If you’re about to start telecommuting, either on a part-time or full-time basis, you’re probably looking forward to getting out of the office and increasing your productivity levels.

After all, think about all the time you’ll save by skipping the daily commute and getting right to work in the morning. Imagine being able to focus on the tasks at hand without dealing with every little distraction that pops up in a busy office environment.

Of course, you also have to be wary of potential downsides. Sometimes, being productive at home is easier said than done. You might find it difficult to ignore distractions around the house, such as chores that need doing or whatever happens to be on television. If you are a parent of young children who will be home when you are, this adds a whole new dimension to your work day that can make it hard to focus.

It’s important to get the most out of your telecommuting experience. Here are some basic tips for maximizing your productivity:

  • Maintain a strict routine. It might be tempting to roll out of bed and log in to your work network to get some tasks done as soon as possible. But it’s easy to let this dedication slide without some structure. Go through the same morning routine that you would when commuting to work so you can adjust to the workday in a manner that you are familiar with. Also be sure to set the same end time every day so you aren’t working into the evening.
  • Create a comfortable office space. You have a lot more freedom to decorate your home office than your cubicle, so take advantage of it! Get a comfortable, ergonomic chair, and set up a desk space that lets you easily keep track of all tasks. You’ll probably spend a lot of time using chat programs on your computer, so a second monitor might also be a worthwhile investment.
  • Shut the world out when necessary. According to Inc.com, John Meyer, CEO of Arise Virtual Solutions uses colored construction paper to create a “stoplight” that signals to his family when he is available. Green means that it is safe to enter, yellow means knock first and red means come back later. Simple, easy-to-understand systems are a crucial component of any work routine.
  • Communicate your progress. It’s crucial that you communicate your progress against your objectives on a weekly basis, or whatever frequency your manager requests. If you’re still new to working remotely, your communication will help affirm that you are able to meet your deadlines and objectives.