There’s been a growing trend over the past few years of people working from home. This is for a number of reasons; more people owning their own business or freelancing, better communication and technology reducing the need for people to always be in the same office and even just companies allowing more flexible working conditions.
But one thing many people struggle with is how to work to their best ability when at home. Going from the structure of a regular working day to home working can open the door to a whole host of distractions.
With that in mind, here are some top tips on how to work from home effectively, whether you’ve been doing it for years or are thinking about doing it for the first time…
Create the right environment for working from home
If you don’t have the right working environment then you’re setting yourself up for a fall from the off. The best way to separate your home and work life is to have a designated work space; having an office in your house is much better than just sitting in front of the TV with your laptop on your knee.
Even better is if you can technically leave your house. Turning your shed into an office is a great idea, or if you have a bit spare cash lying around, you could even invest in one of these amazing garden office pods.
Obviously the great thing about working from home is that you can set up your workspace however you want. Some people work best with a messy desk, whilst others prefer a minimalist work area. Some even like theirs to be littered with toys, photos or other trinkets. Do whatever works best for you to create the most inspiring of workspaces.
For example, founder of Apple Steve Jobs was known for having a rather messy desk, whereas his Microsoft counterpart Bill Gates, has a much tidier workspace. You can see a whole host more work areas of business gurus in this Business Insider article.
Plan your day
As a wise man or woman probably once said: ‘Fail to prepare then prepare to fail’. Planning is key to working from home, especially those who prefer the structure of a ‘regular’ working day. If you have a to-do list of things you need to get done then there’s a greater chance of completing them rather than working haphazardly on whatever comes to mind.
If you normally work in an office, but you’re working from home on the odd day for whatever reason, then planning the day before will ensure you have everything you need at home to get the job done. Otherwise, you could realise you’re missing that all-important document you desperately need.
What about breaks?
Part of having that lack of structure to your day is not knowing when to take breaks. This can manifest itself in a couple of ways. Either people tend to not take any breaks as they feel that working from home is a break in itself, or they take too many breaks as there’s no-one around to stop them!
Well, of course you need breaks, but it’s important to be strict with them. Again, plan them into your schedule so you still have some time away from your computer. Make sure you take some time for lunch, maybe go for a walk or watch a bit of TV - but those constant trips to make tea or to the fridge add up at the end of the day. Which brings us onto...
How to stay productive when working from home
This is a massive problem for a lot of people who work from home. A lot of us struggle to stay productive when not in a ‘proper working environment’.
It may sound obvious, but one of the main things that people who work from home need to remember is that you’re there to work, no matter how tempting it may be to take do other things. You’re not there to put up those shelves or mow the lawn, and you’re not there as a babysitter either, so don’t confuse working from home as a cheap alternative to childcare.
This article has some more good tips on how to stay productive when working from home.
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