10 TIPS TO WORK FROM HOME EFFECTIVELY
The home alone freelancing life has many benefits; however, it’s not without its challenges. One of the biggest is isolation.
Working alone is brilliant for uninterrupted concentration on the task in hand, but when there’s no getting away from the thoughts in your own head, it can get deflating, and nobody can perform well when deflated. At this point, it’s all too easy to feel the creeping doubt that everyone else is massively successful and doing great work while you’re at home struggling.
It’s good practice to benchmark yourself against others, but if you’re not connecting with people, it’s easy to lose perspective when you only see the success of others and none of the struggle and the failures they experienced as they slogged it out for five years to achieve overnight success.
Ultimately, we’re social creatures, so how does the home worker avoid cabin fever? Here are our top 10 tips gathered from my many years spent working from home ourselves and hearing the experiences of our clients and colleagues.
- Get dressed:
Tempting as it may be to work in your favourite pyjamas, it’s probably not be the best choice for a productive working day.
Getting ready for work is important, we all know how you dress can affect the way you feel. One study, check out http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550615579462, suggests that dressing formally changes the thought processes.
- Get out of the house:
Even if it is just once a day, and even if it’s just a walk around your local area. Do some window shopping, or keep the corner shop going by doing some actual shopping. On the way back home, take a different route. You may well be rolling your eyes and thinking “that’s great, but I don’t have time for that, I’ve got work to do”. That’s true; however, if you never leave the ‘home office’ in the belief that staying in means staying productive you may well end up unproductively wasting time stressing about upcoming tasks and losing focus.
- Attend events:
Some obvious choices are conferences, networking, and training. Get out there not with the thought of gaining business, but to meet people and build a support network. Remember to check out Building Legacies events and news pages to find out what we are your peers have available.
- Work outside the home:
Pick up your laptop, tablet or other device of your choice and leave your home. Great places include local parks, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, libraries, museums, galleries, or any public space with decent Wi-Fi. Working away from home presents its own challenges. If you’re not using a cloud based storage solution, it may limit what you can do. Using a cloud based service, such as Microsoft365 or GSuite, will solve a lot of access problems when working from your favorite not at home location.
So, who has the best Wi-Fi, the most power sockets, and the easiest going staff? To get you started, check out Workfrom at https://workfrom.co/london.
- Morning Phone Calls:
Try to do some work calls first thing. This means that each working day will start with you instantly engaging with life outside of the home. Chatting with friends and family is good, but don’t encourage them to call during working hours.
Great for putting a face to a name in business. Instead of a long email thread, maybe a Skype or Facetime call would be more efficient and help with the isolation caused by too little face to face contact.
- Social Media:
Great for connecting with likeminded people, but be disciplined and always use the time spent on your socials with a defined goal in mind. Importantly, step away when you need to concentrate.
- Make a Designated Space For Work
Just like getting dressed, see above, dedicating work to a defined area, such as a sectioned-off part of your home, can help build that all important productive work environment and creates a mental commute out of the bedroom.
- Make Sure Your Business Has an Off Switch
Remember to shut off when the day is over. Making yourself available all hours of the day should be the exception, not the rule. Ignore this and it will become an expectation, and you can then say goodbye to any work-life balance.
Let everyone know your working hours. That way, you set the expectation that you’re not available around the clock. If you ignore this, expect to be overworked.
- Create 5 Minutes of Work to Non-work Transition Time
Try having a period of transition between work time and non-work time. Even just 5 minutes to decompress and recalibrate your mindset from work life to home life can help.
Neil Leslie is a Business Growth Manager (BGM) for the Building Legacies programme and specialises in supporting clients who make, create, and innovate.
Neil provides the following areas of support to his Building Legacies clients who want to turn creative capital into actual capital: business planning that turns complex ideas into relatable, fundable stories; financial planning using words, pictures, and numbers; process planning, aligning efficiency with ambition.