Working from home sounds like a doddle to people who are desk-bound at the office, but blurring the boundaries between your family life and your professional one can cause problems. Here are ten ways to make home-working easier…
1. Create your own office
Designate an area of the house as your office. It could be a separate room if you’re lucky, a corner space in the lounge, or even under the stairs! This will help to keep home life and work life separate.
2. Splash some colour
Brighten up your work space with office accessories. Splash some colour and style on your desk with cheap but cheerful files, pen holders, notepads and photo frames. Creating a workspace you enjoy sitting down at will make you more productive.
3. Don’t miss out on morning tea
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on those office morning tea breaks. Treat yourself to a takeaway frothy cappuccino every once in a while too, if you can. It’ll give you a great excuse to get out of the house.
4. Put the phone down
Much of our communication can be done via email and phone these days, but nothing beats meeting people face-to-face – especially if you’re going stir crazy and getting a bit lonely. Arrange for one or two of your meetings each month to be held in person – you often get better results anyway.
5. Keep housework separate
It’s all too easy to get distracted by that pile of washing, the beds that need to be made, or the dishwasher that is waiting to be unloaded. You can’t do the vacuuming while you’re at the office so don’t do it while you’re working from home.
6. Get out of your PJs
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you need to dress like a slob. Get up and ready for work and you’ll feel better about the day ahead and will probably work more efficiently. That’s not to say you can’t wear slippers instead of high heels though!
7. Make every day different
Divide your tasks up throughout the week and allocate a different day to each one. That way, you’ll be in a routine but you won’t get bored – and you’ll still be able to get everything done!
8. Don’t get addicted to daytime TV
You’re entitled to a lunch break – but if you’re going to spend it watching daytime TV, make sure you turn it off. Don’t spend the afternoon in front of the box. Record the programme and save it for the evening instead.
9. Keep a time sheet
Record the hours you spend working on different tasks. Include any breaks you take and any time you may spend distracted by housework – it does happen! This will help you to see when you’re at your most productive.
10. Work outside the home
Take your laptop to the coffee shop, the library or a communal meeting place where other professionals meet. You’ll still be able to get your work done, but it will be a change of scene.
And finally… be flexible
Create a routine that suits you and make the most of those hours in the day when you’re most productive – it could be in the evening when the kids are in bed or very early in the morning before the school run.