8 Tips for Working Successfully from Home
8 Tips for Working Successfully from Home
By: Maurine Anderson
I made the transition from working full-time in an office to working full-time remotely about six months ago, and I have to say—there has definitely been a learning curve. Working from home has required a sense of self-discipline that I never needed before, and it has caused me to reevaluate the way I work in a number of ways. In case for whatever reason you are considering making the jump from work-at-the-office to work-from-home, here is a list of the ten best tips I’ve learned for working more successfully from home.
Give yourself work hours.
Your job may assign you work hours anyhow, but if it doesn’t, I highly recommend that you give yourself rigid work hours. Set a specific time frame for work each day, and resist the urge to deviate from it. That means not sleeping in, not taking extra long lunch breaks, and not running random errands throughout the day. It may seem like doing this kills the convenience that you gain from working remotely in the first place, but I have found that keeping rigid work hours is absolutely necessary for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Create a dedicated workspace.
Going back to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, it also helps to establish a dedicated workspace in your home for completing your work. Use this space primarily for completing your work during the day, and then leave this space once work is done for the day. This will help you further make the distinction in your mind between work-time and off-time. This article has some great tips on creating an ideal workspace. Bonus: You can deduct this workspace from your taxes if you’re self-employed or if your employer doesn’t offer you an office.
Keep a clean environment.
If you’re anything like me, a messy environment is incredibly distracting. That’s why I like to make sure I’m keeping my work area—and home, overall—clean during non-work hours. A clean work environment will help keep your mind clear and focused on the work in front of you.
Have a morning ritual.
I think the best work-from-home days start with a morning ritual. Treat your morning as if you’re getting ready to leave for the office—eating a nice, quick breakfast, doing some morning reading, etc. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. Just do something routine that signals to your brain that you’re getting ready to work.
Pack lunch as if you were headed to the office.
It may be tempting to waltz in and out of your kitchen throughout the workday since you have your entire pantry at your disposal; but if you aren’t careful, you’ll easily find yourself spending more time than you should preparing food during work hours. Pack food for your workday like you would if you were leaving for the office, and be sure to arm your workspace with as many snacks as you’ll need to keep you going.
Establish your stress relief rituals.
Just as if you were working at an office, you’re going to need a break from work every now and then. That’s where stress relief rituals come in. Stress relief rituals are those things that you do personally to clear your mind and reduce stress. Maybe for you that’s doing a crossword puzzle or sudoku, or maybe that’s drinking a cup of matcha or herbal tea for the mental health benefits. Find something that works for you and that offers you the break you need.
Stay networked with your coworkers.
If you work for a company that has other employees working on-site, do what you can to keep in touch with them as well as possible. I keep the office chat open on my computer during work hours, for example, and I’m also proactive about Skyping into the weekly meetings that I know are happening. Keeping in touch is essential because it will help you maintain a central role in the company. Without ample communication, you could start floating to the periphery as an employee, if that makes sense.
Create a plan for the day.
Because working from home will call on you to hold yourself accountable, it helps to create a plan for yourself for the day. Write out a list of what you plan to work on and check it off as you go. I like to put the biggest things at the top of the list—getting those things done will fuel your motivation more throughout the rest of the day than any cup of coffee would.
Do you work from home yourself? What are some tips that you would add to this list?