Working from home can seem like a dream come true. With great perks like no commute and no dress code, it’s no wonder that many people choose to work from home instead of heading to the office. It’s important, however, to set boundaries between work and home life and to establish firm routines to keep you motivated. To make working from home successful for you, here are 10 tips to help you stay on track and stay motivated with your job.
1. Create a work-zone/office
Whether you have a dedicated office or a small table for your work, make sure that this zone is for work only. It will make it much easier to leave work at the end of the day and not let it trickle into your home life. Pick a spot that’s away from most of the commotion in the house or consider making space in part of your garage or quiet corner of the basement just for your office.
2. Work regular hours
Make sure that you maintain your normal business hours – whatever they may be. Think of yourself as “on the clock” during those hours. Plan to arrive at work and leave work during your same, regular hours. This will allow you to set boundaries between work and home.
3. Check in with work – frequently
You won’t see your boss or co-workers as often, so it’s important to check in frequently. Send an extra email to confirm receipt of materials, call up a co-worker to check in on a project, and make it clear that you’re accessible and available throughout the day.
4. Take a lunch break
Or any break! Take a few minutes out of your day and relax. Go out to lunch, order in, or heat up leftovers from last night. Give yourself time to recharge before you head back to work – the rest of your day will go much smoother.
5. Don’t clean
Resist the temptation to straighten up or take on large projects around the house while you’re working from home. Keep your normal cleaning schedule.
6. Keep errands to a minimum
It’s tempting to run errands during office hours to avoid the weekend rush, but don’t go overboard. Working from home means that you may get an unexpected email or call about a situation that you have to attend to immediately. Try to keep errands to your appointed lunch hour or simply alert your team that you’ll be out this afternoon and working later in the evening to compensate for lost time.
7. Keep a routine
Resist the temptation to stop your morning dressing and breakfast routine or evening wind-down and dinnertime. Keep things consistent, just like they were when you were commuting to the office, and you’ll keep your sanity in check.
8. Aim to leave the house at least once per day
With the ease of online shopping, grocery delivery, food delivery, and even services to stop by and walk your dog, it can become pretty easy to stay home all day. Take a short walk around the block, go out for a drink, or go for a drive.
9. Don’t volunteer too much
Although you’re home throughout the day, avoid volunteering to watch kids or pets for friends and family. This nice gesture can soon prove to be too much as you really need to focus on work during your set work hours. Take advantage of the minutes or hours that you’re not commuting and offer to help out during that time.
10. Stay professional
Just because your home office doesn’t have a dress code doesn’t mean that you can wear your pajamas or nothing at all to business meetings. If you’re clean and dressed, you’ll conduct calls much more professionally and have better results. Avoid the temptation to be relaxed with your communications just because you’re in your fuzzy bunny slippers.