How to: Work from home without losing the plot
Working from home is often endorsed as a dream scenario but staying on track and remaining productive can be a really big issue for at-home workers, particularly if they’re just starting out.
Here are a few tips to help you work from home without totally losing the plot.
Get dressed every day
It can be tempting to wear your pyjamas to work from home because obviously no one is going to be seeing you, but this practice can be very detrimental to your productivity. Subconsciously your brain knows that you sleep and relax in your pyjamas so it’s going to be difficult to convince yourself to get your work done if your brain is all prepped for a nap. You don’t have to wear a full suit and tie but if you get dressed in proper clothing it can make your work day much more productive.
Leave housework for evenings and weekends
‘Procrasti-cleaning’ is one of the biggest issues at-home workers can come across. If there’s a looming deadline or a few solid hours of boring spreadsheet work to face, a load of laundry can actually start to look very appealing but you must resist the temptation. If you wouldn’t be able to do a task at a traditional office, you shouldn’t do it when you work from home.
Avoid doing personal errands during the work day
If you need to get a hair cut or duck to the post office, that’s fine but try not to spend an entire afternoon doing your grocery shopping, cleaning out your car or writing guest lists for your next birthday party. It’s important to keep reminding yourself that even though you’re at home, you are technically working and that means you shouldn’t be meeting friends for social engagements at 3pm.
Be accountable: How to clock off when you work from home
Leave the TV off
The television is the enemy of the at-home worker. It seems like an innocent move to put it on in the background while you finish up work for the day but there’s a reason why traditional offices don’t have televisions on while people are working. It’s because they are really distracting. Give yourself a television free time frame and leave the box off until you’ve officially finished for the day.
Give yourself designated break times
Try and make these breaks mimic regular work break times. A short morning and afternoon tea break with a longer lunch is ideal and make sure you time them. There’s no one to get you in trouble if you take an extra 15 minutes on your lunch break so make sure you hold yourself accountable.
A short morning and afternoon tea break with a longer lunch is ideal.
Start and clock off at the same time every day
Just because no one will notice if you start work a little later in the morning doesn’t mean you should do it. Although working from home has its drawbacks, on the whole it is a privilege that is denied to many. It’s important to stay motivated and productive so your boss doesn’t question allowing you to work from home.
Get out of the house
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house for a while. Try working at a cafe or at a library. If you change your scenery, you can change the whole way you work. It’s also great to get out to talk to other people because working from home can be extremely isolating. It’s a great way to keep active during the working day too.
If you change your scenery, you can change the whole way you work.
Create boundaries with your friends and family
Another strange drawback when you work from home is when your friends with face-to-face jobs don’t understand that you work during the day. They’ll often pop over in the afternoon on their days off or while they’re on holidays to have a catch up. You need to set firm boundaries that you work from 9 to 5 and you’re unavailable for those hours even though you’re at home. Be persistent with this so they really get the message.
Looking forward: Working from home still the way of the future?