Think working from home is a dream come true? It can be, but it can also be a huge challenge. Whether you’re self-employed or answer to a boss, you have obligations that must be met. It takes careful planning and a fierce determination to make working from home work.
5 Tips to Working from Home and Making it Work
1. Create Boundaries. Have a dedicated work space. If there are two of you, make sure you each have the space and equipment you need. Keep it separate from the rest of your home. If you don’t have office space, use room dividers or decorative items to give the illusion of separation. Eliminate clutter and set up for maximum efficiency. Think about your work style and decorate accordingly. Do you prefer bold, energizing colors, or do you need calm, peaceful tones?
Don’t use your workspace for anything but work. Don’t fold your laundry or make a sandwich on your desk. If you work with a laptop, feel free to move to another room, or even outside, when you need a change of scenery. That’s a work-from-home bonus. However, the bedroom is 100 percent off limits to anything related to work. Let your bedroom be your sanctuary. Boundaries are important.
2. Set Your Hours, but Be Flexible. There are two dangers in working from home. One is that you will become too easily distracted and neglect your work. The other is that you will work all the time and neglect other things. It’s a good idea to set general work hours so you’ll at least think about clocking in and clocking out at a certain time of day.
Flexibility is one of the major perks of working from home. If it’s a slow Tuesday and you’re feeling unproductive, there’s no need to chain yourself to your desk. Knock off and do something fun. You can catch up when it’s more convenient. The key is balance.
3. Dress Up. Seriously. You don’t have to put on your pearl necklace and high heels or sport a tie, but don’t hang around in your pajamas or bathrobe. Dressing up sets the tone and makes it easier to stay on track.
4. Give Yourself a Break. People who work at home need breaks, too, but don’t feel you must use those breaks to perform household chores, unless that’s what makes you happy. Take a walk around the block or play with your pet. It’ll perk you up and renew your energy. Eat healthy snacks, but don’t eat meals at your desk.
5. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew. If you work at home, you’re not really working–you’re sort of retired–you’re independently wealthy–you don’t have any responsibilities–you’ve got all the time in the world–well, that’s what a lot of people think, anyway. When they hit you up for free services or volunteer work, be strong. Give only what you can reasonably handle and no more. It’s not wrong to say no.