Working from home is a career fantasy come true. If you've dreamt about spending more time with your family and friends or being able to go to dress down for work, then chances are you've considered working from home.
Whatever your starry-eyed reasons, the reality is much less glittery.
Before you consider setting up your operations at home, let's look at some of the problems that you might encounter and need to manage.
When you are at home, it's easy to find excuses for not working, from waking up late and not being in the right mood, to wanting to watch one more episode of your favourite series. The reasons your brain can make up to avoid work and procrastinate are endless, which makes getting motivated to work really difficult.
But not to worry, procrastination can be managed by clear work habits and routines. Create a simple daily schedule that blocks off pockets of time to work.
It shouldn't follow a traditional 9-5 workday but have a flexible timetable that balances your work and home life.
It is just as easy to get lost in your work at home.
The traditional office time cues don't work in this case. Your office hours are no longer limited but extended to however long you wish to work.
Doing this for a long period of time can lead to burning out. You need to have a work-life balance. It's unhealthy to be constantly working no matter the deadlines.
Get a hobby. Do something that is not work-related. Leave the house and take a walk to clear your head or run some errands. Consider meditation to centre your thoughts. Any of these can help balance your health.
A Stressful Environment
Working from home is quite stressful.
The risks from every decision you make can be your downfall. This, coupled with an always present underlying fear of failure, can make the home environment unbearable.
Anxiety can be crippling and reduce efficiency.
To manage it, carve out a workspace in your house. It can be a corner in your living room or dining, or if you have space, convert a room to a home office.
No matter the type of business you engage in, you'll need to section a space at home for your work.
The secret to productivity when working from home is time management. You can acquire this skill through experience. It can't be learned from books but by practising it repeatedly.
Start by prioritising the most important tasks first and those that don't require much mental energy at the end of your workday. It's easier to start with smaller, less important tasks like emailing. But these can end up taking too much of your time and leaving you with very little energy to tackle anything else.
If schedules and diaries don't help you manage your time, consider using a stopwatch with an alarm. Set the timer for an hour or less and try to get as much done as possible on your task during that time.
It's good practice to have work rules for yourself. Especially when it comes to your social interactions during whatever working hours you choose, limit your communication with family and friends on non-work related issues. This includes any social media platforms.
Anything that is not work-related should be done on its own time. And not infringe on the time spent on work.
Technology is one of the factors that has made working at home possible. But you still need the self-discipline to manage the distractions that come with using it.
Keep your phone away and put your notifications on silent until you finish working.
Working from home has its rewards. But before you charge ahead and making a go at it has a strategy to manage these situations.