Working from home is something many people dream of and I know from personal experience how great it can be, but also what some of the pitfalls are. I know how difficult it can be when there’s no space for an actual office and the workspace is right in the middle of the living space. I know how difficult it can be to separate work from free time. And I also know a few things about how to actually make it all work. So, if you’re working from home, struggling with working from home or dreaming of working from home, then read on.
First of all, no matter how small your home, you will need to dedicate a space to your work. Working on your sofa is just not an option in the long run. Even the smallest desk will help when organising your work and your day. The same, believe it or not, goes for your own attire. I’m of course not saying you should wear a suit and heels, that would defeat at least part of the purpose of working from home. However, it is important that you are prepared for the working day. For me that means taking a shower, having coffee and breakfast, putting clothes on (no, not jogging bottoms or pyjamas!) and even my makeup. You’d be surprised how much difference these things will make to your mindset.
Treat your work day the same as you would if you were still working in an office. I know, this might seem harsh, after all it might be this rigid approach which led you to leave the actual office environment in the first place. However, once you’re used to it you will be able to create a looser structure without forgetting your work commitments. This will take a little time and take some getting used to. So, set your lunch hour, try (for the first few months at least) not to get distracted by household chores and don’t be tempted to put the laundry on as you will have to hang it up as well which will take even more time from your working day.
Keep a tidy and organised desk. I know, this might seem like the most obvious statement, but once you do work from home, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can find yourself drowning in paperwork. Make sure you have a filing system somewhere in your home. It doesn’t have to be right on your desk, but you will need to file away paperwork once a week to keep your head and home clear. Especially if your desk is situated within your living area, you really don’t want to have to look at piles of paperwork in the evening after your working day is over. You need to be able to switch off after hours and this is only possible if your work space doesn’t look like you have huge amounts of unfinished tasks.
Remember, your work space can be created anywhere in your home, the bedroom, which might actually be the quietest room in your home, the living room or even in a large enough hallway. The important thing is that that small space is completely dedicated to your work. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have something like a “spare” attic or an unused room, then you’ve hit the home office jackpot! You will be able to close the door after your workday is over and enjoy the rest of your home without having to look at your computer.
And that’s another important point: Keep your work hours and free time separate. Mark the end of your working day by closing down your computer, going for a walk, meeting with friends, cooking etc. Change your clothes. Basically, do exactly what you would do if you were still working in an office and you’ve just arrived back home from work. Enjoy your free time and relax.
I hope these tips will be useful to you and you will be able to enjoy working from home. Done right, it really can’t be beaten.