Working from home can be great, as many people are just finding out. It’s a way to work around other commitments, taking care of your family, and working flexibly. Many companies find that letting their employees work from home increases productivity and reduces office costs.
Those of us that work for ourselves often find the freedom of being able to work from our homes liberating. It’s also very welcome when we face a self-isolation type of situation.
But, if you’ve never worked from home before, suddenly getting thrust into it can be tough. You might find that after the initial excitement wears off, you lose motivation. That you find it hard to work productively around the distractions of home life. You may notice that you are working next to the fridge, picking at and nibbling on unhealthy snacks all day. Or that you lose hours selecting the right playlist on Spotify, finding a show to binge on Netflix, or scrolling endlessly through social media feeds.
On the other hand, some people find that they go the other way entirely. Far from working less, they suddenly find that they are working all hours of the day. That they never take time off or give themselves space to relax, and that once home and work inhabit the same space, they struggle to separate the two.
So, with all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some tips to help you get started with home working if you’ve never done it before.
Make Some Changes at Home
Working from home is much easier if your home is in good shape, and you’ve got no major repair or other work to think about. So, this could be a great time to think about getting those jobs done. Roof repair or metal roofing replacement, boiler services, and even things like window cleaning can all make your home feel more comfortable.
Find a Workspace
Another great way to minimize disruptions, and help yourself separate home and work, is to create a specific space for work. If you’ve got a home office, that is fantastic. But, we’re not all lucky enough to have a spare room, and if you are being thrown into home working without much preparation, you might not have the luxury of being able to convert a room, or go out and buy office furniture.
So, work with what you have got. If you’ve got a room that isn’t often used, then this could be ideal. Dining rooms are always a good choice, because there’s usually a table, and you might only spend mealtimes in there. If that’s not an option, carving out a space in a corner, or at the back of any other room is a great idea. You don’t need a desk, just a table, or even a wide wall mounted shelf. You don’t need a fancy office chair; a dining chair will do. Just try to find somewhere quiet, where you can have a little space for your files and materials.
Get Into a Routine
Routines are good for us. They help us to stay balanced, keep us on the right path, reinforce a sense of security, and support good mental health. They also help you to manage your time when you are working from home.
Getting into one can be tough, but it is easier when you remember that it’s your routine to make. You don’t have to stick to a 9-5 if that isn’t going to suit your lifestyle. You can work in bed in your PJs for an hour before breakfast if you find that you are most productive very early in the day. You can even work late at night and sleep in if it suits you.
But, a routine is a good idea. Try to get up at the same time every day. Have a shower and get dressed at some point. Stick to meal times, and try to clock off and take some time for yourself at the same time every day. Many people find that it helps to think of it as going to work, even if they do it at quite unconventional times.
Exercise is something that often gets left behind when we’re busy and stressed out. But, exercise keeps you fit and healthy, boosts your mental health, and even makes it easier to focus on work. Schedule exercise in, and you are more likely to do it. This could be anything to morning yoga, a few trips to the gym a week, or a walk after dinner.
Consider Changes to Your Household Expenses
When you work from home, your household expenses change. If you’ve got unlimited data with your internet package, this shouldn’t be affected. But, other bills like electric and gas might go up if you are spending far more time at home, online, and plugged in.
You can claim some of this extra expenditure back as a taxable expense, but you will still have to pay it, and it is something that you should be prepared for.
Build a Support Network
Working from home can be very lonely, especially if you are used to having people around you all of the time. Even those people that don’t like their colleagues, and don’t consider them friends, often miss the social aspects of a workplace.
You do get used to working alone quickly, but you should still make an effort to speak to people. Arrange to see friends and family, and think about building a support network online. There are plenty of home workers out there looking for support, and online communities are valuable.
Make Sure You’ve Got What You Need
Think about what you need to do your job. Your first thought might be “my laptop,” but is that really all? Do you need a printer, paper, and ink? Do you need notepads and pens? Folders and files? Plenty of coffee? Think realistically about the supplies that you need to do your job at home, and make sure you’ve got them close to hand before you get started.