I started working from home at the beginning of January and quickly learned that there are a fair share of cons to go along with all of the pros.
Working from home has eliminated our issue with getting deliveries since someone (me) is always home to sign for them. It has also saved me a lot of money – £6 per day since I’m not commuting, and £7 more since I’m not going out for lunch! I also get to wear comfy clothes to work, which I really can’t complain about!
The two things I’ve struggled with most, though, are 1) productivity, and 2) not leaving the house. While I still get all of my work done, my desk is in my bedroom, and sometimes it’s far too hard to resist the temptation of my warm, comfy bed! I’ll admit that I once had to add two hours on to my work day because I fell asleep after climbing in! I’ve also been going a bit stir crazy, and my FitBit is probably crying inside on the days where my step count barely reaches 500. I feel like I’m moving around during the day, but I can only take so many steps in this one bedroom flat! Over the weekend, I realized that I actually hadn’t left my house the entire week and it made me want to cry.
I’m still getting into the groove of this and have a lot left to figure out, but here are some of my tips on how to stay productive (& sane!) while working from home:
Get dressed everyday
You don’t have to put on a pencil skirt, but get out of your bathrobe! Following your routine to get ready in the morning, even though you aren’t going anywhere, will wake you up and kickstart your day. Hey, if you make your bed, you’ve already started your day with an accomplishment!
Keep yourself busy
Like with every job, you will sometimes run out of things to do. When you’re at home and that moment strikes, it’s very easy to throw on some Netflix and completely forget about the work day. Try to keep a running list of low priority items – these could be updating the text on the website, researching some new job posting websites, or completing additional testing on an upcoming feature. When you’ve finished all of the work you are meant to do, start working on those smaller tasks. At least you are still doing something to benefit the company, and it will keep you busy until you can link up with someone else.
Set small goals daily
I find this to be one of the most important items. When you don’t have human interaction with your colleagues on a daily basis, it is easy to get discouraged and feel disconnected. If you set small personal goals, at least you can still feel like you are accomplishing something – a major confidence booster! These goals can vary from completing a task you have been working on for awhile to reaching out to touch base with a chunk of your customers to getting through all of the emails that come through to you on that day. When you achieve your goal, it will give you a productivity boost to keep pushing through the rest of the day!
Work away from home at least a few hours per week
Do you have a local cafe that you absolutely love, or a library where you know you can get some peace and quiet? Leave the house for even just a few hours a week and try working in a different environment. This could mean sitting outside your house for a few hours when it is warm out or commuting across the city to a public workspace. Mixing up your environment will keep you feeling fresh, and a break from the everyday distractions such as your growing pile of laundry and half-assembled bookshelf will keep you focused on your work.
Take every opportunity to leave the house
This could be anything from volunteering to go to a conference to meeting with a client based within commutable distance in person instead of over the phone. Research networking events in your area, make yourself known to your clients in the area, and ensure all of your coworkers know where you are based. Make your case for attending a relevant event and it is likely your company will support you. A quick lunch meeting could be much more productive than a three hour phone meeting – and it will get you out of the house!
I’m sure this list will grow as I get more comfortable working from home, but it’s a great start for anybody just starting out. If you give these tips a go from the beginning, you’ll feel more productive and focus more on the positives of working from home, as opposed to driving yourself crazy with the negatives!