Working from home can be new to some and old-hat for others. Many are successful with the “working from home” lifestyle, while others fail in this setup. One of the biggest reasons for failure is because many feel a lack of motivation in the work-from-home-environment. Therefore, creating a home office that makes the best use of one’s time and talents is important.
Self-employed individuals who had to utilize their homes as office space face a different kind of challenge that does not directly involve work. It is their ability to focus on work and free themselves of any idea that they can slack off because of the lack of pressure. However, if you do intend to make a living out of your home while conducting business then you need to be professional and set boundaries for what parts of your life are business and what parts are personal.
One of the most important elements of your home office is the specific place where you perform work-related items. It matters not whether you’re using a bedroom or a dedicated office space in your house as your home office, there must be enough space to both organize your work and have enough peach and quiet to get the tasks at hand accomplished.
You should spend your working hours at home in this space and nowhere else. Having an established work space at home will prevent distractions while working; it will make you more efficient getting work done because all of your ancillary items needed to work are there (phone, printer, work papers, etc.); and, finally, it will also allow you to set a boundary between what is work space and what is personal space. Regardless of your style, the tip of establishing a dedicated space will make sure you have all of your working materials accessible and keep you most productive.
Having the Right Office Furniture
When setting up a home office, one can easily be fall into the trap of buying new office furniture, assuming it would serve as a productivity boost. However, in reality, purchasing new furniture was a complete waste of money since it is rarely used. Increase your income and reduce your expenditures, make a plan on the furniture to buy for your home office that is absolutely necessary. Things like printers are a better spend. A good comfy chair that you can be productive in also goes a long way.
To start with your plan, determine how you will conduct your home business. It will help decide what accessories or furniture you will be using all the time. This will help separate the necessary items from the optional ones. Make sure you test your method of communication where you want your home office work to be conducted in. Make sure the WiFi signal is good, for instance. Also ensuring that you can use your cell phone and there isn’t a dead spot in that part of the house is also a must. Let’s face it, conference call can be pretty bad anyways. Don’t add cell phone reception that drops in and out to that equation. This may be a determiner of adding a VOIP phone to the space if your heart is set on working there.
Setting Your Boundaries
Even if you have a boss, when you work from home you are your own boss even more than when in an office environment. It can become easy to fall into a more relaxed approach to work and sometimes neglect your tasks. It is imperative to devise means to avoid distractions, whether it be playing around with your kids, surfing social media or texting with friends. You definitely need to give yourself a short break from time-to-time, but don’t let the distractions mount, as your work will suffer or stretch into the night.
Try to keep regular work hours, if you can. It is easy to sleep in a little longer since the commute to the office is not there. That is fine, but try to start your work at a normal time. More importantly, set an end time for your work, along with breaks and a lunch in there as well. Because there is no separation between the place you will be for work and the place you will be for personal time, it is easy for work to dominate your life and often makes some disregard the things that matter most in life.
Benefits of Working From Home Office
While working from home takes away some of the social natures of working in an office location, it definitely has its benefits. Sure you don’t get to have the normal hallway conversations; have colleagues stop by your office to talk about the game the night before; or, have someone grab you for a quick lunch: but, you also don’t have all those distractions going on to interrupt your work stream. One of the biggest productivity killers is context switching, or switching between tasks. This thing that seems innocent is a real killer. It takes a significant amount of brain time to reboot and remember where you were in a particular task to be able to pickup where you left off, as opposed to if there was no interruption at all.
One awesome benefit, obviously, is the reduction in your gas expenses and saving all the time wasted in your car while sitting in traffic on the way to and the way home from an office. This has to save you an hour or more, depending on your distance.
You get to do other chores while you are at work. Throw in a load of laundry and work for an hour. Take a break and then throw them in the drier. Stuff that you normally have to do after work-hours can be done in parallel and save you a bunch of time, leading to the next benefit.
Save Time With Chores
You are at home so getting work done can be done while other things are happening. Need to have an HVAC guy come look at an air conditioner that isn’t running so good? You don’t need to drive all the way home to meet him, like if you were working out of an office. Schedule the appointment and you can work while the AC is being fixed.
Utilize delivery services to get all your things done. One big waste of time for many people is getting their haircut. If you work in an office you could run during lunchtime and try to get your hair cut done, or worse yet, after work. Driving all the way to the barbershop or the hair salon, then sitting in a waiting area doing just that, waiting. Waiting for the barber to say “next”. That is so old-school. Old as in that’s how people were getting their haircut done in the 1800’s. The only difference is then they rode a horse to the barbershop and today they take on-demand transportation.
Instead, order in a mobile haircut service like SpaDash from Austin, Texas. Right from you phone you can order a licensed mobile barber to come to you house. They will bring a mobile hair salon station, set down a sanitized hair tarp, cut your hair, clean up and are on their way. After you order, you can continue to work on things that need to get done instead of driving and waiting. Be productive with your time.
Designing Your Home Office
Focusing on the proper way to setup your home office can contribute to your productivity a bunch. Start by deciding which part of the house you will setup your office. An important consideration to make is that this space must provide you with enough privacy to concentrate on your work. This is also important in warding off any form of interruption that may arise while you are working.
Then, come up with a design that enables you to maximize the space available within your office. It should be able to provide organization and elicit productivity. You need to provide areas where you can keep important documents or files, to prevent your children from destroying them in case they manage to sneak into your office.
Develop a Working Schedule
Creating a normal schedule will help provide structure needed to be productive with working-from-home environments. It is easy to find yourself working until late into the night at home. There are added pressure when it comes to your schedule, as you need to spend enough time with your family.
Even more than in a work office situation, start each day by lining out what is reasonable to accomplish during the day. By creating a proper schedule of your working hours will help ensure all items are done and accomplished on time. It also allows you to prioritize tasks so you can have a more focused set of activity for a given day.
Work Organization and Routine
The best way to achieve optimal efficiency is to treat your home office as you would any brick-and-mortar office space. It is important that you organize when filing important documents or setting your calendar. Have as normal a routine as you can. Setup regular one-on-ones with colleagues, for instance. It is better if you can use a teleconference technology that allows you to see each other while you are having your calls. It is always best to be in person when dealing with someone, especially if there are sensitive topics to come to agreement on, however, using technology will certainly help establish a better relationship and connection when gaining important alignments.
Balance Work and Family
One of the biggest misconceptions about working from home is that it is not as demanding as any regular office job. Truth be told, it often requires more attention and work on your part. Therefore, you cannot afford to have interruptions from your family or friends while doing work. The best way to deal with this situation is to let your family know what your schedule is so that they can refrain from disturbing you during working hours. Let them understand when you need to work and when you are available to them for recreational activities.
Know Your Priorities and Take Breaks
Like any productivity exercise, stack-rank your tasks so that the most important items are at the top of the list. Accomplish them first. This will you are driving the most value to your organization you can.
Remember that it is important to give yourself a break from time to time. When you overwork yourself, you tend to wear out, which subsequently will reduce your performance and productivity. Tt is advisable to allow yourself enough rest to regain energy so you can take on whatever tasks you need to do to the best of your ability.
Make sure you do thing like get your haircut at work to save time on chores that need done that can be done at the same time as work- leaving you more time to spend on the personal side of your home, rather than the home office part.