Whether you are a business owner, freelancer or a remote worker, it’s great that you have the option to work from home. While the idea of working from home is often welcomed, you might soon come to realise that it is not as easy and straightforward as it seems.
After all, your home is not designed specifically for work. With this is mind, let me share with you 15 tips so you can enjoy the time you spend working at home.
How to Enjoy Working from Home
1. Evaluate if you and your job is suitable for working from home
Some people prefer a deskbound job, while others prefer a role that requires them to be out and about. Similarly, while some people prefer to work from home, there are also people who prefer to spend their work hours in an office setting. Ask yourself, which do you prefer?
Now, even if you prefer to work from home, you will also need to evaluate if your job is suitable for it. For example, roles such as a nurse or an assembly line worker that require you to be at a certain place physically cannot be done remotely.
2. Ensure your superiors are committed to telecommuting policies
If you are a remote employee, in most cases, your company should have telecommuting policies in place for you and other remote workers.
Examples of such policies include:
– When and how often you can work remotely
– The schedule for weekly or monthly meetings with your manager to evaluate your work performance
– Who would be responsible for the equipment or tools required for working remotely
Once the policies are laid out and agreed on by you and your superiors, you will need to ensure that they commit to them. One problem that remote workers commonly face is that their superiors tend to “forget” about them, since they are not present in the office.
This results in team members who work in the office receiving a heavier workload, and remote workers receiving subpar performance evaluation as they have less opportunities to shine. To avoid this, you will need to ensure your manager commits to the weekly or monthly meetings with you to discuss your work performance on a regular basis.
3. Build trust with your team members
Besides your manager, you will also need the support of your team members. In some cases, team members who are present in the office could get the impression that they are carrying a heavier workload than you simply because they are there. To avoid ill feelings and build trust between you and your team members, you can share your work schedule with them.
One way to do this is to make your work calendar public so that they can view your activity for each day. They will also be able to easily see when you are available and set up a meeting with you without having to ask you when you are free. The more transparent you are, the easier it will be to build trust with your team.
4. Dedicate an area at home for work
Even though you are working at home, there is a need to segregate your “work” and “living” area so you won’t start to think of work when you are relaxing in your living area and vice versa. If you have an extra room for this, that’s great! If you don’t, you can simply set up a work desk at a quieter area in your house.
5. Set clear boundaries
Once you have set aside a space at home specifically for work, you will need to make sure your family members understand that when you are there, it means you are at work and they should not be disturbing. This includes your spouse, children and even pets!
Communicate this to your family members from day one. You will find this to be extremely beneficial especially if you don’t have an extra room set aside for work to keep out distractions. The less distractions you have while working from home, the better you will be able to focus, stay on task and complete your work productively.
6. Have the tools you need
Make sure you have access to the tools and apps you require for work. These could include video conferencing apps like Skype, file sharing utilities like Dropbox and other platforms specific to your company.
Last but not least, ensure your Internet speed at home is capable of supporting these tools and apps. It would be embarrassing and frustrating to have your video calls disrupted by unstable Internet connection!
7. Have the equipment you need
Most people working from home will need an up-to-date computer to run the tools and apps mentioned previously. You should also adequately protect your computer with antivirus and firewall applications.
On top of that, you may also need other equipment such as a printer, webcam and stationery. Make sure you have everything you need so as not to disrupt your work.
8. Keep your work area clean
Nobody enjoys being in a filthy environment, let alone work in one. If you snack at your desk, give it a wipe down at the end of your work day and clear the rubbish bin. Don’t give ants and cockroaches a chance to visit you!
9. Invest in ergonomics
As you will be at work for several hours a day, you should set up your workstation for comfort. Consider spending a little more on an ergonomic mouse, ergonomic keyboard, or even an ergonomic chair. If you find certain parts of your body aching at the end of a work day, address it as soon as possible before it aggravates and turns into chronic pain.
10. Commit to your work hours
Despite working from home, you should decide on your working hours and stick to them. This way, you will be “pressured” to complete your day’s tasks within those hours so you can “knock off” on time.
Having fixed working hours will help your mind to switch on and off at the right times so you can be in work mode when you’re supposed to work and be in a relaxed mode when it’s time to rest. Strive for work-life balance!
11. Put your devices away
We are now more connected to each other than ever. However, this connectivity can make us feel like we are “always on”, which can soon lead to unnecessary stress and fatigue. Make sure to put away your devices (such as your laptop and phone) at times when you are supposed to rest i.e. meal times, bed times and holidays.
I always make it a point to catch up with my family over meal times instead of scrolling through social media on my phone. In addition, I steer clear of my work laptop at least two hours before bed time so my mind has time to “disconnect” from work. I find that this helps me to get better sleep at night.
12. Avoid handling personal tasks during work hours
Once you have decided on your work hours, you should communicate that to your family members too. This will help you to avoid being tasked with personal errands to run when you are supposed to be working. If you absolutely have to do the laundry in the day, schedule it to coincide with your lunch break so as to minimise the distraction to your work day.
13. Get a separate phone line for work
If your work requires you to be on the phone regularly, I would strongly recommend you to get a phone line meant specifically for work. This will help you to separate your work life and personal life. The last thing you’ll want is to be repeatedly disturbed by work notifications when you’re trying to take your mind off work.
14. Get out of your house
With food delivery services such as Foodpanda and GrabFood available, it has become possible for a person to coop at home for days. While this might seem like a great idea, especially when you are working from home, I would advise against doing this.
Humans are social beings and need social interaction. Some people need it more, while others need it less. If you find yourself starting to feel down and gloomy, you should get out of the house. It could be as simple as getting lunch, taking a coffee break or running an errand in the neighbourhood.
15. Have a long term plan
Saving the best for last! Personally, I feel that the most important point is to have a long term plan, be it for yourself or for your business, or both. When you are “fighting the war” alone at home, you can end up feeling lost over time. You may start wondering if you are doing things right or even doubt yourself.
That is when an actionable long term plan comes into play. Break down your yearly goals into quarterly or weekly milestones. This will help to break down your seemingly impossible goal into less intimidating steps. In turn, this will help you to feel less overwhelmed and more motivated. Remember, every little milestone that you conquer is worth celebrating!
TL;DR? Here’s the list for a quick glance through.
- Evaluate if you and your job is suitable for working from home
- Ensure your superiors are committed to telecommuting policies
- Build trust with your team members
- Dedicate an area at home for work
- Set clear boundaries
- Have the tools you need
- Have the equipment you need
- Keep your work area clean
- Invest in ergonomics
- Commit to your work hours
- Put your devices away
- Avoid handling personal tasks during work hours
- Get a separate phone line for work
- Get out of your house
- Have a long term plan
Sharing is caring – if you have any tips or personal experiences to share, please comment below! 🙂