Whether you’ve always wanted to work at home and have finally landed the job of your dreams, have found yourself in a new stage in life that requires you start working out of your home instead of in an office, or have finally started your own business, you’re probably excited. There’s a transition period that comes with going from the office to working at home, though, and it’s not always as easy as some might think. From putting together an in-home office from which you can work to getting all of the tools you need, there’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done. Even after you have everything prepped up and start working, you will still have to figure out how to balance and manage your time, ignore your messy house, manage the kids, and so on.
If you’re making the transition from working in an office to working from home or from not working to working out of your house, here are some tips to help you get ready, keep that work-life balance, and not feel like you’re going crazy.
Set Up a Space Dedicated to Work
If you have an extra room in your house, then you should turn it into an office. Having a place you can go and close the door to shut out the rest of your house will make a big difference when it comes to working from home. If you don’t have an entire room, set up a space that’s as far out of the main traffic area as possible and dedicate it specifically and only to work. All of the supplies you need should be kept at your desk and in your space, and you should avoid using that space unless you’re working, if at all possible.
It’s easy enough to get distracted when you work in an office, but when you work at home, it seems like the distractions multiply by ten. Not only will you have the regular distractions of your phone, social media, and entertainment websites, you’ll be bombarded with distractions that are specific to home as well. From the temptation of the TV to the silent call of the dirty laundry, there are a million other things you could be doing instead of working. And, to make it all worse, if your kids, spouse, or significant other come home while you’re still on the clock, the distractions will go up even more.
Part of the reason you should set aside a workspace with a door that can close is to help you avoid distractions like the dirty laundry and to help screen off any uninvited visitors until working hours are over. A door is a great way to reduce distractions while at home, but you can also put your phone in the other room and block certain sites during the workday to help keep you on task.
Create a Schedule (and Stick to it)
Having a schedule helps to keep things under control, especially when working at home. Not only will a schedule help you feel the pressure of time and hopefully keep you getting up early enough to get your work done when you want to, but it will help you set boundaries and manage the other people in your family as well. Although kids don’t always listen and there may be emergencies or exceptions now and then, letting your family and loved ones know your office hours can help you avoid distractions and focus on getting your work done.
Stay Connected to Your Work Team
When you work at home, it’s easy to focus in on the task at hand and get lost in what you’re doing. While this may be fine if you’re working on specific tasks that won’t affect anyone else, or if you run your own business, it could negatively impact your work team if you stop communicating with them completely. Using communication tools like Skype or Slack can help you stay in constant contact with your boss and coworkers and keep them up-to-date on the status of your projects. It won’t just help you keep everyone updated on your work, though, it will help you keep you sane by giving you human interaction and helping you feel better connected to the team.
Get Up and Move Around (or Get Out of the House)
When you work at home, there’s no one to tell you to take a break, and it’s easy to get lost in your work and forget how long you’ve been sitting. If you take regular breaks at work, be sure you schedule in and set aside time for breaks at home as well. If you’re having a particularly hard day, you may want to take a walk through the kitchen, out the door, and around the block. Don’t be afraid to go “off campus” for lunch, either and grab something to go.
Getting out of your house, or at least getting up to move around a few times a day can help you break of the monotony, get a mental breather, and combat the negative effects of sitting for too long.
No matter what the reason you’ll be working from home, it’s important to prepare accordingly and make the transition from office to home life as seamless as possible. From setting up a dedicated space to eliminating all distractions during work hours, the better prepared you are, the more smoothly working from home will go.
What has you most excited about working from home?