I began working from home just about a year ago and it’s taken me some time to get it right. I’m definitely not an expert but thought I’d share some tips on working from home successfully. This might be especially helpful for those of you who “work from home” occasionally. I know that often “work from home” means “not really working at all” but you can change that with a few simple strategies. Hopefully you’ll find these tips on how to work from home helpful!
- Designated space. I don’t think you necessarily need a separate office (although I’m blessed to be able to have one in our current home) but you do need a space that you designate as your workspace / “office.” It’s important that this space be honored and treated as such. For example, my husband knows if he comes home and I’m in my office not to yell up the stairs or anything because chances are high that I’m working and I may be on a call. You need an area where you can focus and concentrate and get stuff done. If you can’t set aside a room, choose a desk in a well lit area (but beware of temperature concerns – my office is upstairs and gets so hot in the summer, I need blackout curtains to keep the sun out + a fan).
- Comfortable chair. One of the best pieces of advice I received from a former boss who had worked from home for years was to invest in a comfortable chair. Since we spend so much time sitting, it is simply clutch. I’m actually thinking about switching to an exercise ball chair but until then, my chair I picked up at Staples is great – arm rests, rolls but not to easily that I move when I don’t want to and it doesn’t hurt my butt.
- The right equipment. I recently switched from using a Chromebook as my main work computer to a mac. The upgrade was solely needed. While I still LOVE my Chromebook the processing system simply couldn’t keep up with me using my computer all day every day. When I switched to the mac, I really felt more in control of my work because I was saving tons of time and frustration from having my computer system not being up to par. Think about what things will make your work life easier (a wireless printer, a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse to start) and work from there. Set yourself up for success.
- Get out there! For a social person such as myself, getting out of the house is important to me. With my running and Pure Barre addictions, I actually have no trouble in this area. I’m also committed to visiting my old coworkers every month or so for lunch or happy hour. I do a lot of lunch dates. Make sure you aren’t just stuck in your house all day everyday.
- Keep a schedule. This is big. I have a lot of autonomy for work and that requires me to really manage myself. I am the queen of lists. I make a list each weekend of what needs to get done for the week and I put it on my (paper) calendar. It keeps me accountable and helps me plan out my week. I’m lucky that I can do things like go to the grocery store at 10am on a Tuesday – but the flip side is I also find myself often working at 11pm on a Sunday evening. Keeping a schedule helps me know which days I can swing in things like a grocery store visit and the like.
What suggestions would you add to this list?
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