The idea of working from home lends itself to an image of relaxation. Think fluffy slippers, never getting out of your pyjamas, and seldom setting an alarm. Sounds ideal, right?
Wrong. Working from home is exactly that: working, but at home. That means, to stand a chance of getting anything done beyond your morning latte, you need to employ a certain level of discipline – as if you were in an office environment.
We have developed 5 top tips to make working from home work for you:
1. Get planning
Many office environments kick off the week – or even the day – with a morning planning meeting. Do this too, but with yourself.
Sit down with a planner, and outline what you want to get done that week and when. Having soft deadlines to stick to – however small – will give you a sense of accountability and keep you on track.
There’s tons of planners, calendars and journals that can help you organise your time, and using time tracking programs might help you stick to your schedules.
Harvest can help you track productivity and ensure you don’t spend too long on one project, and Pomodoro uses the Pomodoro method of working in short, intensive bursts to keep you focused.
2. Take breaks
This might sound counterintuitive against the purpose of this guide, but taking breaks and allowing yourself the little luxuries of working from home is actually necessary. To be able to stay focused while working at home, you need to enjoy the best parts.
Yep, that includes taking a break to watch a bit of daytime TV. Enjoy the freedom that comes with working from home. Consider going out for a walk and enjoying the fresh air if possible. It’ll keep you motivated and grateful for the job you’re doing.
3. Set up a dedicated workspace
If you haven’t already, make sure you’re not working from your bed or couch – as tempting as it is! Set up a dedicated work space, even if it’s just a desk in your lounge room.
Some work-from-home devotees even leave the house and come back in, claiming it helps to switch their brains over to work mode. If you really love working from your comfy spots, give yourself the last hour of the day there, or even a Friday afternoon. It’ll be like your own casual Friday!
4. Ensure you’ve got the kit you need
Before you commence a career at home, make sure you’ve got the necessary tools to be able to do your work well – and stress free. That might be an efficient computer or laptop, printer, a fast WiFi connection, or manufacturing equipment, like sewing machines.
If you’re forever dashing out to use someone else’s printer, or rushing to the local Starbucks because your WiFi’s clapped out, you won’t stay on track, and your work: income ratio won’t be balanced.
Get these things in place before you commit to a work-from-home agreement, to save time and stress further down the line!
5. Consider coworking
One of the major downsides to working from home is losing the regular human interaction and support from coworkers.
Leaving your office days behind you can leave you feeling lonely or unmotivated. If this happens to you, look for local coworking spaces in your area.
Often more affordable than renting an office space, you’ll reclaim a sense of routine and belonging, while bouncing ideas, lunchtime plans and the weekend’s antics off on fellow solo workers. Just going in one or two days a week can transform your productivity.
Whether you’re working from home on your own business, or you’ve got a remote working agreement with your employer, staying focused is the aim of the game.
If you’ve got a choice whether to work from home or from an office, consider the type of person you are before jumping into remote work.
If you’re confident that you’ve got what it takes to self-motivate, stay accountable for your workload and not blur your line between business and pleasure, working from home can be incredibly liberating.
You’ll essentially work on your schedule, and directly report to, well, yourself!
That said, if you’re a serial procrastinator, consider sticking with your office desk – or ask if you can split your time between home and the office.
For some people, being their own boss and their own motivator just doesn’t work, so be careful before you get too excited at the prospect of ducking out for a coffee with a mate at noon – it’ll come back to bite you!