Working from home always used to be seen as a privilege, something that only super important people did in order to get some piece and quiet, but as the world of work evolves ‘working from home’ is as normalised as ‘how many sugars do you take in your tea?’ More and more offices are downsizing and encouraging their workforce to stay at home, while others live hours away from their company’s base and so are forced to work remotely; with the increase in freelancers and content creators, it leaves a whole new generation working from the comfort of their own sofa. Having been self-employed for over four years, I’m used to to balance required to make it work. Although it sounds like fun and an excuse to stay in your PJs all day, the realities can be very different; it’s not as easy as popping open your laptop and watching daytime telly (although that does happen sometimes!) but instead requires a mindset to ensure you’re just as effective as you would be working in an office environment. If you’re considering working from home more often, or simply want to maximise your efficiency if you’re self employed, here are my golden tips to help… You’re welcome.
HAVE A SPECIFIC WORK SPACE
The biggest issue for me when moving into my present flat was to have a separate work space from the rest of my living environment. Having spent a few years working from my sofa or bedroom, I knew it wasn’t ideal to my productivity. If space allows I would always recommend having a specific space or room from which to work, which allows you to mentally separate and retain a work-life balance; I know I can close the door to my office at the end of the day and enjoy the rest of my evening work free. My living room is for relaxing, my bedroom is for sleeping and my office is for working – if you can help it, there shouldn’t be any overlap! If you’re really short of space, even setting up in the corner of a room or having a designated place at your dining room table helps to keep the line between work and play clear.
GET INTO A DAILY ROUTINE
Recently I’ve got into bad habits of spending too much of my morning faffing, cleaning or watching The Wright Stuff, and I know it sets me up badly for the rest of the day. I’m always my most productive when I get up and ready like I would if I was leaving for the office, even if it’s so much easier to have a rummage around the cupboards or catch up on Broadchurch during lunchtime. Don’t sleep in, slouch about in your jimjams all day or refuse to do your hair: feeling ready to face the day is as much about looking it as it is being emotionally prepared.
STOCK UP ON GOOD FOOD
Eating well at home can be a challenge when there’s a biscuit tin overflowing, but shopping for appropriate breakfast and lunchtime items at the start of the week will ensure a full belly and a focused mind. You don’t want to be scoffing sugary snacks or cereals, nor do you want to be devouring packets of crisps or reaching for the chocolate come 3pm; stock up on soups, cracker toppings, healthy fruit bars and ingredients for great salads and you’ll be feeding your brain as well as your body. I know I always regret a sweetie binge when I slump a few hours later, so having a bowl of nuts at arms length pays off in more ways than one.
EMBRACE THE LOCAL COFFEE SHOPS
I spend so much time in my local Starbucks that I could probably call the baristas close personal friends. They know my order (coconut iced latte with a shot of sugar free vanilla, FYI) because I like to sit and work while sipping on my coffee, the change offering the perfect new surroundings for a refreshed mind. When your home environment gets a bit claustrophobic, setting up shop somewhere else for the afternoon provides no distractions and allows me personally to get sh*t done. I can’t find distractions or mooch around looking for something to eat: I just have to sit in one spot and concentrate on the task in hand. (Bonus points for Starbucks for providing ace WiFi and tonnes of charging points!)
ENSURE YOU CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Sometimes I can go days without leaving the house or talking to other people, so it’s important to make those connections and arrange days to catch up with fellow creative or self-employed types. Even sitting around chatting with your laptops open can give you the connections we naturally desire, boosting productivity for the rest of the week or simply providing you with ideas or inspiration. I try to get out once a week into London and meet up with my blogging crew every fortnight, and sometimes it really is a lifeline; when my friends at home are so busy with work and families (and it takes three months to arrange a dinner date,) these gals keep me sane and focused.
Do you have any other top tips for those of us regularly working from home? If you work from home, what is the one thing you really struggle with?
PS – hope you like my cool new geeky glasses, which are part of the Kylie range for Specsavers!
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.