5 working from home tips

For many people and the companies they work for, working from home has become the new normal. People are more mobile and yet more connected than they ever have been, while the technology now exists to carry out just about any work task, anywhere.

It stands to reason that employees and (especially) employers have a more flexible attitude when it comes to working from home; there are huge benefits on both sides – as well as a few pitfalls. And as the working world continues to evolve, it’s likely that more and more people will set up a home office in the coming years.

If you are considering working from home, you’ll have to get on top of the nuts and bolts of a domestic work station: wi-fi, printing, storage space, etc. You’ll also need to find a way of working that suits you. To give you a hand, here are our five tips on achieving an excellent work-life balance at home.

Make sure your office feels like an office

When you turn on the computer in the morning, your mind should be squarely in work mode. This is only possible if your surroundings are geared towards work – preferably an office of your own (not just a corner of the living room); a desk and chair (not the kitchen table); and a sense that this is your place of work. If your office doubles up as the laundry room or gym you may find it hard to get that sense, so fight hard to establish your own dedicated work space – and keep it that way.

Establish a routine that works for you

This is by far the most important aspect of working from home. You’re on your own, there are no rules, and it’s up to you to get the job done. An ordered, established routine is your best bet. Start at a certain time. Get your to-do list down. Check your email. Make your calls. Connect with the team. Work your way through the day systematically and methodically, and your routine will start to feel not just comfortable but constructive. Once you get in the groove, your productivity will grow and grow.

Get away from it all (occasionally)

Working from home is not the walk in the park that many people think. There are good days and bad; days when it can be difficult to find inspiration, especially when you’re surrounded by the same four walls from morning to night. If you’re struggling to come up with an idea or a creative solution, don’t be afraid to get away from your desk – go outside, stretch your legs, try a change of air – every now and then.

Have lunch away from your desk

A relatively small point, but another important way of ensuring that your office is your office; it’s where your mind is on your work and nothing else. Quite apart from the hygiene issues of eating at your desk, your lunch hour should be an opportunity to have a proper break from what you’re doing. Get away from the desk during that time – it’s better for you.

When you’re done, you’re done

Working from home blurs the lines between office hours and home life in a way that office-only workers may struggle to understand. Without a set finishing time, and also mindful of certain perceptions that working from home is some sort of ‘treat’, many people feel pressure to work late into the evening. Don’t! (Unless of course you have a deadline to make.) When you finish for the day, you’re finished for the day – switch off until the following morning.

Discipline key to working from home

Working from a home office can give you the best of both worlds. You remain in the workforce, anchored to a company, but you also enjoy the benefits of remaining in your own environment. There will be good days and bad ones but a disciplined, professional approach will generally make it work.