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Working from home can be a double-edged sword. There are huge benefits but there’s also the downside to contend with. I was thrown into a work from home situation 14 years ago and understand that challenges it can throw up.
Whether you opted to work from home or you were forced to for some reason or the other, the initial joy can be quickly replaced by worry, a lack of motivation and never-ending distractions.
How on earth do you get things done when there are so many distractions? While home working can deliver a lot of benefits, there are a lot of challenges it presents too.
Here, you’ll discover some useful tips you can follow when it comes to transitioning to working from home.
Set Up a Quiet Working Space
With all of the distractions at home, it can be really hard to concentrate on work. This is especially true if you have kids at home. So, if you want to ensure you can get things done in peace, it’s worth setting up a quiet working space.
Try and use a room that isn’t frequently used during the day. Place a sign on the door when you’re trying to work to let others know not to disturb you. Make sure the workspace is comfortable too as you won’t get a lot done if you aren’t comfortable.
Create a Proper Work Environment
To make a success of working at home, it is important that you have a proper work environment. If possible, you should have an office space at home that is reserved only for your work. Some people have made space in a converted garage, a spare room, or dedicated a corner of a quiet room for their workspace. This can help you ‘leave’ work when you finish your day.
Start Your Work Day As Early As Possible
One of the main challenges that can come from working from home is delaying the time you usually start. It’s tempting to have a lie-in and take longer to relax in the morning before starting.
However, this only zaps your productivity.
If you want to ensure you stay productive, you’ll want to start as early as possible. The positive side to this is that the earlier you start, the earlier you’ll get to finish.
Have a Good Workday Routine
First and foremost, you need a good routine for your workday. This involves starting and finishing work at a set time every day. It is also important to take a set lunch break to relax and ‘recharge your batteries.’ However, you do not need to be too strict.
Because working from home gives you more flexibility, you can take a few more breaks during the day than would be possible if you worked in an office.
A good routine with the proper amount of breaks while working at home will make your day much more enjoyable and productive.
Maintain Your Usual “Get Ready” Routine
It’s really important to try and maintain your usual routine. This means, getting ready for work in the same way you usually do. So, wake up at the same time, have your usual cup of coffee and get dressed into your work clothes. It’s amazing how much of a difference this can make to your productivity.
Dress for Work
Dressing for work doesn’t mean putting on a suit, a shirt, and tie or a suit dress if you are a woman. It also doesn’t mean working in your pajamas and dressing gown.
So, in the morning you should shower and get dressed as if you were going to the office. In fact, dressing for work actually affects the way that you deal and speak with people when you call them. Even though they can’t see you, if you are dressed for work you will assert yourself more professionally.
Don’t Mix Work with Home Duties
It can be too easy to get distracted if you are working at home. It is very easy to start doing simple jobs around the home when you should be working. Even something as simple as answering the doorbell can make you lose your focus. If you have to run errands, try to do these before or after your workday or during your lunch break.
However, it is important to be balanced with these duties and not go to the other extreme and become so inflexible that the rest of your family wished that you worked in an office!
Use the Latest Technology
One of the reasons that working at home as become so popular is because of advancements in technology. It is now easier and cheaper to connect with your boss and colleagues remotely. In fact, this has helped many people expand their business because they can now have clients all over the world. For example, you can take advantage of cloud computing by keeping your work documents online.
This makes it much easier to share documents and collaborate with others on them. Skype and Google+ Hangouts have made video conferencing available for everyone. These also allow screen sharing and whiteboards so that you can brainstorm new ideas. This helps you stay in touch with your co-workers and be more productive.
Use Aromatherapy to Stay More Focused
Working from home can be hugely distracting, especially when you first get started. You can’t help wondering what the kids are up to. You’re not sure whether to step in when they are squabbling or to worry when they are quiet. Either way, you find it difficult to stay focused.
If it’s not the kids, it’s the phone ringing or you feel tempted to go to the kitchen to fix yourself yet another snack. Sometimes, you find yourself just staring out the window your mind wandering about thinking random thoughts.
If you find it difficult to stay disciplined and focused when working from home, try aromatherapy using the best essential oils for focus.
Set Social Media Limits
You’ll have a lot more time to check in on social media when you haven’t got the boss breathing down your neck. However, it’s easy to waste hours using social media accounts if you aren’t careful.
Many home workers find it useful to set limits on their social media use during working hours. It could be simply committing to using it during a specific time for example. Having limits in place makes you more aware of how much you’re using it.
These are just a few tips you can follow when transitioning to working from home. It can be a big adjustment, but there are lots of tools and tips out there to help. Trying to maintain your usual routine is one of the best things you can do during these changing times.
Setting Up a Work at Home Office
If you want to boost your productivity levels when working from home, it helps to set up an office. Having an area purely dedicated to working will help you to separate work from leisure.
The question is, how can you set up an effective home office environment? Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to set up a work at home office and the key things to consider.
Consider How Long You’ll Be Working From Home
The first thing you need to think about is how long you’ll be working from home. If it’s only a very short period of time, it may not be worth investing in an entire home office set up. In this situation, it would be better to invest in just the essentials.
However, if you have the budget it could be worth setting up a permanent home office. That way, you’ll always have somewhere set up to work at home if and when you need it.
Making Sure You Have the Right Equipment
You’re going to need some level of equipment to work from home. At the very least, you’re going to need proper work furniture.
If you aren’t setting up a permanent home office, you can use things such as the dining room table or a makeshift bedroom office. Some people are even getting creative and using an ironing board as a stand-up desk option.
Other things you’re going to need are a good internet connection and online security.
Ensure Your Workspace gets Some Natural Sunlight
When you’re stuck indoors, you won’t be getting as much natural sunlight as you usually would. This can have an impact on how productive and motivated you are. Numerous studies have revealed the damaging impact limited natural daylight can have on workers in an office setting and the same applies at home.
So, make sure you’re going to be working in a part of the home which benefits from a lot of daylight. If there isn’t a space available, you might want to consider investing in a daylight bulb. These are designed to replicate natural daylight.
Focus on comfort
Your home office should be a comfortable place you can work too. This means, providing plenty of support for your back if you’re working at a desk for example.
If you aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to get much work completed. You’ll also find it beneficial to surround yourself with things that make you happiest, such as photos of the family and plants or flowers.
These are some of the basics you should consider when setting up a home office. Whether you’re setting up a permanent or temporary office space, you need to ensure it has everything you need and it’s quiet and comfortable to work in.
Tech That Can Help When You’re Working from Home
When you’re working from home, there are a lot of challenges you need to contend with. Reduced productivity, time management, and motivation can all be problematic when you’re trying to get work done. However, the good news is there are things available out there which can help.
You can invest in a lot of different technology these days. When implemented correctly, the right tech can make working from home a breeze. Here, we’ll look at some of the top tech you’ll want to invest in when working from home.
A Decent Router
As you’ll be relying upon the internet to work from home, it’s important to make sure you have a good router. If you’ve had your existing router for a while now, you might want to consider upgrading.
The more reliable and modern your router is, the less likely it’s going to cause issues when you’re working from home. So, if your router is pretty old, consider asking your provider to send a newer one. Or, you can invest in one yourself if need be.
Another thing you’re going to need is network security. This is especially true if you work within a data-sensitive industry. At the very least, you’ll want to get a VPN set up so you can work privately away from the prying eyes of hackers.
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got good virus protection in place. The latest internet security will help to keep you safer while working from home.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise can be a real problem when you’re trying to work at home. So, to block it out you might want to consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. This will help you to better focus on your workload and drown out any distractions such as the TV.
Obviously, it’s going to be hard to use noise-canceling headphones if you have kids to look after. However, you could always use them while the kids are busy watching a film or having a nap.
Did you know there are some great online tools you can use when you’re working from home? Task management software is especially useful, and you can use a lot of it absolutely free.
You have a number of options when it comes to task management software such as Asana, Basecamp, and Trello. Make sure you compare the different tools available before choosing the best one for your needs.
These are some of the top pieces of tech you’ll need to work from home more effectively. You don’t need a huge budget, although it’s best not to opt for the cheapest security software for example. Know where to spend and where you can cut back, such as with free online tools.