3 Great Tips for Working (Successfully) From Home...
I’ve been working from home for around 20 years now (yikes!), albeit mostly running my own business, rather than as an employee for someone else. However, I think the ways to be productive and successful at it, and to even enjoy it, are pretty similar.
Here are my top tips for working successfully from home:
**Set up a dedicated workspace.
Of course, it’s ideal if you have a spare room that you can turn into an office, but if you don’t have that luxury, then try to find a space in your home and set up a desk, with a proper chair and enough space for all of the bits and pieces you’ll need. Ideally this will be in a quiet corner of your home, with access to natural light. This really will help you to separate work from daily living, which is extremely important when the two merge. After work finishes you need to move away from the space and forget about it.
**Remove or avoid distractions.
This is linked to the point above in some ways, as your workspace is best not to be in front of the TV etc. Your home is naturally full of things that can distract you – including pets, partners and kids! It’s fine if the dog wants to curl up alongside you, but you may need to have a chat with your family or housemates to let them know that when you’re working it would be great if they could keep noise to a minimum and not interrupt you.
**Create a structured daily routine.
If you’re working for a company, taking calls, holding virtual meetings etc then you will naturally need to do this anyway. Get up at the time you usually would and dress smartly if you’re going to be seen online by colleagues or customers. Take regular breaks too. If you’re working on a computer/laptop – this is important anyway. I take 10 minutes out at the end of every hour to stretch, and make/fetch a drink etc plus I have a mid morning coffee break, a proper lunch break and a mid afternoon tea break. Finish, and pack up, at the time you usually would, or when the office closes. There’s a danger with working from home that you get absorbed in your work and power through the day with no gaps. Contrary to what you might think, this is neither good for your productivity (or the quality of your work) or your mental health. My only exception to this is that because I do a lot of written work sometimes I get writer's block – so I need to simply get away from my desk and come back to it later, or sometimes if I’m on a roll I do need to keep going until I finish – because the creative process is a bit like that...
Bonus idea: During time when I would have been commuting, or when I’m taking that quick break away from my screen every hour, I tend to do little chores round the house – such as the washing up, some tidying up, some cleaning or putting some washing on etc. It’s good to do these activities for exercise (otherwise I’d be sat down for 9 hours straight!) and by the end of the day it means I’ve usually done quite a few house chores and my free time is then my own to relax and enjoy! To me this is a real benefit of working from home! And if you can find that balance then it’s great.
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