The essentials for working from home
For many of us, getting to work from home is a blessing; you get to avoid the hustle and bustle of a busy office, don’t get stuck in traffic and you have one of the easiest commutes ever. It’s also incredibly flexible and makes working around having young children a lot easier in most instances. It’s not without its downfalls and certainly doesn’t suit everyone. For me, I wouldn’t change it for the world and hope I can continue to work from home for the foreseeable future.
When it comes to working from home there are a number of elements to keep in mind, from setting up your home office properly to being able to balance home and work under one roof.
Here are 3 things to consider if you want to work from home:
The right space
The right office space isn’t always easy to create in a home environment. There are a number of companies such as Penketh Group who specialise in office design, but transferring what works in a professional setting to a home can be difficult.
You need to consider the essential things an office needs:
- Space to work
- The right equipment for you to work effectively
- Not too noisy
- Ability to communicate
The right space in your home doesn’t need to be big enough to have a meeting in, but you should be able to work quietly and have the means to communicate with customers and clients. Not necessarily just via emails, a webcam and microphone could mean that the opportunity for Skype meetings and online calls becomes a possibility, giving you face to face contact with people without needing a larger office.
You also need to make sure your office has enough room for any other equipment you might need, a lightbox for photography or space to plan out work can be a big difference maker, and it stops work encroaching onto the rest of your house.
You might be working from home to take care of the kids, but believe me - you’re going to need some dedicated time to work also as the children can’t entertain themselves for hours on end every day, nor should they be expected to. This can be a delicate balancing act, trying to accomplish tasks while also handling childcare isn’t easy.
Sometimes you might have a looming deadline or work that simply needs to get done. In these sorts of situations, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand if you’ve also got to try and juggle looking after children.
In these cases, despite working from home, it might be a good idea to see if you can leave the kids with a family member for a few hours just so you can focus and get the work you need to finish done. If you’re earning enough you may want to look into local childcare. A childminder or playgroup is often a lot cheaper than a nursery and usually offer more flexible arrangements.
This way you aren’t always working into the wee hours when the kids have gone to bed, avoid being stressed and give yourself a chance to relax.
Separating work and home
Balancing work and home life when they are in different places is simple. With the office being in your house this separation can be incredibly difficult to achieve.
Your home office should be its own space, that you can leave and almost isolate if needs be.
This is why a dedicated home office is so much more beneficial than working at the kitchen table or in the living room; you don’t end up surrounding yourself with work.
This also means you can walk away from it, allowing you to step back from any work-related stress. It might, however, be difficult to resist staying away and having some time at home without working.
It might even be a good idea to set strict working hours for yourself, despite being at home and being able to go about your day at your own pace setting yourself actual working times will allow you to create a better sense of routine, set times for breaks, lunch and when you stop working for the day. Sticking to this instead of constantly being in ‘work mode’ can help you to avoid bringing the stress of work ‘home’ with you.
Finding the right set-up for working from home can take a degree of trial and error; working out what suits you and your way of working the best. One of the major benefits of working from home is the degree of freedom and flexibility it can afford you, finding the ways to make the most of this can make working from home incredibly productive and rewarding.
Do you work from home? What’s the most challenging aspect for you? Let me know in the comments!
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