As our careers become more flexible, so opting to work from home becomes increasingly popular. It’s easy to see why- no tedious commute, helicoptering boss or irritating colleagues and more chance to fit work around other commitments like family or a hobby you love. Being able to do your job in your pyjamas on the sofa might seem great, but it isn’t for everyone. In fact, unless you have the right personality, working from home can go very wrong. Here’s what you need to know…
Set Your Boundaries
If you’re the sort of person who has a hard time establishing and sticking to boundaries, then working from home may not suit you. When home is also your office, it’s easy for the scales of your work life balance to tilt before you know it. The key to success is planning your limits in advance. Some people find that keeping to ‘office hours’ – just as you would in any other workplace – is essential, but if you prefer to be a little less constricted, you can still make it work. You’ll have to learn to respond to priorities from day to day, but if you spend one evening working late to meet a deadline just make sure that it doesn’t turn into every day.
With no one else around to keep you on track, if you have a tendency to procrastinate and put off what needs to be done then working from home may not suit you. Try making sure that you keep your personal phone in a drawer if you’re tempted to check it, or download an app that blocks social media for a predetermined time. Try using a prioritisation matrix to map out your most important tasks for the day, and try to tackle two of them each morning before you check your emails. It’s a great way to create momentum and get yourself motivated when you’re alone all day.
Get Good At Communicating
Working from home requires that you find your voice and communicate well, as you are not physically present with colleagues, so if you’re a natural introvert, you may have to learn some techniques for good communication skills. Don’t put off chasing up that invoice with one slow client or reaching out to that SEO Agency about your website redesign. Stay in frequent contact with co-workers, and consider using tools like Trello to work collaboratively but remotely.
Be Self Sufficient
When you work on your own, you have to become very self sufficient as there is no one around for a quick question or two, and you have to make more of an effort to work collaboratively. If you like working solo, run your own business or have a role where you need to concentrate and produce in-depth work, then working from home could work well for you. Make sure you have a comfortable workspace set up with a proper desk and an adjustable chair, preferably away from anyone else who will be at home during the day. If you live somewhere busy, some people find a white noise machine helpful for retaining focus while working. Make your space as pleasant as possible and you’ll feel much more productive.