If you’re a person who works from home then it goes without saying that you should have somewhere where you can work privately without any noise or distractions. Whilst having a kitchen or dining table is great, you should really think about turning a spare room into a professional home office, or partitioning one of your rooms to create a divide. It’s important to differentiate your work area from a room where you usually relax. Having a desk in your bedroom, for example, is a bad idea. Your bedroom is the place where you unwind and sleep so it's not a space you want to start associating with work.
Always keep your working area organised and tidy. This will create a professional working environment and will help you to keep your priorities in order. It’s easy to get caught up in your workload but just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t need a break. Also, it’s very important to stretch your legs and leave the desk every once in a while. Doing so will help you to stay alert and will increase your productivity. Fresh air is also important, so take a break and go for a little stroll outside. Maintaining a good work-life balance is crucial when it comes to feeling satisfied and healthy. However, you need to get the balance right or you could run the risk of distracting yourself from your work too much and struggling to concentrate.
Treat your working area like an actual office. This will make you feel like you really are in work, rather than in a room at home. Dressing the part can also help you feel more professional, rather than sitting there in your pyjamas. Make sure your workspace is well organised so that you can access any paperwork quickly and easily.
I remember a story I heard some years ago about a guy who worked from home and every morning he got dressed in his shirt and tie, left the house as if leaving for work, walked around the block, back into his house and sat down at his desk - he had arrived at work!
Another potential obstacle is procrastination. It’s easy to get distracted – especially if you’re alone and there is no one around to bring you back to earth. An effective way of tackling this is to set a routine for yourself. Creating a rota for your day will help you to stay on track. Break down your day into sections such as:
- 9am – Check emails
- 10 am – Paperwork
- 12 pm – Lunch break
- 1pm – Type up reports
- 3pm – Update databases
- 4pm – Send out emails
- 5pm – Finish
Creating a timetable like this will not only help you stay on track – it will also ensure that you don’t spend too much time concentrating on one task and not enough time on another.
In general, working from home isn’t so different to being in an employer's workplace. After all, in any job, you still have tasks to finish and your targets to meet. People who work from home are usually happy and successful in their jobs. So, as long as you have boundaries in place, there’s no reason why you can’t make a success of your career without having to leave your front door…
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