Home working seems to be taking a bit of a beating just now, with some big companies pulling the plug on their telecommuting policies, citing a need for increased collaboration and innovation.
Whilst remote working brings numerous benefits for both employers and employees, perhaps some organisations feel the balance has tipped slightly too far in its favour. For start ups and small businesses, on the other hand, working from home makes a lot of sense, saving money on office rental and ensuring cash is spent where it’s most needed.
Nonetheless, whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, home working has its challenges…
Check out my 4 tips for home working success:
1. Create a dedicated workspace
As office equipment gets smaller, lighter and more portable, it might be reasonable to think that working from your sofa, dining room table or even your bed, is a good idea. The reality, however, is rather different!
Firstly, working from somewhere like a sofa means your body is not fully supported. Aside from the obvious impact this may have on your back, a slouched position tells your brain you are in “relax” mode, making you much more susceptible to distraction and less inclined to achieve your objectives (believe me, I know from experience!). Sit in an upright chair for improved productivity; a dining chair is better than the sofa, but a proper ergonomic office chair at a desk is a wise investment for both your productivity and your back.
Secondly, in any of these locations, you’re right in the middle of the action; you could well have the kids coming and going, the postman ringing the doorbell and the dog pining for attention – simultaneously! Then there’s the temptation to turn to domestic tasks; does the CEO stop to hang up the washing in the middle of the day? No, of course not.
Create a dedicated workspace, ideally one with its own door, so that you can get a block of at least 1 and a half hours’ focused work done at a time, and remember that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should do your job and the housekeeping at the same time!
2. Dress for the occasion
Saving on business wear is undoubtedly one of the big benefits of home working (after all, who’s going to see you?), but there’s a reason that most businesses employ a dress code or uniform – how you dress affects your attitude.
In a corporate environment you would probably be expected to wear formal business wear – why? Because it encourages professionalism. Other companies have a casual dress code, designed to promote expressiveness and a relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to creativity.
Working in your PJ’s might be a novelty to begin with, but what does this say about your attitude towards your work? Personally, I find that putting on a pair of shoes in the morning, rather than slouching about in my slippers, is just enough to evoke a slight sense of urgency (you’re telling yourself you’ve got somewhere to be), and improve my efficiency.
3. Install a website blocker
This might not be an issue for everyone, but if you’re a social media junkie, or you find it tempting to stick Catch Up TV on in the background, then you might benefit from taking another leaf out of the corporate handbook and installing a website blocker.
I use the StayFocused extension for Google Chrome. You can set it up to block particular websites for certain times of day, days of the week or for a set amount of time and it prevents you from altering the settings until the restrictions have elapsed.
4. Get a change of scenery
After a while, working, living and sleeping within the same 4 walls can get overwhelming and may actually be harming your productivity, creativity, and even your confidence.
Make sure you schedule time outside your home office, whether that’s meeting with clients at their premises, attending a networking event, or perhaps even working from a local cafe for the day. Many cafes and restaurants now provide a free wi-fi connection, so as long as you are taking appropriate security considerations, there is no reason why you can’t work somewhere with a bit more buzz!
Happy homeworking! Do you have any more tips from your own experiences? Share them below!