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How to Maximize Productivity in Your Virtual Office

NEW YORK – When Superstorm Sandy shut down public transportation, closed highways, and flooded tunnels it forced thousands of people to work from home. Headlines about working from home became an almost-daily reality as millions were faced with trying to stay productive from their living rooms.

As it turns out, not everyone thinks working from home is super efficient, according to a recent Regus survey. Indeed, almost half of American professionals admit they have difficulty maintaining productivity when working from a home office.

Regus asked business professionals across the United States to identify the five distractions when working from home. Maybe you can relate to some of these issues:

  • 58% cited children and family wanting attention
  • 44% cited children, family and pets disturbing work telephone calls
  • 27% cited difficulties accessing office equipment
  • 25% cited household noises such as bell ringing, washing machine, dishwasher 23%
  • 23% cited the temptation to keep the television on as company

Be that as it may, the virtual office is a reality – and so are mobile technologies that make it easier for people to work from home. The telecommuting trend keeps gaining momentum. So how can home-based workers make the most of the experience? Guillermo Rotman, CEO Regus Americas, offers five tips:

1. Create Parameters: Set rules with family and friends, and let them know when you are not available. Most importantly, ensure they are aware of any scheduled conference calls in order to limit any background noises or interruptions, so clients don’t feel you’re working in an unprofessional environment.

2. Establish a Routine: Working from home can lead to working around the clock. Set blocks of time for work and stick to the schedule. Following a schedule will reduce the chances of burnout. Do not turn on the television during your set working hours, and laundry can wait until after 5 p.m.

3. Keep Lines of Communication Open: Maintaining regular contact with colleagues and managers will ensure status of projects and deadlines are understood by all. This means it will keep you motivated to stay ahead while working from home. Use technology like videoconferencing and instant messaging to remain in constant contact.

4. Utilize Flexible Workspace Options: Making the right impression with clients is very important. There are flexible options to establish a presence outside the home where you can meet with colleagues and clients, print off large documents in color, focus at a desk as opposed to your couch. These spaces are available by the hour or day.

5. Avoid Isolation: Feeling out of touch? Leave your home office, drop in to a collaborative work environment, attend networking events and plan business lunches. These are a great place to connect and network with other professionals.

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About the Author

Jennifer LeClaire

Jennifer LeClaire is a veteran business journalist, editor and new media entrepreneur with a strong niche in real estate and technology. She works from a home office on the beach in South Florida. You can reach her through LinkedIn.

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