There’s a lot to be said for working from home: no daily commute, no office politics, no one watching the clock and asking whether you’re “on track” to complete a task. I’ve worked from home for the past 10 years, and I’ve got it down to a fine art. That’s not to say it’s easy!
On the contrary, working from home has its pitfalls, and it’s important to put strategies in place to ensure you spend your day working effectively, efficiently, and without eating all the biscuits. Here’s what works for me:
Have a set workspace
Even when you’re working from home, you still need to “clock on” and “clock off”. Set aside a “home office” space – this could be a designated study, or even a nook in your bedroom or corner of the loungeroom. Regardless of where it is, set it up as a functioning home office, with a desk, computer, a good chair, and proper storage.
It’s important to plan your day when you’re working from home. Prioritise your tasks and create a work schedule. Be aware of when your working day begins and ends, and stick to that!
Avoid home distractions
Yes, you’re at home, but that doesn’t mean you should be hanging out the washing, cooking the evening meal and cleaning up the breakfast things. When you’re in “work” mode, the housework has to wait.
Switch off at home time
When you work from home, it’s easy to always be “on duty”. The main reason most people say they want an office job is because they want to be able to switch off at home time – literally and metaphorically. It’s very easy to keep working when you’re at home – grabbing five minutes to catch up on emails between cooking dinner and picking the kids up from football – but it’s not a good habit to get into. Clock off at 5!
Get out of the house
Don’t just roll from your bed to your desk in your pyjamas and ugg boots. Behave as though you’re headed to an office job, and be sure to incorporate the necessary fresh-air breaks into your schedule. Take a few minutes every couple of hours to step outside, and take a proper, relaxing lunchbreak – somewhere away from your office space.
Working from home is a lonely old business, which is why it’s important to maintain communication with other adults. Arrange catch-ups and face-to-face meetings with clients and colleagues where possible, and if you can’t speak in person, use Skype video calls or FaceTime; anything to remain connected!