It is clear many of us going to be working from home right now. Although this will be perfectly normal to many freelancers, for the vast majority of us who are used to working 9-to-5 in an office every day this will require some adjustment.
Although there is still a bit of a stigma when it comes to “home offices”, some of the most successful business people are now working from home. But if you’re only used to relaxing in your home space then getting into a work frame of mind in this environment isn’t going to be easy.
Many people might fantasise about the idea of working from home, avoiding the rush hour commute to work and not having to be stuck at the same desk all day. But with so many potential distractions, not to mention the loneliness that comes with isolation, it can be hard to stay focused.
If you have been forced to work from home for the first time, these are some of the top tips to help you create the ideal work-from-home situation that works for you . . .
Create a Designated Workspace
If you’re curled up on the sofa with your laptop in front on the TV, you’re not going to get much work done. One of the tricks to effectively working from home is to pretend you’re still working at an office.
To do this you need to create a dedicated spot at your home that you associate with your job – this will help you make the mental distinction between your home space and workspace. If you have your own home office this will be a lot easier to do, but if you don’t have this option then you need to find an area that you can work at without any distractions.
Once you have a designated workspace, make sure you only use this place for work and leave it when you want to take some downtime. This will help you to stay in a “work mode” mind-set when you put yourself in this space.
Get Ready For Work
It might be tempting to just roll out of bed late, turn on the laptop and sit around all day in your pyjamas. Don’t do this.
Just like going into an office it is important to properly prepare yourself for the day. Maintain your usual morning routine of setting your alarm, getting dressed, making breakfast, reading the newspaper or whatever else it is you need to do to get ready for the working day.
Keeping this morning ritual will help you settle into the mind-set of starting work as you normally would by going into an office, and make you much more productive.
Set a Work Schedule
One of the biggest issues with working from home is the lack of an enforced work structure.
Working from home means you are now your own personal manager. You’ll need to plan your own daily work schedule. Set your own start time, break-times, lunch-time and what time you’ll finish for the day. And make sure you stick to this.
This might all seem a bit pedantic, but doing this is one of the best ways to keep on track of your workload. More importantly, it also sends the message to family and friends that you have a concrete working schedule and can’t be bothered with minor distractions during this time.
Go for Walk
Being stuck at home 24/7 could soon turn you into Jack Torrance in The Shinning if you don’t get out and about. Take breaks as you would working in an office and, ideally, this should involve getting some fresh air. Go for a walk around the block or to the local park. Wherever you go, it is necessary to leave your home environment and get outdoors.
It might be tempting to work straight through your day and skip this, but leaving your home for a brief period of time not only allows you to stretch your legs but gives you a welcome change of scenery. This means you’ll be much more productive when you return to your work.
Stay Connected with Colleagues
Working from home can feel quite lonely, especially if you’re not used to working remotely. Make an effort to keep in touch with your teammates or colleagues throughout the day. With the ability to video call, you can arrange face-to-face meetings with your colleagues – just as you would working in an office.
Updating each other on your progress with a project, or just catching up, will help you feel part of a team and remain focused and motivated to get your work done. Social interactions, even with co-workers, can help to alleviate the psychological effects of working for long periods of time in isolation.
Stick to Your Finish Time
Maintaining a healthy work-home-life balance means creating strict time boundaries. It is important you don’t let your work spill over into your free-time.
Just because you have the ability to work anytime doesn’t mean you should. If you don’t manage to meet all your objectives for the day, come back to them the next day (just as you would working in your office). If any work-related ideas come to you outside of your work schedule, simply make a note of them and act on them when you’re back at work.
Don’t burn the candle at both ends by working late into the night to get a project completed. Allow yourself to have downtime after finishing work, so you are properly rejuvenated to start all over again the next day.
About the Author
Austin Rowlands is a content writer at Quadrant2Design, with extensive experience in the exhibition industry. He writes exhibiting guides for Quadrant2Design – to help businesses with their exhibition needs. In addition to this, he writes press releases to promote exhibition events, as well as exhibiting feature articles for various industries.