Working from home is one of those luxury concepts that us office folk often dream about. No doubt on your morning commute, you’ve pondered daily lie ins, the all-day pyjama parties and maybe even phoning into that ever-so-dull weekly meeting from the comfort of your own bed.
Sure, there are a lot of pros to working from home, especially if it’s something you only do for part of the week. I know from previous jobs, a day or so spent at home meant I could smash out my to do list without all of the usual office distractions. However, to successfully work from home every day takes dedication, discipline and focus. So, seeing as I’ve now officially been WFH for over six months, I thought I’d put together a few of my top tips on how to motivate yourself, be productive and not lose your mind.
Create A Work Space
If you’re new to working at home, this is a pretty important one and is something that often gets overlooked. Do not try and work from your bed or your sofa! It doesn’t put you in the right frame of mind to get your head down and do some work. You’ll probably be more tempted to have a quick snooze or catch up on Netflix!
When I found out I was going to working from home, I spent hours on Pinterest dreaming up and then creating my perfect office space. Because remember, just like a proper office, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in there and so it needs to be an inspiring space. Oh and also, invest in a comfy chair! I spent my first few weeks sitting on this beauty and although it looks great, your back soon pays the price.
Structure Your Day
Whether I’m in the office or at home, my day always starts with a to do list. I bloody love a list and I often have about 3 different ones on the go, but I have found them even more useful since being at home.
I seem to get the majority of my admin/maths based work done in the morning, yet by mid-afternoon I would rather spend time doing something a little more creative. I have no idea why, but knowing this allows me to structure my day around it. So when I’m writing out my tasks for the day, I ensure (whereever possible) they’re timed to when I am most likely to get stuck in and do that particular task. It honesty works wonders and helps to stop the mind wandering… or the feet wandering downstairs to search the contents of the fridge.
Get Out of the House
About a month or so ago I was having a really crappy week and I suddenly realised I hadn’t left my house in days. If, like me, you enjoy being around people, the isolation of working from home is definitely the hardest part. I seriously miss the office banter and general chit chat!
To combat feeling like Mr or Ms Lonely Pants, make sure you schedule some time during the week to get out of the house, whether that’s working from your local coffee shop, going for a walk or heading to the gym in the evening. You will honestly feel so much better after a little human interaction.
Wear Whatever You Want
I have read so many crappy tips on working from home and so many of them tell you to get “properly” dressed for work. Personally, I think this is a loada’ rubbish. One of the biggest pros to working from home is the fact you can literally wear whatever the hell you want. I’m usually makeup free and in my gym gear! But whether you’re wearing your PJs or a shirt and tie (or a combo of them both, god damn Skype calls), who cares as long as you get the work done.
One of the strangest things I’ve found about working from home is the guilt factor. If I make a coffee and I miss a call, or if I take a walk into town to pick up some lunch, I get this massive pang of guilt. There’s a self-inflicted pressure when you work from home that you must be available and working all day, every day. Weird when you consider the amount of time that is wasted in an office.
Personally I’ve never been great at taking breaks. Even at school I used to think lunch time was a waste of time. I’d rather have eaten in class and got the hell outta’ there earlier! So when it came to working, I’ve always been an eat at my desk and plough on through kinda’ gal. But at home, where there are no distractions, it’s just you and your laptop (and in my case a seriously annoying feline), you need to take the occasional 5 mins out to keep yourself sane.
If you’re new to WFH, my final bit of advice is to bear with it. It’s super strange at first and you’ll have good days and bad days, but soon enough you’ll get into a routine and it will become the norm. Thinking about it, going back into the office might even become a little scary… long arse team huddles and endless corporate jargon? Hmmm… maybe working from home isn’t so bad after all.