Top ten tips for working from home

This week is Work Wise Week, an initiative to make Britain one of the world's most progressive economies by encouraging smarter working practices, and this Friday will be National Work from Home Day. Oliver Chivers, head of business marketing at T-Mobile UK, gives his top tips for how to excel when you're not in the office.

1. Start work at the same time every day. Treat days when you work from home like regular workdays: get up, get dressed, and be at your desk at the usual time

2. Structure your day. Having a routine pays dividends. Not only does it help maintain focus, your colleagues and employer will also appreciate knowing where you will be at what time. It also means you can plan your day around the school run if necessary

3. Create a dedicated office space. It is crucial to separate your work area from your living area otherwise it is easy to get distracted

4. Get the right tools for the job. When working from home it is particularly important that the office can communicate with you at all times, not only to maintain productivity levels but to engender trust with other work colleagues. Make sure you have a few ways for people to contact you - such as a mobile, a landline, email and instant messaging - so if one goes down for a while, your colleagues will still have a way to reach you - and vice versa.

5. Limit distractions. Make sure friends, family and partners understand what working from home is about and they are not to disturb you when at work

6. Remember to take regular breaks and stretch your legs. Whether it's making a cup of tea or going for a run at lunch, you need to keep your mind fresh

7. Change locations. Using mobile technology means that if you occasionally need a change of scenery, you can go to a Wifi café for a day, or even work in the garden

8. Health and Safety. As when working in an office, make sure your chair and computer is set up comfortably so you don't strain your neck, wrist or back

9. If you've got an important call to take, make sure you have somewhere quiet you can go where you know you will not be interrupted by noisy neighbours or roadworks

10. Set your own deadlines and keep to them. It can be easy to switch off when you don't have the boss breathing down your neck.

Home working by numbers:
Nearly 3.5 million people already work from home in the UK - that's a huge 12.2 % of the population, and an increase of 600,000 since 1997. The highest proportion of home workers is in the south west with 15.7%, followed by eastern England with 14.4%. The lowest is in the north east with 9.3%, followed by Scotland with 9.4%.

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