‘Working from home has got to be awesome?’ – Many people definitely think about the great advantages and freedom of working at home instead of coming into the office. But have you ever thought about the downside of this type of work?
Let’s begin with the positive aspects. Working from home means avoiding the commute, being able to spend your lunch in the garden or get some household chores done, when you take a break. Think about the rising costs on petrol or train fares, which will definitely make it unaffordable and not worth it to travel to work every day. Moreover, if you are a business owner, saving up on the commuting costs, you will also cut down costs on buying or renting office space.
So what could destroy this wonderful dream job scenario?
Initially, you will start to work solo at home, which can leave you isolated and demotivated if you don’t take care to keep cabin fever at bay. This is one of the main motivational drivers of being socially interactive at work. Hence, the work-balance between the employees at work and at home would be nearly non-existent. Getting quick answers or data from employees working from home will also likely take longer.
Another problem will always be the temptation of checking your social sites every now and then or watch some TV at home. Obviously, at work you won’t have this amount of free space.
But to make this ‘work at home’ experience as efficient as possible, I have listed five helpful tips. Those guidelines should help you in being productive and happy at the same time, while only working couple of miles away from your office.
1. Separate Your Workspace from Your Leisure Space
How difficult this is to achieve depends largely on the size of your house or flat of course. Ideally you’ll have a study designated for work and be able to escape to your living room in the evening. If you don’t have the luxury of a separate study, then whether you work from your kitchen table or the living room sofa, be sure to tidy away all your documents and other work-related paraphernalia at the end of a ‘shift’, so you can properly switch off without work reminders floating about.
2. Get Your Social Interaction where You can
If you’re running a business where you need to speak on the phone with customers or suppliers frequently then this problem looks after itself to a large extent. However, if you’re, say, running a website and there’s less need for sales calls, you could make the occasional call to family or friends. Humans are social animals so visit friends and family rather than resorting to talking to yourself!
3. Escape the Office at Lunchtime
Break up your day by visiting clients or attending exhibitions or networking events. It doesn’t have to be work-related, you need respite from work, so go for a long walk occasionally. This is invaluable insulation from becoming stir-crazy.
4. Relocate Your ‘Office’ Occasionally
OK, so you can’t justify paying for an office, but think creatively. There are plenty of alternative places to work. Visit your local library or a coffee shop one day a week. Although some of these places may not be quiet enough or equipped for certain types of work. However, you could save less demanding work – reading documents, for example – for sitting in the park or a café. You know what they say about life, variety and spice…
5. Go Out in the Evenings
Whether it’s the cinema, the pub or a friend’s house, it’s more imperative for a home worker to leave his flat/house than for someone based in premises. If you’ve spent all day at home then cabin fever might stalk you at night if you stay in during the evening as well.