There are usually two different reactions you receive when you tell someone you work from home. One is, “I’m so jealous! I wish I could lay around in my PJs all day,” and the other is, “How do you do it? I don’t think I would have the self-control.” While working from home has its pros and cons, there are a few ways to stay on task, get your work done and enjoy spending your day your way, which isn’t always in your PJs.
Set Your Hours
When you’re making your own schedule, it’s tempting to put things off and procrastinate when you have the newest episode of Scandal on your DVR, which is a terrible habit to fall into. Conversely, when you don’t work on a 9-to-5 schedule, you can find yourself working at all hours, which can be just as detrimental to your health and well being. The best way to avoid these drawbacks of working from home is to set your hours and stick to them. Let your boss, clients and coworkers know when they can expect you to be on, and when they should wait until Monday. This will give you focus during work hours and help you free your mind when you’re done.
Have an ‘Office’
Even though the idea of work-life balance is fading quickly, it’s important to have a set place where you work in your home. Whether its the kitchen table or a small room under the stairs, it’s critical to have a place that you can focus and get work done that isn’t your bed. Yes, we all have a tendency to answer a few emails from bed when we’re having a rough start in the morning, but designating a separate place in your house will help you mentally transition from home-mode to work-mode without walking out the door.
Take Breaks and See People
One of the number-one complaints I hear from people who work from home is how isolating it can feel. Sitting in the same room by yourself every day can put you in a lonely, depressed state, which will impact your productivity and happiness. It’s crucial that you take breaks, go for a run or work from a coffee shop every once in a while so you can have human interaction and be exposed to new things. You can also buy a membership at a co-working space, which is a great way to meet others with similar work situations and get out of the house when you need to. Some co-working space memberships are as low as $30 a month, and most spaces have free coffee all day. What more could you want?!
When you don’t see your boss and coworkers every day, the importance of communication increases tenfold. Not communicating, whether it’s via email or text, can create the illusion that you’re not working, even when you are. The best way to maintain communication when you work from home is to set times to check in with your team and your clients. They are able to rely on the schedule you set, and never have to wonder if you’re working or pulling a Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone.
Transitioning from a corporate office to working from home isn’t easy, but the more routine you put in place, the better. Creating structure will help you accomplish tasks, meet deadlines and unwind when you’re off the clock. Also, some caffeine helps (this is my new favorite.)