Working from home can have its benefits but getting work into your home can have some negative aspects.
You will probably discover you will decrease your productivity, will work longer hours, and balancing your work life and your personal life can be challenging. With a little advice, you can actually bring your work home without any great complications.
If you will be working from home due to self quarantining from the Coronavirus, you are now working for a home-based company, or have chosen a career to work from home permanently, you should learn how to boost your career while remaining happy along the way.
This is not about office colors or great ideas for building a home office. There are some rules and set boundaries you need to enforce in order to succeed.
Don’t fall into the trap that working from home means you do not have to pay for pet care or child care. That kind of thinking will eventually derail your plans in a very short period of time. Do not fool yourself into thinking you no longer need a babysitter or dog walker – wrong!
If you have older kids, it’s a lot easier to set your boundaries while you are working. You can create signals to let your kids know that at this time you cannot be disturbed. If you are working in a room, consider hanging a sign saying “Do Not Disturb” or “Work In Progress”.
There are signs in stores and usually in stationery stores to find one that works best for you.
It’s really hard for kids to resist disturbing you while you are working. You might try hanging a chalkboard outside the door for them to leave messages or what they need to talk to you about.
It’ll be easier to remember when you have finished working to get with them and not be blindsided when you finally get to talk to them.
When it comes to your dog, you need to schedule walks every few hours or so. You can both get the chance to stretch your legs while you are fighting off the urge to get away from the computer for a bit.
Even though it might be appealing to use your couch as a bed, it doesn’t mean you should. You should designate a room or an area so you can form a mental border between working and resting.
If you do not have a home office, find a space that has enough room and surface area for you to work and won’t lead to laptop neck and back issues. Some people choose the dining room table but make sure you clean up after yourself at the end of your day.
You do not want to spread your workday into your family time.
Holly Reisem Hanna, Texas-based career expert, claims that you should have a room that energizes you by offering the most natural light and a great view. Hanna likes to use her kitchen for those exact reasons.
How does your new found room make you feel? If you feel stagnant, find another room that gives you positive energy, allowing you to create a good workflow.
In other words, you want a space that is safe and efficient.
Arrange your chair, computer, desk, or table, keyboard, mouse, and telephone so you can work more productively while preventing any possible injuries.
Once you have your chosen space, above and beyond all else, keep it clean.
A cluttered workspace will tangle up your thoughts and cause many distractions. For instance, a stack of unopened mail will nag at your for hours on end. Take this mail and move it to its own bin, out of sight and out of mind.
You do not want your chosen space to drag you down, you want it to energize you. This does not mean you must be a neat worker, you just need a place to file papers from inboxes so you are not staring at them all day long.
Limit the stuff on your desk to only stuff you are currently working on and maybe a few things that will inspire you, such as a plant or artwork.
If your space has a closet, all the better. You can stow away your supplies, chargers, earphones, etc.
This will save you from running everywhere looking for something. Phone numbers are essential should your computer go down and it’s well beyond a simple fix. Keep in mind, you will not have techs coming in and out of your new home office.
You must structure a routine that will help you adapt to your new working environment.
Keep in mind, your concentration can go down in as short a time as 20 minutes so set a schedule to work for 20 minutes then break for 20 seconds. When taking a break, look 20 feet away to reset your focus and attention span.
If you have a habit of staying up late or sleeping in, you should synchronize your body clock to alert you during working hours by going outside for 15 to 20 minutes each day.
Experts have proven that sunlight helps stimulate the pineal gland which produces melatonin which is a hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycles.
You will get into a better state of mind to start your day.
Set up a schedule for taking a walk every day so you will become used to the routine. Take your dog along with your or even your kids if they will be around.
Becoming disciplined and productive working from home does not mean you should be a shut-in. Every four hours or so, break away and become face-to-face with a real person, whether a neighbor or a family member.
Michelle Goodman, author of “My So-Called Freelance Life”, highly recommends chitchatting such as emailing friends during your breaks or reaching out to coworkers over at your other office using messaging tools.