For many of us, working 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 some of the most important things to consider if you want to work from home.
The right space
The right home office space isn’t always easy to create in a home environment. There are a number of companies who specialise in office design, but transferring what works in a professional setting to a home can be difficult. Plus, as it may be coming out of your own funds, you may need to create a budget-friendly home office space.
You need to consider the essential things an office needs:
- Space to work
- The right equipment for you to work effectively
- Choosing an ergonomic work from home chair and suitable desk
- Not too noisy
- Ability to communicate
- Creating a healthy work from home environment
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.
One of the advantages about working from home and setting up an office at home is you have the ability to make your workspace more cosy, homely and uniquely decorated compared to an office in a commercial block. Use this to your advantage to create a home office that inspires you every day and makes you want to go to work and be productive!
Set up your office space & stock up on supplies
Improve your work from home experience by choosing a dedicated workspace. Take the time to set up a home office in a room that has a door and natural light, if possible. Configure a productive and comfortable yet cosy work area so you can stay focused and get a lot done.
Also, have the right equipment you need to run a home-based business and stock up on supplies such as pens, paper, and hewlett packard ink cartridges. This way you won’t have to always be running out and disrupting your workday to go shopping for what you need.
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. Holiday clubs are a great way to manage working from home in the half terms and school holidays, so the kids don't get bored and you can have some quiet work time.
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.
Establish a schedule & take breaks
Give yourself a better chance of having a positive experience working from home when you structure your day like you would if you were heading to a physical office. Consider getting up early and having a healthy breakfast and grooming yourself so you feel energised and ready to work hard.
Establish a routine and schedule you can follow daily and be sure to take breaks to get water, stretch, and have lunch. Think about when you’re the most productive and make certain you’re at your desk during these hours to get the most done. It’s also important that you make time to get out of the house once in a while and aren’t always at home around the clock. Check out our tips on how to manage your time effectively when you work from home for more guidance.
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 work-home life 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.
You could even look into co-working spaces that you can use temporarily when needed to get out of the house if being there all the time gets too much.
Make it a point to stay connected and nurture your relationships for the best work from home results and experience. Find ways to interact, socialise, and keep in touch with coworkers, friends and family so you don’t feel isolated.
It’s especially important that as the boss who has employees to manage, you check in frequently and ensure that your workers are being productive and getting their questions answered. This will keep everyone on track and can help boost your team’s morale.
Eliminate possible distractions
Working from home can be pleasant but also challenging due to possible distractions. Try your best to eliminate these and keep them to a minimum if you want to achieve your professional goals and complete your tasks on time.
Turn off your email and phone notifications when you’re busy and monitor how much time you’re spending online and on social media that isn’t work-related. It will be helpful if you have someone watching your kids and pets during work hours as well. If you have household chores to do then try to leave them for your break time or to do before or after work hours.
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.
If you like this, you may also enjoy these additional work from home resources: