The number of people working from home has increased by 115% since 2005. Another bonus? Employers who offer at least some part-time telecommuting flexibility collectively save $44 billion each year. At Mad Fish, we have a flexible working environment. Team members are encouraged to take time to work from home when necessary, and when it would be helpful for them. Whether it’s an appointment, a pet, or a deep work project, you are encouraged to ensure your work environment is right for you. It’s rare at Mad Fish not have at least one or two employees working from home throughout the week. This means we’ve been learning what works for us when telecommuting… and how to stay connected. Below are some of our top tips. We hope you’ll find them useful.

Manage your distractions.

Talk about easier said than done. A danger in working from home is that it’s so easy not to work.  This is every employer’s greatest fear, right? (Thankfully, they’re no longer televising Olympic hockey games in the middle of the workday. I’ll have to work something out for the World Cup.)  One winning strategy is simply to accept that you’ll never be 100 percent productive. Then be determined to be as productive as possible in the time you can focus on the work at hand. Remove the distractions (phone, TV, noise in general) that you know will take your attention away from what you have set out to do.

Set a schedule/Establish a routine

Make a well-planned routine for each day you plan to work from home so that you have dedicated time to the work and separate time for any household activities that may be keeping you there. When you are just starting out, you will want to fall prey to distractions. Only concentrated efforts will lead to success when working from home. Be consistent with your business hours to create a sense of stability and professionalism.

Find a comfortable space.

When I work from home, I find a comfortable space that will allow me to work productively for hours at a time.

Have a great soundtrack.

I also listen to music that helps me focus on my work and tune out outdoor neighborhood noises like dogs barking, cars driving down the road, etc.

Screen sharing with coworkers.

Using screen sharing, whether it’s via Slack or Google Hangouts, to help coordinate with coworkers or clients is essential. I use it to work on projects, video chat with teammates, and present work to ensure we are all still on the same page, even if we’re not in the same room.

Dedicated workspaces.

Make sure your workspace, and ideally, the house is clean and free of distractions. When you’re working from home, keeping your desk out of your sleeping area and separate from the rest of your living space makes a huge difference in separating work and life.

Take breaks and use times to stay focused.

Whether it’s kids, pets, or simply life getting in the way, it can be hard to stay focused at home. Using timers to remind yourself to stay focused, as well as using those methods for reminding yourself to take breaks can make a big difference.

Take the unique opportunity to workout mid-work-day.

Being able to work out in the middle of the day can make for a great afternoon pick-me-up. Even if you just have time for a 20-minute walk can help you refocus and get out of your head and screens it can help you refocus for the rest of the day.

Change into your work clothes.

You don’t have to “get dressed,” but changing out of PJs, even into clean comfortable clothing, can help get the day going and help you reset.

Curious about joining the team? Check out our careers page to learn more about what working at Mad Fish is like, and see if you’d be a good fit.