Being given the opportunity to work from home can feel like all your dreams come true. No boss breathing down your neck, no tiring commute, no need to even get dressed! Grab a coffee whenever you want and reply to emails from the comfort of your bed if you so desire. Surely there’s no down side? Well, aside from the distractions of TV and napping, the possibility of never switching off and blurring your work and personal life, it’s not always a bed of roses and comes with its own problems. Here are some handy hints for coping with a sudden switch to home working:
#1 Dedicated Space
If you can, create a space that’s solely for work. Lying in bed with your laptop might be an amusing novelty at the beginning but you’ll soon realise that it’s not as effective as you’d like it to be. When you enter a dedicated work space, you can get your head in gear and switch into ‘work’ mode. You’ll be more productive and on entering your ‘home’ space, you’ll feel like you’re having the break you need.
#2 Keep The Door Closed
When you’re at home, it’s tempting to leave the door open but this isn’t helpful. To your family it shows that you are available for chatting or whatever family activities are going on and to you it represents that you can leave at any point and go do something else. Set a schedule, stick to it and close the door to avoid the temptations of family distractions.
#3 Say No To Clutter
Keeping your workspace clean and clutter-free is good for the mind and helps you to feel more focused and productive. It’s also a lot easier to find things quickly too!
#4 Don’t Give Up
When you don’t have a boss around and you’re having a tough day, it’s easy to walk away and say that’s enough for one day. Do something work-related anyway, even if it’s not what you intended to do as before you know it, you’ll be shutting up shop early every day and getting nothing done at all. Working from home can make it too easy to go do something else instead so you need to be disciplined.
#5 Be Comfortable
Investing in a good chair is essential if you’ll be spending long periods at a computer. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a comfortable sitting position as back pain and fidgeting is not conducive to productivity. A leather or mesh-backed office chair is a good option and don’t always have to be bought new if you’re on a tight budget.
#6 Take A Break
Being disciplined is great for homeworking but so is making sure you take regular breaks. Working flat out, all day and skipping dinner will only lead to burn out and the quality of your work will suffer. For every hour you work, take a fifteen-minute break. Go for a walk, take the dog out or relax with a coffee and give your brain the chance to recover and refresh. Sometimes our best ideas come to us when we’re out walking or going for a run, so allow yourself to take a break.
Most of us do not drink enough water on a daily basis. Keep a large glass of water on your desk all the time to encourage you to take regular sips. Keeping well hydrated works wonders on our brains and helps feel more energized. This might help you avoid that post-lunch slump when the temptation to have a nap on the couch becomes overwhelming!
#8 Miss That ‘Weekend Feeling’?
Days of the week can begin to have no meaning when you’ve been working from home for some time. The sad part about that is the loss of that Friday evening excitement as it’s all too easy to work through weekends too. Try to keep certain tasks for certain days and schedule your time so you can pack up on a Friday afternoon and enjoy that feeling again. Tie up loose ends on a Friday so you don’t have an ‘unfinished’ feeling that haunts you all weekend and makes you return to the laptop!
#9 Time Tracking
There are handy programs online where you can enter details of work you’ve completed and when you’ve done it etc. At the end of each week you can view a summary which helps you to organise your workload more efficiently and schedule future work in an easy to use way, leaving you free to enjoy some ‘you’ time.
#10 Remember The Perks
When you’re feeling grumpy or negative, try to focus on the benefits of being in control of your own destiny and be thankful you’re not stuck in an airless cubicle somewhere. This should motivate you to work even harder toward your goals and continue enjoying the perks of homeworking.