This is the first reaction most people have when you tell them you work from your own home full time. Being ‘stuck’ 24/7 at your own house feels like a nightmare to many; they become social experts suddenly understanding your potential lack in social skills and, to top it all off, they’ll start to perform a quiet, internal psychoanalysis of you. Till you interrupt them with the perks of it.
In today’s world, can you name 5 humans under 40 that work in the office alone and never bring their work home? I don’t think so. Everybody, at some point or another, brings their work home!
Working from home has its many benefits but till you figure them out, you can feel stressed and trapped in your own home. There are multiple elements you need to consider and also need to master your own methods of doing things. It takes some time do adapt to the fact that you are working from home. And it takes some time to avoid the traps.
Time to work, time to play. Time needs to be managed anyway
Whether you are working remotely full time or just a couple of days a month, you need to know the number of hours you will be committed to work and work alone. That means not only knowing your working hours but knowing when to stop working. If you don’t know when to stop you’ll end up working too many hours that will leave you tired, exhausted, stressed and drained.
It’s unhealthy, disorganized and non-productive. You can either stop at a certain hour or, if your to-do list / deadline demands it, go a little overboard till you finish.
This is the first real difference between working from home and from the office. When you work from the office, chances are you’ll just get up from your chair at a certain time and go. Treat your time the same when you work from home. This first know-how is tied to your next know-how - planning.
Plan ahead, execute, evaluate. Rinse and repeat
When working in general, and especially when working from home, the most important is that you simply must know what to do and when to do it. There are so many task management softwares that you can use to your advantage.
Chances are the company you are working with is using one. If not, find them online, test them and until you figure out what’s working for you, use the simple pen and paper method and write down your daily tasks. The usage of a pen and agenda has been around for centuries and it will never fail as a system. It’s not only good to know when you’ve done something but it will also set you up for mastering your own organizational skills.
Plan your breaks! Oh, you’ve read that correctly. Set a time during your working hours when you will not only get up from your desk but actually get out of the house. If you have a 30min lunch break - why not go and have lunch in a local park, bar, restaurant? Invite your friends that work or live nearby to have lunch at the same time. Or simply have lunch and go for a 10min walk around the block and have some fresh air. This way you will detach from your work, clear your head and come back in refreshed.
Everybody holds their own space
You need your space to work. No question about that. You need at least 4 things: a desk, a chair, a computer and a plug. If you have a home office - an entire room where you can close the door and do your magic - that’s fantastic! But, most of you don’t, so here’s what you need to do. You need to have a corner in a room where you will install your desk and your computer.
Ideally you would use something to close yourself in if necessary, and close it off when you are done. Why? Out of sight, out of mind. Once you are done with your work day, you want to ‘leave the office’. A simple curtain, screen or paravent will do the trick. Something that will be nice to look at but no one can see what’s on the other side. Including you. This is a psychological gesture that will send signals to your brain exactly the same as if you were in an actual office.
The suit does make a man
Yeah, right. Because when it comes to business, you don't go around in your pj’s if you want people to take you seriously. Having a morning routine sets you up for a great day whether you work from home or in an office. Even if nobody will see you during the day, you will not be effective working in your pj’s.
Try it out yourself, start your day by waking up 10 minutes before you’re supposed to start your work day and go straight from your bed to your desk and work all day. Now, start your day an hour earlier, have your nice breakfast, coffee, bathroom time and you’ll see a clean, polished, nice-smelling, dressed for success person in the mirror.
The attitude and the prejudice about working from home
When you are in your work mode you have a certain attitude - you mean business. This will be clear to all the people you're communicating with during working hours, throughout all means of communication. One thing leads to another - know your time, your schedule, your space, how to dress for success; and these 3 things will constantly remind you that you are in your work mode. Not to mention that potential visitors to your working area will pick up this attitude and leave you alone.
Also, by having a business mode attitude you will more likely not answer to your mother's (non-urgent!) call, not scroll on social media till night falls and won't run personal errands during the time in which you are supposed to be working.
The biggest prejudices about people that work from home are that they are actually doing housework all day instead of working; they are missing the social aspect of a business office; they are loners and often depressed.
The facts are that you don’t have that much housework to do all day every day, so you are actually working; you don’t miss social aspects of a business since you’re constantly communicating with your team; you are not a loner - you are seeing in person people you like and love; nor are you depressed since you’re not commuting every day, you’re not stuck in traffic for at least an hour a day.
Chances are, when you work from home - you are more likely to turn out to be an efficient, organized employee that has set themselves up to be on a great path of finding a perfect work-life balance. Hope this post got you thinking and also gives you an insight into working from home.
Thanks for reading!