Working from home gives you more time to do the things you love in life. While working from home over the last five years, many mistakes were made during the transition into remote working.
The word ‘successful’ is subjective and, for me, success is making sure that lifestyle and work are treated equally. That’s not what all employers want to hear, but it is important to me. So, to answer the question, how can I work from home successfully?
Routine is important
The truth is, when working in the office environment, my fight with routine was constant. When transitioning into a remote worker, it became apparent very quickly that to have a work-life balance, you need a work routine.
The routine does not have to be strict. You can have a different work routine on Monday and Friday than the rest of the week.
Some employers will enforce a routine, but a well-run Remote company will realise the benefits of having a productive workforce. They will allow their employees to work and meet the demands of daily life.
It will take time, but figure out when you are the most productive and discuss a routine with your employer or clients, that suits all parties.
There are many benefits to a dedicated workspace within your home. It helps with reducing distractions and, your household know when you’re sitting at your desk, you are working and should not be distracted.
If you can close a door within this space, then that’s ideal.
For your own mindset, when sitting at your desk, you are in work mode. Try not to work on the sofa in the living room, because you will have too many distractions, like the TV. Make sure that the workspace is comfortable and you’re not hunched over.
Think about the long-term impact working from home can have on your body. It’s advised to buy an ergonomic chair to keep your back straight.
Working on a laptop can result in you bending over to view the monitor and keyboard so purchase a laptop stand, so the screen is at eye level.
Socialise with family and friends
As mentioned before, isolation is an issue when working from home, so make sure you spend time socialising with family and friends.
At the time of writing this, we are living through covid-19, so meeting family and friends is not an option. That said, messaging apps like WhatsApp are great at helping us keep in touch with loved ones.
Visit your favourite coffee shop, read, socialise with people around you. When events start up again, look out for activities on sites like Meetup.com. Make new friends who have similar interests as you.
Switch off from work
It’s easy to be continuously connected to work since the laptop is nearby, and the temptation will be there to check emails. As a remote worker, it is essential to set expectations with your employer.
If you start responding to emails outside of your working hours, they are going to expect this all the time.
You will be using the laptop for non-work activities, so make sure that any notifications are disabled. You do not want to be interrupted while listening to relaxing music on Spotify or watching Star Trek on Netflix.
Some employers will take advantage that you are working from home and contact you outside of your working hours. If this continuously happens, make them aware of your working hours and that you are not available.
As an employee, you want flexibility, and your employer will require the same. Occasionally working a different timezone to support colleagues is fine, but make sure that your employer is not taking advantage.
Set expectations. Especially when freelancing because many clients feel that they have access to you 24/7.
Look after your health
It goes without saying that your health is essential, especially if you are a contractor or freelancer that does not get paid when ill.
Take regular breaks for fresh air and to clear your head. Try and build in a routine around exercise: go for a fast-paced walk around a local park. Play a sport, or go on a photo walk, which is one of my favourite activities.
In between work, walk around your home, stretch arms and legs. Sitting in one place for an extended period is not recommended. You’re no longer working in an office, where your colleagues question where you are, when not sitting at your desk.
To help with the isolation, grab your laptop, and head to a local coffee shop or co-working space for a couple of hours. Jump on a zoom call with a colleague and discuss a work project or, just ask them how they are.
What is next?
Hopefully, this article has helped you work from home successfully. How about subscribing to my free weekly remote work email, called the Hive? Every Sunday, you will receive an email in your inbox with lots of content like this.