Do you dream of having the opportunity to start working from home? Have you tried working from home with limited success?
Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse! The benefits are obvious – less time in transit gives you more time in the day to do what you want! The drawbacks aren’t as widely known – difficulty staying productive, loneliness and lack of a routine come to mind for me.
That said – if you are interested in trying out a work from home or telecommute arrangement I suggest the following five tips:
Create a Dedicated Space
This is super important – you must establish a dedicated work space. Most people will not be able to successfully work from home if they consistently use their bedroom, kitchen table or coffee table as their work space. Lack of a defined space can allow you to get sloppy – turning the television or video game on for instance. Additionally, a dedicated space will help create boundaries so you and your family know when you are working and when you are available for non work activities.
So create a dedicated home office ideally with a solid work space, comfortable seating, quiet for conference calls, and natural light. This will make for a happier and more productive work from home day!
Prepare for Your Day
Don’t get sloppy just because you can! Wake up at a normal time, shower, eat breakfast and dress for the day. Skipping these steps can trick you into thinking it is a day off!
Develop A Routine
Similar to your preparation above – developing a routine will help keep you sane and productive! A routine will help you establish the line between free time and work – essentially replacing your commute time. I have developed a routine that I really love for my work from home days. I start the day with a Nespresso and a quick exercise routine. I then will either go for a walk or run before showering and dressing for the day. My quick run/walk provides a natural transition into the productive part of my day. When I return from the cardio I shower, get dressed and transition to deep work.
Work from home can be lonely. Yes, it is annoying when Carl from accounting lingers a bit too long in your workspace, but we are social beasts. It’s important to spend time with others shooting the breeze about current events etc. I am keenly aware of this so I will schedule networking phone calls or preferably lunch or coffee meetings with friends and colleagues. This serves two purposes – I get out of my grind for a needed social interaction and I keep up with important people in my life. These needn’t be everyday but I think they help. Alternatively, work from a coffee shop or bar for part of the day – just being around ambient noise and other people might be the fix you need. Try to limit this time to solo work – meaning no need to hop on conference calls.
Take Advantage of Flexibility
Finally, here is the fun part! You aren’t chained to a desk, nobody is looking for you! Use this time wisely – it’s amazing what you can accomplish when everyone else is at work! Do your errands like grocery shopping, haircuts and trips to the post office! There won’t be lines and it will feel like a break. I used to spend some time at the driving range or gym in the mid morning- believe it or not this cleared my mind for some deep thinking. Of course, make sure you are taking care of business first! But you are free to produce at the time you want – if that means working into the night and sleeping late that is your decision!