No more commuting, flexible working hours, no boss breathing down your neck, checking your every move; for many, working from home is the dream scenario.
Many franchises offer this as a perk of the job, and there are numerous professional benefits to working from home; it has been shown to help lower stress levels, as well as promoting increased productivity and skill retention.
However – and this is a big however – blurring the line between your home life and your work life can be dangerous: the trick to making a business a success is keeping them separate. This can be difficult when you’re living and working in the same space.
These tips are designed to help you trick your brain into separating the professional and the personal, but the benefits of working from home rest entirely on the individual’s ability to discipline themselves. When working for yourself, with no one to answer to, it will take an iron will to ignore the plethora of distractions that litter your home.
Elimating disctractions at home is not as straightfoward as blocking a couple of websites
But it’s not just a simple case of focusing on your work. Depending on your living arrangements and the type of work you are doing, it’s entirely possible to become isolated, experiencing no human interaction for days at a time.
This can have a potentially hazardous effect on your personal life and on your physical and mental health, if left unchecked.
Even in an office environment, procrastination is difficult to curb: the lure of Facebook, the overwhelming urge to make everyone in the room a coffee, the itch to Tweet about what you just saw on Facebook, or how bad the coffee you’re drinking is. That's difficult enough to contend with, but elimating disctractions at home is not as straightfoward as blocking a couple of websites.
You are at home, the place where all the stuff you like is, everything your enjoy, everything that comforts you. If you're having a hard day, it will be very easy to fall back into 'home' habits.
Your workspace should be just that: your workspace. Create a dedicated area – be it an entire room, or just a desk - that you use exclusively for work. This will help you focus on the task at hand, and will put you in a working frame of mind.
The execution of this can prove troublesome, depending on your living situation: it will be a lot easier to set up a dedicated office if you live in a four-storey, 10-bedroom mansion than if you live in a studio flat, for instance. Even if your space is limited; it is still advisable to set up a dedicated work station.
Structure your day
When your office is at home, the temptation to put things off ‘til later in the day, or keep working until something gets finished can be overwhelming, so keeping strict office hours is vital for both your productivity and your sanity.
Set working hours and stick to them. During those hours, don’t do anything you wouldn’t otherwise do in an office environment: stay away from the washing machine, lock the vacuum cleaner away – just work. Conversely, stay away from work in your down time.
Get out of the house
Inactivity breeds inactivity. If your working day begins by rolling out of bed and walking into the adjacent room, you’re clearly not going to be moving around as much as you did in your old office. Be sure that you compensate for this by exercising, taking regular breaks, and spending more of your free time outside of the house.
This is important for both physical and psychological reasons, and ultimately, neglecting either will make your work suffer.
Talk to human beings
Working at home is often a solitary experience; and as mentioned earlier, it’s surprisingly easy to become isolated and, well, a bit weird. Make sure you schedule some time to to alleviate stress and gain perspective.speak with your friends and family during the working day, mimicking the kind of social interaction you would have in an office.