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I have been working from home for eight years now, since I left my corporate job to write full time and to build an online business. Therefore, with more people than ever doing the non-commute, I thought I would share with you my working from home tips.
I have to say I love working from home. I am not someone who enjoys office life or politics and while it can be nice to have a water cooler chat, I can honestly take it or leave it. There are challenges to working from home though, even if you do enjoy it. Plus, if you are also trying to home-school at the same time, an issue I don’t have, I tip my hat to you.
Let’s look then at what you can do to optimize your working from home life, whether you are doing it in the short term due to Covid-19, or whether you are in it for the long haul.
Focus on the Positives
While there may be challenges to working from home, there are also definite advantages. First, and I think quite importantly, you have no commute. (Did you hear that, no sitting in a car or on a packed train for hours. Really, Christmas has come already!) This means you not only save time and money getting to work, but you also arrive much less-stressed from any driving or public transport dramas.
There is also the element of the working environment, you are your own boss , at least in terms of inside your four walls, and you don’t have to contend with snarky colleagues, the office fridge from hell (packed as it always is with out- of-date produce and someone’s egg sandwiches from two days ago), or a boss breathing down your neck. (Figuratively, not literally I hope – or take that shiz to HR!)
Get In Work Mode
Ok, so you only need to take the short walk from your bedroom to wherever you are going to work, but it’s important to switch from home to work mode if you want to be effective.
I have always got ready in the same way I did for office life. I get up, shower, get dressed etc. Yes, my attire might be more jeans than a suit, but I don’t ever loll about the house in pyjamas. First, I never really like doing that anyway (no shade to you if that’s your weekend) .
Second, I just don’t think you can be productive if you aren’t dressed below the waist. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s just how I roll. ☺ Plus, you don’t want to be caught on a last-minute zoom call with the CEO of the Paris office wearing your Winnie the Pooh nightshirt. (I’m talking to you Derek from accounts.)
Have a Defined Place to Work
Yes, space can very much be an issue when working from home, particularly if you don’t have a dedicated office space or even a desk. See if you can work on the dining room table or at the very least have a storage box you can pop everything into at the end of the day.
That way you keep all your office stuff contained and your dog Max doesn’t run off with those important stats you need to get back to your boss in the morning.
Switch Off At the End of the Day
The dividing line between home life and work life can be much harder to define when you are working from home. But whether you are working a job or working for yourself, it’s important to have boundaries. Otherwise you can end up feeling burnt out, resentful and with very little spare time on your hands. Try to have ‘office hours’ in the week and decide whether you will be available for any work on the weekend.
If you are working for someone else, this can mean not checking your emails or be available for calls outside the hours you would normally work, and yes, I know this is easier said than done. If you have a business or are freelancing, then you have to build in time for rest and relaxation or you and your clients will suffer. It’s also true that work expands to fill the time we have available for it, so if you work smarter for shorter hours, you will find yourself much more productive.
It’s more important than ever to take breaks during the day when you are working from home. Get up and walk around and stretch regularly. Plus, walk to the kitchen for a glass of water or spend 5 minutes a couple of times a day having a cup of tea in the garden. You could even head out for a short walk at lunchtime. Just once round the block can help clear your head and improve your mood.
Working from home also means you can eat better. You don’t have to rely on sandwich vans, but can throw a quick salad together or even have something hot. Even better, that food in the fridge, it’s all yours baby! You don’t have to worry that your almond milk is getting mixed up with Suzie’s from IT.
Stay Connected Through Technology
There’s no doubt that one of the downsides of working from home can be isolation. It’s important to make sure that technology works for you in this department. Set up a cocktail hour Zoom call or quiz evening with friends on a Friday eve, or connect in a Facebook group or What’s App group. Make sure this tech connection is something that works for you though. You want it to feel joyful, not like it’s one more thing that you have to do.
Attitude Is Everything
As with most things in life, what you get out of working from home, is going to be decided by your attitude. If you look for the positives that’s what you are going to see more of. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a moan or a grouch sometimes, we are all human after all. But don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week.
If you are struggling, take a little time away from your desk – even just five minutes can help – and do something entirely unrelated or jump on a call with a friend who you know will lift you up.
There are lots of positives of the stay at home life and hopefully these working from home tips will help you make the most of your time. Even if this is a temporary blip at least it’s a new experience and if you are working from home permanently, welcome my friend, you are going to love it!
Do you work from home? Leave a comment below if you have a tip for staying motivated and productive.
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