There has been a massive rise in the number of people who work from home in recent times and more are expected to jump on the bandwagon over the next few years.
While home working may seem hugely appealing, it undoubtedly presents challenges people often don’t face in a traditional workplace environment.
Productivity and health considerations are just two of the factors people need to think about before they decide to take the plunge and work from home.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the best ways to successfully lay the foundations for working from home.
Establish a separate workspace
Mixing your personal space with your workspace significantly increases the chances of negatively impacting your productivity.
While the sofa or dining room table may seem like hugely appealing places to be, you are asking for trouble by using these for work purposes.
On that basis, it is imperative to establish a clearly defined workspace by converting a garage, loft, or spare bedroom into a home office. As Inc.com suggests, find a quiet place in your house where you can work undisturbed.
Doing this will allow you to determine clear boundaries between home and work life, which will serve to boost your productivity in the long run.
Buy the right tools for the job
When you work in a traditional office environment you will generally be provided with all the tools you need to effectively carry out your duties.
It is important to apply the same theory to your home office, starting with furniture items such as a desk and office chair.
If you are working full-time hours, you will be spending around a third of your day at your desk, so you need to be as comfortable as you can possibly be.
Investing in an ergonomic chair will help your posture, placing less stress on your body and creating a more efficient workspace for yourself.
If you are having trouble justifying the expense, entrepreneur Ahmed Bilal suggests treating your home office like your car or your bed. After all, you are going to spend several hours a day there, so you might as well get the best possible tools to help you stay healthy and productive.
Lay down ground rules for your family
While being in close proximity to your family has its advantages, it can also play havoc with your productivity if you don’t lay down some ground rules.
It can be difficult for spouses, partners, and children to understand why you need to lock yourself away, but it is essential to do this from the outset.
Create an environment where the other people in your house only contact you in an emergency – for instance, ‘come and look at this on the television’ does not fall into this category.
Repeated interruptions can have a massive impact on your productivity, not only on the day it happens but for the rest of the week too.
Get ready for work
Another big temptation when you work from home is falling out of bed a couple of minutes before you start and rocking up to your desk in your nightwear.
Maintaining a similar routine to the one you would use if you were going out to work is a far more sensible approach to take.
Getting out of bed, doing some exercise, taking a shower, dressing properly, and eating a healthy breakfast can all help to put you in the right frame of mind for work.
If you get yourself ‘ready for work’ you are much more likely to function correctly, thus keeping your productivity levels where they should be.
Take regular breaks & exercise
Studies have shown that people who don’t take regular breaks at work are far less productive than those who split their day up.
Sitting at a desk for hours on end can be extremely tiring, so make sure you get up and stretch your legs for five minutes every hour. Get some desk-friendly exercises written down so you can perform them when you’ve been sitting down too long.
When lunchtime comes around stop working. Use the time to refuel and maybe fit in some exercise. Walking the dog around the block can be a great way to achieve this.
Taking breaks has the power to positively impact both your physical and mental wellbeing – do not neglect the importance of building them into your day.
Procrastination is your enemy
One of the biggest hurdles people face when working at home is resisting the temptation to procrastinate.
From checking personal emails to wasting time on social media, it is extremely easy to lose focus if you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder.
If you concentrate on the job at hand, working from home can actually lead to you being more productive as there are no colleagues to disturb you.
If done correctly, eight-hour days can soon become six-hour days if you don’t procrastinate. Why waste the chance to have more free time?