Working from home can be hugely rewarding. The different surroundings can help with creativity, and not being in the normal office setting can help you focus on what really helps you be productive while cutting out things that don’t.
However, it does come with its own challenges which you will need to find solutions for. Here are our top tips for making a success out of working from home…
Now, we’re not saying you need to get into office wear every day, but you need to set some kind of schedule – and then you need to stick to it. For example, many people choose to keep regular office hours and set rules like “no working in bed” or “get dressed in the morning”.
As part of setting a routine, it is important to set ground rules with the people you share your space with. Partners, children and flatmates need clear guidelines about what they can and can’t do while you’re working. Just because you’re home it doesn’t mean you’re free to do every odd job that crops up – they will have to wait for the evening like normal.
Set breaks and take them in their entirety
One of the toughest things about working from home is how easy it can be to blur the lines between work and everything else. One of the most important things you can do is set breaks and lunch periods and then take them in their entirety.
Don’t short change yourself. When it’s lunchtime, turn the computer off and sit somewhere else for an hour. Do whatever you need to make sure you take breaks even if that means you end up setting timers. You’ll be healthier and more productive if you do.
You might not notice it, but you move around a fair bit in an office. Whether it’s getting up to make a cup of coffee, wandering about looking for a quiet place to make a phone call, going out for lunch or anything else – the point is that you unconsciously get the steps in. If you take that movement out of your life by moving from bed to desk to fridge and back, you will start to feel worse fairly quickly.
So, it is important to make sure that you get up and move about regularly when working from home. On the phone? Walk around while you talk. Missing the gym? There are plenty of great work out routines online you can do comfortably in your apartment. Looking after your health will pay dividends in the long run.
Finish your day with a routine
In the same way as you should set up some standard work practices, it’s also important to form habits around finishing work at the end of the day. Normally, you would leave the office at the end of the day, creating a physical and mental separation between work and home life.
If you don’t do this, you could find it tough to switch off and risk letting work overwhelm everything else. For this reason, we recommend coming up with some kind of routine that means “stop work now”. This could be anything from putting your laptop away in a locked draw for the evening to turning on your favourite podcast. What matters is that you do it consistently and create the habit of walking away once working hours are over.
Find what works for you
This is the most important piece of advice of all. There is no approach to working from home that will suit everyone, but it is important to be honest with yourself and figure out what is best for you.
There is no point in trying to force yourself into a strict plan if that isn’t how you work best. Likewise, if you need the structure then put it in place straight away.