Unprecedented times and many of us are now contemplating or being asked to work from home.
Firstly let me say from someone who has worked from home for a number of years........Working from home is AWESOME!!!!
For many of us in our professional lives working from home once in a while probably seems a luxury afforded only occasionally from our respective companies. Let me tell you now that you can be more productive in your home office than your office, office.
In your office office the distractions are well known and obvious, what stops you getting your head down to getting that report written, is often your co workers dropping by, conversing, an invite to lunch. Those social benefits that we enjoy so much about the office environment we work in.
However, in your home office YOU could become your worst own enemy! No peer pressure, no one is watching you, distractions are everywhere! Partner, kids, dog, household chores, TV, the list could go on.
SO! If you have read this far, I hope you will stay with me for a little longer to read my share of top tips for an awesome home office experience.
1. Set a routine and get up early
You won't have a daily commute (well walking down stairs perhaps) or time to get in the office so set one for yourself. I have a daily working week home office start time. I will usually hit my emails first before having breakfast and set my "TO DO" list. Often I will get at least one project started to keep my motivation high for the day.
2. Get your office ready
I am fortunate to have had space to convert a room into my home office. I have a place I can work with everything I need, laptop, phone, printer, notebook, files, good lighting, comfortable chair, home working risk assessment, fire safety measures. Find your space and convert it, a bedroom, under the stairs, but make it your home office space.
3. Establish a work schedule
Set your working day, when will you have a break? Time for lunch? I find it really useful to use my Google calendar to set my daily routine. I schedule in my phone calls, virtual meetings, I know then when I need to be super focused and keep to deadlines. I don't work from home everyday so I also plan in visiting clients, new business and what is my core work, designing and delivering training. Don't forget those home distractions! It is easy to delude yourself it is ok to have a break and watch a bit of TV, just catching up on news, or is it that Netflix box set?
4. Don't stay at home!
Even in our present isolatory phase, due to the viral outbreak, take time to move around, take exercise, walk your dog.
5. Log out of your social media accounts
Take the short cuts out from your desktop. Keep your personal stuff just that, not in home office time. Of course if like me you use social media widely in a business setting, then acknowledge that for what you are doing and again plan this in to your schedule.
6. Commit to being productive
Remember me saying working from home can be awesome? Well it can! You can be focused as the only distraction often is yourself and staying focused with clear goals can be fantastically rewarding. When you look back and see the results that otherwise you may not have achieved.
7. Choose to work when you are most productive
This means knowing when to stop work! When I first started working from home, instead of going into the office daily, I felt I had to compensate by working much longer hours than I would have done. Now, as a business owner I have this mindset anyway, as to be successful takes commitment and a never ending drive. Often then, when I have an idea and as long as I have my laptop, a note pad I will get a project going, add to an existing one or do research in preparation. So, work out what works best for you and build suitable work hours into your schedule and stick to them.
8. Don't feel guilty!
You're at home and all those home chores still need to be done! If you have washing on that needs pegging out to dry, then of course you should do so. It doesn't mean you are shirking your office time. It really doesn't!
9. Keep in touch
It can sometimes feel lonely, out of touch and isolated working from home. I am fortunate that I work with my partner who also works at home and in fact as we are business partners too, was my main reason for making the change. Skype, Facetime, Go Meeting, Zoom, or just picking up the phone to call, are all ways we can keep in touch with our team and maintain our bonds with others. I use a Whatsapp business group to share work time successes, thoughts, questions announcements, etc.
10. Have one distraction!
FACT! You will get distracted. I firmly believe that we all need a distraction to relax, de-stress get into our head space. Here's mine curled up in his favourite space! I enjoy using my break times to take him for a walk and get my 10000 daily steps in. Build yours in for YOUR schedule.
Finally, I always have music playing in the background and will often match the music I am listening to, to the task in hand. Otherwise it is Radio 2!!!
I hope you have found this useful and if you do, please share.