Working from home isn’t for everyone. To be successful, you must be disciplined, motivated, and — above all else — a self-starter.
Here’s how to get the most out of working from home:
Create physical boundaries.
If possible, set up a workspace that’s separate from your home space. This should make it easier to shut out the everyday distractions of home life and to cut off from work at the end of each day.
When you’re working, act like it!
You might find it helps to have particular clothes for working at home. Dressing for work can set the right mental tone for the day (and avoid any awkwardness if you get dialed into a virtual meeting while you’re still in your pajamas!). Also, avoid going into certain areas of the house, so that you know when you’re in “work mode,” and when you’re not.
Have “no-go” zones for technology.
Laptops and cellphones can be useful for staying in touch with co-workers, but they can also leave us feeling as though we’re “always on.” This can lead to stress and burnout. So, try to set up “no-go” zones when work devices are banned, such as mealtimes, holidays and the two hours before bed every night, to avoid sleep disruption.
Set break reminders.
Regular short breaks can help to keep you energized and focused. Try setting a countdown timer while you do an hour of work. When the alarm goes off, reward yourself with a five- or 10-minute break – to make a coffee, or get some fresh air. It’s vital that you get out of your chair during the day.
Remind your children to let you work.
Ensure that you have reliable childcare in place, and remind your children that when you’re in your office, you’re not to be disturbed. However, don’t be too rigid: one of the great joys of working from home is being there when they get back from school!
Commute to your home office.
Consider taking a short walk before starting your working day. Even a 10-minute stroll could energize you, and help to create a break between home tasks and work tasks.
Working from home can be extremely rewarding. No sitting in traffic. No more office politics. The freedom to live wherever. But there are distractions, and it can be lonely. If you focus on creating structure, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.