There’s more to working from home than you would expect. An idealist vision of the home worker might be someone tucked up in bed with a hot drink and their laptop – sadly, this is an unrealistic (and unproductive) expectation!
When you work in an office, your day is given structure and routine and as much as you may feel like these are being imposed on you, they are essential to being productive. As such, when you work from home, it is paramount that you also give yourself a routine. The structure of your day may be very different to that of being in an office and you can change it to suit your needs – this is the benefit of home working. However, it is important that you start establishing work habits from day one and stick to them; without deciding when your working day will be, you’ll find that it spills into your free time, and everything gets blurred.
Dress for work – you’re working, make sure you feel like you’re at work! This means that you follow the usual morning routine – get up, shower, put your work clothes on and then head to your office…
The office – this is possibly the most important part of your home setup. You need to have a designated area of your home that is for working. Do all your work in here and don’t let that slide, you’ll appreciate your time away from the office more when you can sit on your sofa without having to answer emails.
Breaks – make sure that you take the breaks you would normally have if you were working in an office. It’s very easy to feel obliged to work constantly when your home is your office, but just remember that breaks help improve productivity.
Pick your working hours – not everyone works best during the hours of 9-5. If this is you, make sure that you’re honest with yourself and adjust the hours you work to accommodate. This is the greatest benefit of working from home so make it work for you!
Make time to see ‘real’ people – working opposite hours to all your friends and family may be productive on the work front, but for you personally? Perhaps not so much. Make sure you escape the house and make time to engage with the rest of the world.
Updated on January 5th, 2014