As technology advances, working from home has never been easier. Accessing work-related information is now at our fingertips 24/7. With one click of your mouse or one swipe on your tablet, and it’s as if you’re sitting at your office desk. With these advances, more and more companies are offering their employees the opportunity to work from home. And for many of us, the idea of avoiding the daily commute and working in our pajamas seems too good to pass up. However, new challenges arise for many employees who aren’t required to be in the office each day. Finding the right work-life balance can often take time to adjust, especially when you’re working from home. From setting up a home office to keeping your children at home busy, working remotely presents its own set of challenges that may not be so obvious from the get-go. Here are some tips to help you make working remotely work.
Create Your Space
One of the most important decisions you can make when you first begin working from home is how to set up your office. Creating a space that is completely functional will only happen when you set up an area specifically for working. For many people who have trouble falling asleep, it is often suggested not to be in your bedroom at all until it is time to sleep. This lets your body know that the bedroom is meant just for sleeping, and not for watching TV, not for reading, or relaxing. Similar to establishing good sleep habits, keeping your work space just for work subconsciously tells your brain that this environment is for getting work done.
Do you have a spare room that was intended to be a gym? Can that mud room serve as more than just a place to stash sneakers? Does the dining room see more dust than it does dinners? These are all fantastic places to make into your own personal office. In order to make your work-at-home space constructive and efficient, it’s important to separate the space from your everyday living areas.
You should also try to be creative and make your work area a place you want to be with some simple decorations. Brighten up your work space and make it easy on the eyes with pictures, inspiring quotes, your children’s artwork or anything else that will motivate you to focus and be productive while feeling happy in your space.
Make it Work
Organizing your work is also very important. You have to keep in mind that when the clock hits five, your office will be invaded by your family and friends. Leave nothing you don’t want messed up out in the open. Little fingers have a tendency to find that one paper you need for a client. Purchase a filing cabinet and start organizing and storing right away. Your workspace is where you are going to spend a majority of your time during the day. Planning out how your new cubicle will function will lead to continued productivity.
Maintaining your productivity while working from home is not reliant on just a clean and organized workspace, self-motivation is a must. Not having an office environment to work in or a boss looking over your shoulder can lead to a dip in overall productivity. When you are working alone, you will need to be a self-starter in order to push yourself to getting work done. It may help to create a list of short-term and long-term goals so that you have an idea of what success will look like.
Flexibility is also key. When you have small children in the home or at daycare, you must be willing to change up your schedule at the drop of a hat. Things that come up may alter your hours and cause you to work late, especially when chores around the house may also need to be completed. Setting a schedule, just like you would in the office, will let you know how much you should work each day and how much you can expect to get done. If you go into each day not knowing how long your day should be, you are setting yourself up for failure. You don’t have to have a typical 8 hour work day, or have the same exact hours Monday through Friday, but setting up a block of time will make life much easier and much more efficient.
Avoid the Parent Trap
Working remotely can be even harder for a work-at-home parent. It’s tempting to want to keep your child home with you, but having your little one around can be a big distraction at times. It may be hard to come to terms with, but hiring a babysitter or dropping your child off at a day care for even a few hours each week is a great way to truly focus on just work. The money saved already by not having full-time day care is a huge advantage of working from home. However, the stress it can take off of you to have someone else care for your child while you work for a few hours each day may be worth its weight in gold. If you don’t want to commit to full time child care, do yourself a favor and have a babysitter or a child care center on call to help you out when needed. It doesn’t have to be an everyday thing, but you will find that life and work are much easier when you do this. You have enough on your plate as a full-time parent and full-time employee, don’t cause yourself unneeded frustration.
With any work from home job, you will quickly realize that each day is different and will bring a variety of challenges your way. You have to have a certain mindset, strategy and plan for success if you want to remain a self-motivated work-from-home employee. Working from home is one of the most incredible opportunities, but it comes with the price of self-starting hard work and determination. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you will no doubt put yourself on the path to success for years to come. We’ve given you a few tips to help you find success working remotely, but if you’d like to learn more, or for help with any of your other work-life challenges, log in today.