It doesn’t matter whether you run your own business or work for a large organisation, it is becoming far more commonplace for people to work from home. Working from home comes with its own set of benefits, distractions, and frustrations that are quite different from those you find in the regular workplace. However, I have been asked many times, ‘Can you really work at home and achieve your career goals’? and ‘Is it possible to run an efficient business if I work from home?’ The answer to both these question is, it’s up to you!
In my corporate career, I have worked from home and managed a virtual team who spent time working at home and time on the road. For the last three years I have been running my own coaching business and have been home-based so I thought I’d give my perspective.
Here are my top tips to guide you to successfully work from home:
Where can you devote space in your home to your work? Although it doesn’t have to be a whole room, you’ll need a desk/table and a couple of drawers designated for your work.The General Data Protection Regulations state that you need to be able to keep client details secure so a small storage cabinet will also come in handy for supplies and work-related documents. Consider the spaces in your home that are currently not often used. Maybe a guest bedroom or den could double as your place to work if you make a few changes.
Do you possess a strong work ethic and personal responsibility? If you’re able to set a time to start working in your home office and follow through with it, then you’re one more step closer to being successful in working at home. However, some people struggle with motivation and find that without a formal start time they waste too much time. Others find it difficult to stop work and there is a danger that you never actually switch off a your work is always there.
When you work from home, no one is watching over you. This might sound a real positive. However, you also don’t have someone a few feet from you whom you can consult with or ask a question when you’re stuck. And you may miss the office banter and chats about what’s on the T.V. So it’s important to consider where are you going to get your support from?
However, if you’re responsible and self-motivated, you can do it and it can reward you with benefits.
Are others in your home during the workday that might cause distractions? Talking with your loved ones about working from home is important to your success. Get a commitment from them to support you in your endeavour by reducing interruptions while you’re working. Make sure that there is recognition that you will be working and not an expectation that ‘as you’re at home’ you will be able to do all the chores that need doing.
Can you screen out other distractions? Friends popping in, noisy cars passing by and telephones ringing could all serve to sabotage your work success. How can you close your door and ignore these events? Success will come easier if you can stay focused
Can you focus on tasks while working at home? Due to the remarkable technology we all have available to us, it’s easier to lose your concentration on work-related tasks. You can waste valuable work time through repeated checking of email, social networking sites, and text messages during the day. For better concentration and greater productivity, refrain from these activities while working (unless you need to check emails for your work and even then just do it at intervals throughout the day). Make sure you use tools to help you stay on track.
Consider drawing up a structured schedule. Depending on the type of work you do, it’s helpful to have a schedule that reflects what you’re working on and how long you want to spend on each task. If you run a small business then you need to think about your planning and goal setting processes. You need to find time to work on your business otherwise you will end up just doing the same thing all the time and not growing. If you don’t know how to get started with this get in touch was I’d be happy to have a chat about how my business mentoring can support you.
In the event your work involves prolonged sitting, build time for daily scheduled exercise. A healthy body and mind are also important to success. It’s wise to get some physical activity each day.
- A 30-minute time slot before lunch, for example, is a great time to take a walk, do some stretches, or complete an exercise DVD.
- If you’re an early riser, consider getting your exercise out of the way first thing in the morning. You’ll begin your work-at-home day with enthusiasm and be truly ready to sit down and focus.
People just like you accomplish great things whilst working at home successfully. With careful planning, personal responsibility, and the ability to screen out distractions, you’ll find working at home to be rewarding and liberating.
If you already work from home let me know what your top tips are and if you’d like to talk about making it work for you then get in contact.