Nine tips for working from home
Whether you work from home a couple of days a week or full time, our survival guide will help you make the most out of your time.
1. Set your hours and stick to them
It’s important to have clear structure to your day wherever you may be working from. But when you make the decision to work from home, there is increased potential for procrastination and distraction. When not working in the eyeline of colleagues and managers, self-motivation is key.
If you set yourself a typical working day of nine to five, then you should be starting work at nine and clocking off at five. Simple.
2. Set up your ideal workspace – and maintain it
Before you get any ideas, this does not mean lying in bed with your laptop balanced on your knees.
Try setting up your work area away from rooms you would usually relax in during an evening or weekend.
If you have the space, buy a small desk and set it up as a dedicated work area. It’s up to you how you ‘decorate’ the space. It can be as minimalist or as garish as you like. As long as it works for you and is free of clutter, the possibilities are endless.
3. Set ground rules with friends and family
It’s important that you try to minimise distractions while working from home, that includes your roommate or partner popping their head around the door for a quick chat.
Setting up boundaries will help you focus on the job at hand during your working hours.
Let people know when you’re taking a break by making a sign to hang on the door.
4. Take breaks
As you would in the office, it’s important to step away from your desk now and then to make a cuppa and stretch your legs.
But be careful that a five-minute rest doesn’t turn into catching up on three episodes of your favourite TV show.
5. Get dressed
You don’t need to get into full office regalia, but on the other hand you shouldn’t be putting together reports in your pjs.
It may sound simple, but the action of getting dressed for the day ahead helps you maintain a routine.
6. Don’t be tempted by chores
It’s easy to justify procrastination when you are ‘working’ on something else, like hovering the living room, doing those dishes from last night or putting a wash on.
Although completing these tasks are productive, they should be done out of working hours. You wouldn’t nip out of the office in the middle of the day to mop the kitchen floor, the same rules should apply when you are working from home.
7. No weekend work
The weekend should be just that, the end to your working week. When working from home the boundaries between work time and down time need to go both ways.
It may be tempting to get a head start on what you have on for Monday, but keeping your weekend free to spend time with family, friends or having some alone time will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the working week.
8. Get outside
Make sure you take your lunch break and, if possible, get out of the house and go for a walk.
Head to a café and treat yourself to a fancy coffee and something tasty to eat. As your home may be empty during the day, you may start to feel a little isolated.
A stroll to the shop and back, spending some time in the land of the living, can help dispel any cabin fever that might be creeping in.
9. Make regular visits into the office
If you are liaising with colleagues in an office, then make the effort to visit them at the building from time to time.
Not only does this provide another opportunity for a change of scenery, but showing face helps to keep up a good relationship with your clients or colleagues.
Try and make it along to any company events or social gatherings too, these are great opportunities to let your hair down and socialise with your colleagues.