In todays digital age it is becoming more and more possible to set up a home office and I’ve got a few tips to help you work from home successfully.
When my husband and I relocated to a small town in the middle of nowhere in South Africa, I was fortunate enough to keep my job and set up a home office. I work in digital advertising and everything I do is online, I can work anywhere if I have a computer and good wifi signal.
I’ve been working from home for the past 7 months, and I don’t think I will ever be able to go back to working in a traditional office environment full time.
My commute is 15 seconds, I have control over the AC temperature, I get to play my own music plus I even save money because I no longer spend it on fuel or quick lunches at Woolies.
Working from home does offer one more flexibility, less stress and it can improve your productivity. However, to achieve this you have to be self disciplined and do it right from the start.
These are the steps I am taking to make it a success:
1. Get Dressed
If you don’t get dressed in the mornings, you won’t be productive. It is as simple as that. Treat every weekday as if you need to go to the office. You don’t need to wear heals and formal office attire but at least dress up in anything other than pajamas.
2. Keep a routine
Set your alarm and be ready when the workday starts. If you work for yourself it’s a good guideline to setup a schedule. Choose the times you are most productive and stick to that schedule.
Employees also tend to think because you are at home you are available to work any time, especially to deal with that one urgent client request that came in late. This can easily make you work more hours than what you used to in-house. Don’t over compromise if you are not getting paid for it, stick to your contracted hours.
3. Set up a separate work space
It is imperative to keep your work life and personal life separate and the only way to do this is to create a designated area for work. I have a separate room for my office and psychologically it puts me in the right mindset . I immediately go into work mode when I am there and when I leave I can completely shut down so that I can fully enjoy the rest of my home as part of my personal life. On Friday afternoon I close the door, and will only return on Monday when the new week starts.
4. Learn how to manage your own time
You have the flexibility to plan you day so make the most of it. If you learn to manage your time and workload effectively you will have more time for yourself. Enjoy the simple freedoms, such as going for a walk earlier or getting house chores done.
It’s important not to compromise your schedule when you do allow yourself some freedom, and always be available if you are still on the clock.
5. Be top of mind
Out of sigh out of mind comes into play when you work from home. Schedule Skype calls with your boss and colleagues, to show you are still relevant and present.
I make it a point to get to the office every 2 months just to show face. Had I lived closer, I’d be doing it more often. If you do, schedule a lunch or pop into the office every now and then just to maintain those office relationships. It also helps to stay in the loop with what’s happening in and around the office. You don’t want to miss any opportunities to advance your career.
6. Get out
When you live and work in the same place, your world can become very small. To keep a sane mind you need a change of scenery. I try to leave the house during lunchtime, or when I really feel the need to escape I choose to work from a nearby coffee shop.