating certain hours of your day as work time can help you mentally get into work mode. Try to reserve those blocks of time strictly for working and not going for a walk, playing with the kids, or re-organizing your bedroom closet.
When you decide on a start time, try to stick to it. Designating 8 a.m. as the start of your workday, for example, can help you avoid morning procrastination, such as hitting the snooze button too many times. A clear end time, such as 5 p.m., provides a deadline for wrapping up work. It also helps to separate your work and private life responsibilities.
5. Create a Productive Environment
Setting specific hours is just the start – you need to maximize the time you block out for work. You have the ultimate flexibility on your workspace when you work remotely from home, and this means you can customize your space to your preferences.
For example, you can work from a standing desk, treadmill desk, or yoga ball chair, depending on which one makes you feel the most comfortable and productive.
Brainstorming what you may need in you ideal environment, from office supplies to healthy snacks, helps you plan and create a space conducive to creativity, wellness, and productivity.
Here are some quick tips for being as productive as possible in your work from home set-up:
- Create a to-do list first thing in the morning that. lists all of your tasks for the day which will help you stay on track.
- Be sure to prioritize the tasks according to urgency, importance, and your natural efficiency levels.
- Use an automated time tracker to keep on top of your productivity levels throughout the day.
- Stay organized – have everything you need for your productive workday, like notebooks, the oh-so important coffee mug, power cords, and more.
6. Stay Energized
It is important to stay energized throughout your workday at home. Remember to schedule breaks that give you the opportunity to stretch your legs. Go outside for a walk, spend time with children or pets, and have fun with homemade lunches.
Make sure not to schedule yourself in back-to-back meetings. Carve out time in your day for some quick coffee or tea breaks.
7. Keep Records of Home Office Deductions
Working from home means that certain things become tax deductible. According tot he CRA in order to deduct home expenses on your taxes your home-office must be where you conduct your work for more than 50% of the time.
Keep track of your receipts with a receipt scanner. Simply takes a photo of your business-related expenses and it will uploaded to a cloud-based storage system.
Common House-Office Expenses:
- Supplies – notebooks, pens
- Technology – laptop, keyboards, monitors, smart phone
- Mileage – remember to only track the miles you’re using for business related trips
- Workspace – home insurance, property tax, rent, heat, and electricity
When calculating your workspace, measure the square footage of your workspace and divide it by the total square footage of your home. Multiply it by 100 and the final number will percentage of your home costs you can claim on your taxes.
Working remotely requires more focus and tools to help you get work done fast and well. The QuickBooks app helps small businesses owners, freelancers, and sole proprietors track and manage their small business on the go. Download the app to improve the way you work from home.