The idea of being able to work from your own comfort and familiar surrounding is always appealing, and many people are willing to give up their current job to telecommuting or working from home, where they can be closer to their family and get productive in very comfortable setting. However, working for home may not be always ideal and handy, and it is certainly not for everyone. Most people are trapped in a situation where they can’t really separate themselves from personal life and routine, and professional requirements.
In case you want to try working from home and you really want to give it a go, here are some things that you need to know and understand. These tips may seem simple, but you will be surprised of how true they are and how you can develop better creativity and productivity while telecommuting.
The first one is that you need to draw a line between professional and personal stuffs. When you are working, stay off from personal activities, and vice versa. This is the most common mistake people do when they work from home. They tend to mix up things, which will produce unpleasant outcome. They can’t really produce satisfying result when working, and their personal life is chaotic. Mixing up things tend to burden you and cause confusion. You need to set up your professional working hour and don’t do anything besides working. For instance, if you decide that you should be working from 8 to 10 AM, then you shouldn’t be doing laundry or cooking at that time. If you decide that you will be doing household chores from 7 to 9 AM, then you shouldn’t be turning on computers and checking on emails. Separate the two worlds and you should be fine.
Second, it doesn’t hurt if you want to dress up for work. Working in your pajama or sleepwear may sound cozy and nice, but you tend to take it for granted. Lots of people who telecommute say that after they change their attitude about getting ready for work, somehow they have a boost of energy. It is related to your mind and brain, actually. If you get up early, take shower before work, and have breakfast – things that you usually do before taking off to work – your body and mind somewhat treat it for purpose. Instead of relaxing and lying down on the bed after turning off the alarm, you should march to the bathroom, have shower, have breakfast, dress nicely – as if you were going to work – and that energy will remain there during your professional hour. Looking good will also help if you have to do teleconferencing meeting or chatting with colleagues or clients.
Third, you should set up your own office hour. Sure, working from home has its own benefits and you can enjoy the flexibility. However, if you want to remain productive while working from home, you need to be discipline – including setting up your own office hour. Let’s say that your office hour is from 8 AM to 4 PM, and then be sure to really be professional during those hours. If you want to do personal stuffs, do it outside those hours.
Fourth, it would be better if you can divide your working hours. According to studies and researches, spending 8 straight hours for working will get you nowhere. It will make you tired, all right, but it won’t improve your productivity. It would be better if you can divide your hours and slip in moments for personal time. For instance, you can work from 7 to 10 AM, and stop. 10 to 12 AM is the time for doing household chores. Start again from 1 to 3 PM for working. Set the time from 3 to 4.30 PM for relaxation, like gardening, taking a walk, going to the gym. Then 4.30 to 6.30 will be your last working hour. By doing this, you won’t be bored at all and you will see how it affects your creativity and productivity.
Fifth, make sure that you have the right working environment – it would be better if you have your own home office or at least a room with a door. In that way, you can hide yourself from the world for a while or at least when you are working. If you make the kitchen as your professional settings, for instance, it will likely fail. The kids may be bothering you. The sound from outside or the smell of food will distract you. It is a guarantee that you won’t be able to concentrate or do your job in the most maximum way.
Sixth, it is always a good idea to open the communication line. You are working from home, so you are basically working in a solitude environment. How can people contact you if you don’t check your emails or turn the phone on? Dedicate yourself to at least check the emails or phone calls once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Maintain contact with colleagues and clients. Make schedules when you need to talk to them or Skype them. Communication is important, as it will be your bridge with the rest of the world.
However, it is imperative that you don’t constantly checking up your phone or emails. That’s the tip number seven. Checking up the emails or phone will only distract you, and you will be tempted to do other things that aren’t related to your work. It’s okay to turn your phone off so you won’t be bothered by unimportant calls during your working hours, but don’t forget to turn it on again once the ‘office’ hour is finished. It is also applied to your social media account, like Twitter, Facebook, Path, or others. If you won’t be accessing them while working in the office, then you shouldn’t do it while working from home either.
Eighth, it doesn’t hurt if you do your work outside of home, for once in a while. Instead of spending the whole day in home office, why don’t you get yourself a cup of coffee from the coffee shop and continue working there? Instead of spending time doing virtual meeting, why not meeting up for a lunch and discuss the professional matters over lunch or even a picnic? After all, that’s the point of telecommuting: you have the freedom and flexibility to do anything you want, basically. So, why not mixing up business and pleasure? Spending too much time indoor isn’t good for you, so head out and make the most of your days. As a social creature, you will need it.
Ninth, don’t force yourself to work when you aren’t productive. There are moments when you don’t feel like working at all – it is pretty normal. You may not feel well or you lose interest, or you simply don’t have the working energy like the usual … you shouldn’t force yourself out. It may be a burnout and you need to have your own personal time. Skip work and simply enjoy yourself. Do the things you like and you want to do. Go see a movie. Take a walk. Spend times with your kids. Meet up friend and hang out. Once you feel ready to work again, you can go back to your workload. If you don’t force yourself, you will see that taking a time out will do you loads of good things.
Tenth, don’t be cheap to reward yourself. Indulging yourself once in a while isn’t a sin. Treating yourself occasionally or buy the things you like are important to keep up your productivity. You can use the money generally spent for transportation or fuel gas to buy the things you want. It will boost your mood and motivate you to do better things.
These tips aren’t difficult to pull off. Try to do them and see how your work improves and how everything won’t be so chaotic like before.