Much like how freelancing isn’t for everyone, the idea of working from home is not really everyone’s cup of tea either. Sure, you get to work in your pyjamas, no one steals your lunch from the fridge and if you hate office politics and traffic jams, it’s actually a godsend to be able to work from home.
However, there are downsides! For starters, if you were to choose to work from home, most bosses would ask that you take a pay cut. Plus, you can absolutely expect your friends and family to take advantage of your new found ‘freedom’. The working hours will become a blur, and sometimes if you are not careful, you’ll find yourself working 7 days a week just to catch up with all the time you’ve lost! But if you have decided that working from home is your only option, here are a few tips that may help you make the best of it.
1. An understanding family!
One of the hardest thing about working from home is setting boundaries with the people you share ‘home’ with. It’s definitely easier to understand that you are not to be disturbed when you are at the office than when you are in the back room.
Start setting boundaries from the first day you start work. Granted it will get some getting used to but your children, flat mates, siblings or parents must learn to give you your 8 hours (or more) a day so you can get things done!
2. Get in the zone
It will help to have a room, a workstation or at the very least a desk in a quiet area in your home. Here is where you keep your laptop or PC, phone, work documents like reports and invoices, your stationery etc. Ensure that you stock up on your essentials! Also, if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to create some great home offices check out Pinterest.
3. Deliver the hours
Depending on what has been ironed out in the clauses of your contract (or discussed over a few cups of coffee) you will be expected to deliver certain working hours for your work-from-home job. The good news with working from home is that nobody is keeping track; the bad news is nobody is keeping track (let that sink in for a bit).
Don’t think that you can prop up your feet and catch whole seasons of your favourite show on Netflix in one afternoon and try to work it back during the weekends!
Do it often enough and it will turn into a habit in the long run!
4. Have a routine (and breaks)
Apart from the reason that we are just tired of commuting, another reason to work from home is because of other responsibilities you have that require you to be home. It could be that you have just started a family and you have young children. In this case, you will need to set a routine that will ensure that you can be there for them and for your company.
For the rest of us, the routine will help with keeping up with house chores – and the breaks you schedule in will help you keep your sanity. It’s also great to help you recharge for the next project or refuel your inspiration. If you get breaks while you’re in the office, there is no reason you can’t take breaks when you are at home.
5. Get out of the house and stay healthy!
Moderation is key! Working in solitude has its disadvantages but only because humans are social creatures. Hence, getting out of the house is very important. If you don’t have to go back to the office to have meetings or deliver progress reports, you can bring your laptop and work at a coffee shop or meet a friend during lunch.
Get plenty of fluids and eat healthy, and if you aren’t a fan of exercise, just try to move around whenever you can. This gets oxygen into your blood circulation which can be the cure to that dullness you’ve been feeling after looking at the same project day in, day out for months! Relax with music, some light reading or make lunch for yourself.
Also you should pamper yourself for being able to keep away from online distractions and for getting the job done with minimal (or no) supervision. Not everyone can do it, so when you do, reward yourself for it!