Working at home isn’t for everyone. Sure there are the benefits of no commute, a very flexible schedule, the relative freedom to work as you see fit, and not having to put up with annoying coworkers, but it can all quickly go wrong. A lot of people both from your personal and professional side of life will try to take advantage of your new found freedom, and soon work and personal life will become a blur, with you not being able to lead either very well.
Once you have made the decision to work from home and have properly set up your home office there are a few things you’ll have to consciously commit to.
Set your Boundaries
It is a little difficult to try and explain to your friends and family that you cannot be bothered during your working hours, but it must be the first thing you have to do as they are prone to be a major source of distraction. Let them know that you are working an actual job, and will only be available for them at certain times. It helps to be able to compartmentalize your work and personal life, and having an actual separate room for an office is the best way to do it. This way you can ensure that both personal and work issues both stay in their designated spaces and don’t overlap. If you have children that still need supervision it might be a good idea to ire some help, like a sitter or a nanny.
Set a Routine and Stick to it
Aside from wanting to avoid the daily hassle of commuting to work, being available and able to take care of other things especially at home is a big reason to have a home office. Set a schedule that allows for both your work, and your house chores and personal errands, and don’t forget to include time for breaks. The objective is to set a schedule that allows you to be at your most productive with the minimum amount of stress.
Get out of the House
While five to 15 minute breaks are fine, it will do you some good if you take the time to step out of the house once in a while. Simply taking a walk outside will allow you to clear your mind, and interaction with others will help improve your mood and give you new ideas.
Take care of your Body
Chances are you lead a sedentary lifestyle due to being stuck at your desk a lot. Now that you have more time for yourself, you can make up for it by eating right, drinking a lot of fluids, and exercising a bit. A little physical activity gets the blood flowing and helps rest your mind. Another thing you could do is have a regular relaxation or spa day just to recharge.
Watch your Hours
Because nobody keeps tabs on you, you will have to do it yourself. If you are expected to deliver a certain amount of work at a given time, schedule it so it can be done a little at a time and do the work on the scheduled day. Missing a day or two because you were lazy or trying to catch up on “Parks and Recreation” will add up little by little and you might find yourself having to pull an all-nighter or two.
Deliver the Goods
The best way to establish your employers trust in you is to constantly deliver on time. Being productive is the best way to show that you do not need supervision and can work perfectly well from home. You will be your own taskmaster, so set quotas and goals for yourself and work toward them. Try also to involve yourself more by taking part in meetings and brainstorming sessions. It is easy nowadays to set up a videoconference using a VoIP service, so you can still add your input from the comfort of your own home.