Five top tips to survive working from home
Working from home can have its perks; but it has its challenges too. As someone who has worked from home on and off for nearly 10 years, these are my top tips.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2016, almost one third of employed Australians regularly worked from home in their main job or in their business. These days, whether you run your business from home; are a freelancer; have the flexibility to work for your organization from home; or just like to catch up on things after hours at home, this number is on the rise.
It has its perks, that’s for sure…traffic becomes a bug bear of the past; commute time is cut to zero and we can save on expensive costs related to running a business premise. But it is not all rosy.
Working from home also has its fair share of challenges, so from someone who has done so on and off for the last 10 years, here are my top tips for surviving working from home:
1 – Have a dedicated working space
Ensure that wherever you work within your home, it is a dedicated place for work. That need only be a desk; not necessarily an entire closed off office but working from the coffee table or your bed can spell trouble. Not only could it mean you could be sat in a terrible position with bad posture for extended periods of time, which could damage your health; but also having work papers all around your loungeroom or bedroom makes mentally switching off even harder.
2 – Have a set working day
If we were going somewhere else to work every day, we would have a set time to arrive, a set time to leave and a set amount of time for breaks. Bring that structure to working from home. It allows us to focus for a dedicated period to get what we need to do done, without our work encroaching on our family time.
3 – Create a structure that works for you
Some of us love sitting in front of a computer all day, banging out the work. Some of us get distracted incredibly easily and finish each day with more unfinished projects than when we started. Wherever you sit on this scale, create a work structure that works for you.
If you find you are easily distracted, set a timer for 30 minutes, focus for that amount of time on a set task, then go and make a cuppa as a reward.
If you can sit all day and lose track of time, pack yourself snacks and lunch to have ready to go so you don’t need to waste time stopping to feed yourself!! We are all different, so celebrate that, accept that and create a day that works for you.
4 – Fill your social cup
Working from home can be isolating and it is important to remember that a huge portion of our communication effectiveness comes from spoken word and body language. Be careful not to fall into the trap of emails and instant messages when working from home. Instead, pick up the phone, schedule video calls or better still, hold meetings in a café or public place to fill your social cup and to ensure you message is understood the way it is intended.
5 – Have strategies to switch off
This one is super important because when our home is also our workplace, there is the temptation to just keep going…trust me, I speak from experience! Ensure you have things in place that you do for you to mark the end of your day. Perhaps start a journal and finish each day writing down everything you have achieved that day; have a cuppa in a comfy chair before the kids or your partner get home; go for a walk…have something that symbolizes the end of the day that you can use as a transition to get you out of “work brain” and back “home.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts…
If you regularly work from home, what would you add to this list?