You’re picturing lovely refreshing drinks and snacks from your own kitchen, a tidy work desk, limited distractions and the opportunity to really get down to work. In a perfect world, this is what working from home is all about, but sadly it doesn’t always work that way.
I think this is a case of the grass is greener on the other side. I often hear things like;
Sometimes working remotely is like a dream and sometimes it can be an absolute nightmare.
At Avidmode we all work from home in some capacity, although we do have an office space that we often use for meetings and the like. I remember as a child that working from home wasn’t very common, the only people that worked from home were those in jobs that had unsociable hours or they were working overtime on a laptop with a blackberry pinging every three seconds.
Today, things are a little different – especially with the rise of the internet and jobs that surround the technology. You hear a lot about people doing part of their work day from home or doing the whole lot from their own home office. There are so many benefits that you can get from working from home but there are quite a few negatives that will hold you back, if you let them.
Here are some pointers to set you off on the right path that you need to think about before you jump into working from home;
- Keep some semblance of a schedule. In an office you don’t have to worry about this but at home your work life and home life can bleed together so easily. Have a start and a finish time, at the very least give yourself mandated breaks to reset. If you’ve got meetings, schedule them out in advance. Keep a calendar handy (either digital or physical, whatever floats your boat).
- Don’t give in to the call of the kitchen. Just consider the room where you keep snacks and treats as off limits until after you’ve done the work. If you’re not heading out to work every day there is so much temptation as well as a lack of exercise.
- Distractions will be everywhere. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s an easy task to avoid all distractions. You’re at home where all your favorite hobbies are and your favorite people are probably around somewhere as well. Let others know what your schedule is like and try to show them that you’re actually working, not just mucking around on the internet. Set yourself strict rules on when you can jump into relaxation time, or into that black hole of cat videos on YouTube.
- If you have the means, make your office space at home as tidy as you can. For me, having an untidy workspace means that my mind is all over the place. I keep a few things on my work desk. Notepad and Pen, My phone, A pair of headphones, My mini whiteboard (for meetings) and my peripherals for the computer. Other than that, it’s a distraction free zone.
- If you start feeling down, you might just need some social interaction. This is probably the most important point on the list – we are used to being around other people for large portions of the day at work. When you start working from home you realise that those people are all still in the office on the 9-5 and that you aren’t really a part of the office anymore. If you are working with a small team it might be worth setting up meetings to allow you to vent frustrations, plan things or simply have a little chat. At Avidmode we have a Monday team meeting and then smaller chats through the week to make sure that everyone is alright and catch up!
- Finally, I’d say to make the most of the freedom that you have working from home. If you don’t have times set out by your boss you can arrange to split your work through the day, rather than in one whole chunk. You might prefer to work early in the morning or late at night. You might even venture out into the garden or a coffee shop to get some work done. The options are quite varied, it’s just down to you to find out what works best.
I’m by no means perfect, or the queen of working from home. I still struggle with keeping on track with things and sticking to my schedule. In my case it’s difficult as my husband works from home but with different hours to mine. Overall though, I really enjoy working from home.
I’ve heard that a lot of people really hate working from home and their reasoning is 100% justifiable, it probably just comes down to the individual.
What are your thoughts on working from home? Do you thrive without a set schedule from your workplace or do you often fall into the pitfalls of working from home.