More of us than ever are working from home.
Whether you’re a freelancer, on flexitime, or starting up your own business,
making the home an office can have its challenges.
There are definite pros and cons. Your commute is under two minutes,
but by the end of the week you could pass for Tom Hanks in Cast away.
We’ve come up with 10 top tips for how to maintain productivity (and your sanity) when working from home!
1. Create a workspace
That means no working from bed *sob*
It’s really important to separate your workspace from your relaxing space. Working from the sofa can seem like a great idea at first, but you’re definitely more likely to procrastinate. When you finish work it’s nice to relax in a space that doesn’t remind you of work, too.
2. Make it your own
Indulge in some sweet stationary
‘Ideas by a freakin genius (occasional crap ones too)’ Notebook £4.95 + £1.75 P&P]
This includes spending a little extra on a really good chair. Being a sloucher myself, I know it’s a pain to try and sit up straight when you’re at a desk all day. A good, supportive chair will make it that bit easier, your back will definitely thank you for it. There’s loads of fun stationary around too, Paperchase in particular has some absolute gold, which can make your workspace look less drab, and encourage productivity.
3. Get up and dressed
PJs are probably a no no
It’s super tempting to roll straight out of bed to your desk three minutes before the working day starts. It’s guaranteed you’ll feel more motivated and ready for the day if you’re washed and dressed. Looking socially acceptable also helps avoid any embarrassment from unexpected visitors, say window cleaners, or postmen. When signing for a package the other day, I was asked if I was off school because I was ill. I’m 22.
4. Make a schedule
Lists, lists and more lists
Making lists or a schedule is a good way of staying organised, and keeping track of what needs to get done. If you can fit in an early morning walk, run, some yoga, or whatever else you like first, even better. I try and go on a walk in the morning to wake me up a bit, and give me some energy for the day. Make sure you know when to stop working, too! It can be tempting to work extra long hours in the evening if there’s still work to be done. It’s important to stop at a reasonable time, otherwise you risk burning out!
5. Try to avoid distractions
MUCH harder if you have kids and/or animals
This is a biggie. It can be hard to stay motivated all day, especially If you’re by yourself. TV is a definite one to avoid, as one episode soon leads to another. Or, if you’re more disciplined than me, watch something that’s only on for a certain amount of time. One 30-minute program while you’re eating your lunch isn’t going to ruin the company. It’s key to take breaks, just not ones that last several hours. This is harder if there’s kids in the house. Try to set boundaries so they know what time is work time for you, and when you’ll be able to play. (This is more difficult to communicate to cats.)
6. Make plans
For when you go a little stir crazy
If the lonelies are setting in, make plans for a quick lunch or coffee break with a friend. Or maybe organise something for the evening. Knowing you have plans and that you’ll actually leave the house (YAY) can keep you going when motivation is low.
7. Network online
Unleash the power of social media
Just because you’re not based in an office doesn’t mean you can’t network. LinkedIn in particular is a brilliant tool for keeping in touch with colleagues and contacts. It’s also good for advertising online if you’re freelance.
8. Make sure your equipment is up to scratch
You ARE the IT department
Keep your laptop, printer and whatever else in good nick.
Getting tech-savvy with your devices is advisable.
That way you save money on overpriced repairs, and learn a few new skills.
9. Mix it up
Free Wi-Fi? I’m there
Be like every other hipster in London and take your work out and about with you. This might be easier said than done – but if all you need is your laptop, you’re golden. Libraries, cafes, coffee shops, wherever there’s free WI-FI basically. Working alongside other people can be helpful to staying on task, too. Team up with other people who work from home. Even if they’re doing something completely unrelated, it can be helpful to see other people working hard too.
10. And when you really start to lose it…
remember how lucky you are to be avoiding the commute!
No tubes, trains or buses. No awkward journeys spent pressed against a stranger’s sweaty armpit
– a real problem for those of us in the 5ft region.
And if you’re watching this while you’re meant to be working, go back to work!
Or check out some of our other posts…