How To Work From Home
Everyone would love to work from home. You don’t have the daily dread of staggering zombie-like into the office, you can finish when you want, and you won’t waste time sitting in traffic or on public transport. But it’s not all a working holiday, and there are still challenges that you can and will face when working from the comfort of your living room. To help you get over the hump, here are out 10 tips for working from home to help you become a better, more productive employee.
1. Get Comfortable
Comfort in your workspace is a massive factor in how effectively you work. If you’ve ever experienced the office environment, you’ll remember how there was always something wrong with the office that prevented you from being comfortable. It could have been the furniture, a cramped desk, or the temperature. Unfortunately, you had no control over it.
But when working from home, you have are the master of your domain. You have the power to change whatever you please. If your desk is too high or low, then adjust it, if your office chair doesn’t offer adequate back support, then purchase a new one, and if it is too hot or too cold, then just play around with the thermostat (to the disdain of dial-controlling new dads across the country).
Comfort will help prevent you getting distracted, and help you work throughout the day without ending it with aches and pains all over your body that will make you dread every day.
2. Find Your Motivation and Keep It
Without managers breathing down your neck, it can be hard to keep yourself motivated throughout the day and this is especially true of working from home. Your house is filled with distractions that you’d much rather be doing than this report or that code or a recently commissioned, highly inappropriate portrait of a half-naked client standing atop a mountain, basking in the sun’s light.
But you’ll need the motivation to keep up with your workload and just because you don’t have to report to somebody every day doesn’t mean you don’t have to complete your work on time. So how do you find that motivation?
Well, treat it like any other office job, understand that if you don’t finish, you don’t get paid. It might take a while to craft a habit of solid and motivated work, but once you do, you’ll be thankful.
3. Take Breaks When You Need To
Keeping motivated doesn’t mean you have to work yourself into the ground all day, every day, though. You are still entitled to breaks that take you away from your computer and give you a chance to recharge.
Unlike a traditional working environment, these breaks can be whenever you need them to be. If you’ve been working from 7 AM all the way up until 1 PM, you deserve to reward yourself with a nice long break. Feel free to get out of the house, go for a run or bike ride to refresh and return with renewed vigor to get the rest of your work completed.
The beauty of working from home is that no one is going to realize you are gone for just a little bit longer than usual, so make the most of that if you need to, but make sure the work is completed.
4. Have a Dedicated Work Space
Having a dedicated workspace is essential to help you feel like what you are doing is still a job. This will give you somewhere that will put you in a working mindset and allow you to keep everything you need close by to be within reach.
Investing in an office desk should be your first priority as it will make you feel more like you are actually working. Following this, bringing all work-associated items such as a notepad, pens, a Rolodex (if you’re still clinging to the 80s like Patrick Bateman) and anything else you need. This will prevent you pausing work to search for things during working hours, which can often take longer than anticipated.
This dedicated space is also great for you mentally. By working somewhere other than the lounge or in your bedroom, you will associate these places as spaces of rest and relaxation, which can help you unwind after a day of work.
5. Get Everything You Need
This means any accessories you will need for work, as well as other amenities such as a reliable internet connection. If you work online and frequently take part in video calls with the rest of the team, a steady wifi connection is a must. It will also allow you to work throughout the day without interruptions, and there are few things more frustrating than trying to do your work when the connection keeps dropping.
If you live in a noisy house, then purchasing noise-canceling headphones will help keep you deaf to any distractions, comings and goings and random clattering of pots and pans throughout the day. Just make sure you ask them to inform you if there is a fire. Wireless headphones are also useful for moving from computer to elsewhere in your workspace without having to take them off or pause the music.
6. Create a Routine and Stick to It
Some of those who don’t work from home have this idea that those that do wake up when they want, have a leisurely breakfast and sit in bed all day, but this is far from the truth. Okay, it is a little distance away from the truth, but they still have a routine.
Creating a routine will help you stay organized throughout the week and keep you on top of what needs to be done. Being able to visualize what projects are due, how long you have to complete them, and what needs to be done will help you get on with the work and, over time, you will develop a routine that will feel weird if you deviate from it.
It is sticking to the routine that is the hard part. Staying disciplined and keeping with your process will make developing the plan into a routine much easier.
7. Put Yourself in a Productive Mindset
Your home is the place where you relax. You cook there, you clean there, you sleep there, so it can be difficult to feel productive a space that you associate more with rest than work. However, it is easy to put yourself in a productive mindset if you know how.
Every morning, you need to do things that promote productivity. This can be as simple as making the bed, having a shower, washing the dishes after breakfast or going for a quick walk or run around the neighborhood can put you in a productive frame of mind to truly attack the day.
Furthermore, you can look to invest in things that have been proven to aid in productivity. This can include a standing desk, simple plants or diffusers, and even desk toys that can help fight off distractions and keep your mind focused.
8. Enjoy Your Flexibility and Freedom
Working from home isn’t like a typical job, so you may as well make the most of it. You don’t have to commute, you don’t need to deal with the sterile tenth-circle-of-hell that is the break room, and you aren’t sitting there watching the clock tick-tock towards the end of the day.
So make the most of it! Working from home means you never have to feel like you are rushing, and if you need to run out to do the groceries, go to the gym, or attend a doctor’s appointment, then go for it. As long as your work is completed when it needs to be, you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home.
It also means you can get a headstart on next week’s projects over the weekend. No one likes to work at the weekend, but if you find yourself at a loss for things to do one Saturday or Sunday evening, then try planning for the week ahead, and if you want a cold drink on the side to make it sweeter, no one is going to judge. This will put you on the front foot for the rest of the week, and you never know, you might even finish everything with weekdays to spare.
9. Don’t Succumb to the Perils of Isolation
As enjoyable and liberating as working from home can be, there are also times where you might get hit with loneliness. People love to complain and joke about their coworkers, but this human interaction is part of what keeps you sane during the week. You do not get this when working from home.
And while this might seem like The Best Thing Ever™, being all on your lonesome 5 days out of the week can get draining. Your mind needs some stimulation to continue performing, and if you have no one to talk to, there is the chance that you’ll go a little stir crazy. Even if you live with your partner or roommates, if they are at work for the day, you’ll soon find yourself scratching at the door when you hear their car pull up the road like an attention-starved puppy.
To combat this, ensure that you take some time during the week to get out, smell the fresh air and talk to someone. This can be something as quick and simple as having a chat with the postal worker, or heading to your favorite cafe and striking up a conversation with someone who might be looking to do the same thing that you are.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Switch It Up
And that leads us right into our final point. As much as we’ve talked about motivation, routine, being comfortable or the perfect workspace, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to this 100% of the time.
It is good for you to switch it up every once in a while. This will help prevent that dreaded workplace fatigue that you fought so hard to escape at previous jobs. Instead of facing the same monotonous wall every day (despite your best efforts to decorate and redecorate), try taking your work out of the house.
You can visit your favorite diner, that cool new coffee house in the city, or maybe the library to help you feel entirely focused to achieve the serenity you need to stay sane at work. Not only will you be somewhere new and refreshing, but you’ll also have made the effort to get out of the house as well, and that is good for you and your work.
Why and How People Work From Home
There are many different reasons why people work from home. It might be that their job simply does not need them to and so they can merely log onto the company portal and get their work done just as effective as if they were in the office.
Other people work from home due to running their own business and have no office to go to such as graphic designers or freelance writers. Some, such as new mothers who still want to work as they raise the baby, will work from home at the permission of their manager and eventually return to the office. You might even work for a company that allows you to work from home a couple of days a week. Some businesses even encourage it.
If you would like to change your life and work from home, consider investigating some of these jobs that will make your dreams a reality.
- Freelance Writer
- Data Entry
- Editing and Proofreading
- Handmade crafter
- Online Teacher
- Social Media Manager
- Website tester
And many more, check out this list for a better idea of work from home opportunities.
An Office Away from The Office
Working from home is still the dream of many yet the reality of the few. If and when you do get the opportunity to throw your bus pass in the trash, burn your shirt and tie in the barbeque, and completely forget how to do your fake laugh for Bob’s borderline sexist jokes, just remember that it isn’t all sitting around in your pajamas, you have to actually do some work too. Hopefully, this list will keep you on track when you feel yourself start to derail.