Being an employee doesn’t necessarily constitute the standard office, boardroom, conference call lifestyle anymore. More and more companies and their employees are opting for the work from home option.
Whether this means working for an international company or simply being able to deliver the work from a local company this work from home situation is becoming a very popular way of life.
Now, if you are someone who is lucky enough to engage in the 9-5 life from the comforts of your own home, then you know that this is not as fun and easy as outsiders perceive it to be. Working from home actually in fact means that you do your professional work from home, being able to catch up on The Ellen Show and The Young and The Restless seems like the easy route, however, if you are going to succeed at working from home there are a few tactics you should consider in ensuring that this roll is right for you!
Designate an office or work area
Have you ever walked into someones home and noticed that their entire kitchen table has turned into an office desk, preventing anyone from engaging in a meal and exiling them to the couch? If you’ve witnessed this then you know how stressful the idea of an overtaken space can look and feel. Working from home doesn’t mean that your whole house becomes your office – if that were the case you should just invite the whole team to work in your living room!
Designate an area, whether it be a desk in a spare bedroom or turning an unused corner of your home into an office area, all you need is a small table or desk, a chair, and enough room for your computer/laptop and some paperwork. Add a couple “you” touches that makes it feel like a space that you are going to want to sit down and do work at. This area can be easily cleaned up/organized at the end of your workday, leaving the rest of your house stress-free!
Put on pants
One of the things that makes working from home so appealing is that no one sees you, therefore you don’t have to dress to impress – don’t lie, that would win over anyone! But, realistically, when you sit at home in your pyjamas all day, you become lazy.
Rolling out of bed and opening up your laptop might sound good for an hour or two, but don’t you find that you work better when you are under that “look good, feel good” mentality? Not to say you need to go full glam with the curling iron and concealer, but there is no harm in brushing your teeth and hair, putting on a bra and a pant without an elastic waistband. Set the tone for your day, if you look and feel ready to be badass then you’ll likely perform like a badass!
Set work hours
A major part of the appeal to working from home is that you can come in and out of work hours as you please – pending conference calls or meetings that might happen outside of the office. It’s kind of nice to know that on your lunch you can go take that workout class that you’d normally miss if you were at the office, or you can take the afternoon to go to your many appointments.
However, with the freedom to work at your own pace, it is important to set formal work hours – this goes hand in hand with designating your workspace and putting on pants! You get up (set an alarm), get ready for the day and enter your workspace by 9 to begin your workday. Take a lunch break and return back to your workspace for the duration of your workday.
Now, just like anyone else who has appointments scheduled at inconvenient times of the day, it is important to let your team know you will be “out of office”. That can be as simple as an automatic email response indicating so, or even an email sent to your team letting them know the date and times you will be unavailable. It is important to treat your work from home oasis the same as you would a “standard” office.
Work hours are for work hours
We think it is important that you stand up for yourself and let the people in your life know that dropping by for a coffee or a chat (parents, in-laws, friends) isn’t an option – unless invited of course. It is important that you let them know that your work hours are exactly that, work hours!
While mid-day company can be nice, we know how hard it is to pick up where you left off after a morning of socializing. Set and implement your work hours, and stick to it!
Now, don’t go thinking I’m contradicting myself here. Yes, work hours are for work hours but every employee is entitled to a little time to decompress. Been staring at your computer screen too long? Step away from the computer and make a coffee. Just finished up a long conference call? Take a short walk around the block. Lunchtime? Set up a little buffet on your balcony and pretend you are on a patio!
Working from home warrants the fact that you get to opt out of those annoying meetings that could have been handled via email. But, that doesn’t mean that you should totally write off meetings. If you have a client that you really need to hash ideas out with, schedule a meeting – a coffee shop is a great spot, they are becoming the new work from home office for the modern day employee. Working from home can be lonely and we sometimes need a little face time to keep us sane!
This tip shouldn’t come as a surprise. When we work hard, we are entitled to play hard too! When your workday is complete, call up your friends, partner, or family and cut loose.
Whether that be opening a bottle of wine to end the workday, grabbing dinner at your favourite restaurant or maybe as simple as turning off all electronic devices and treating yourself to some much needed R&R time. Whatever your reward might take full advantage of it, you’ve been working hard, you deserve it!