by Gilly Brewster
(Boston, Mass, USA)
Working from home is something so many people dream of. The perks are many including no commuting and no boss peering over your shoulder but in reality it is more difficult than most people think. Here are 5 useful tips to make working at home as enjoyable and productive as possible.
1. Make sure you have the support of family and friends. This means explaining to them what you do and letting them know your schedule. You wouldn’t drop in unannounced at their workplace expecting a cup of tea so they shouldn’t either. A common misconception about people who work from home is that they do a bit of work here and there between TV, housework, hobbies and naps. Although this lovely option of lounging around is open to you it is definitely not the norm. You work just as hard as anyone else and you need to make sure those close to you appreciate this.
2. Set yourself specific work hours A routine is important so make a time to start and finish your day at work. This doesn’t have to be set in stone but is a useful guideline to ensure you keep a balance between work and personal life when it all happens under one roof. Don’t be tempted to work after hours When the house is quiet at the end of the day don’t be getting back on the computer to answer emails or finish that project due this week. Put a cover over your computer if need be. You probably wouldn’t get in your car and go back to work for a second time in a day. After hours is your personal time. Rest, relax, be with loved ones and engage in your hobbies.
3. Take regular breaks just as you would at a normal job. Morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch should be part of your regular work day. If you are working at a computer or on the phone for many hours it is especially important to take breaks. These are jobs where it is easy to develop work-related problems such as RSI (repetitive strain injury), aching joints and bad posture. If you have a creative job such as painting, photography or drawing a break can give your creative juices a boost. Breaks don’t mean less work time. They increase your physical, spiritual and mental well-being and increase productivity.
4. Be disciplined and do not get distracted by TV, chores or online shopping or other things to do at home. Visualize your employer watching you. Would you do this in your previous workplace? If the answer is no it is time to get back to work.