Working from home is often seen as the easy option, the slacker’s way to work. After all, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to sit around in their PJs all day watching Jeremy Kyle?
That’s not quite how it works, though.
I have to admit, when I first began working from home I was highly excited to be able to type in my yoga pants without a face full of office-friendly make-up, but I soon worked out this was not a productive way to go about my job. So over time I’ve learned the tweaks and changes to make sure I’m on it and producing my best work. Clue: for me it has never looked anything like this…
After six years of working from home in some format, I thought it was about time to switch off Jeremy Kyle and outline the pitfalls of the easy option. Here are some easy ways to make home-working work for you.
Create your work space
I’ve always had a dedicated work space until I moved house recently. I thought it’d be fine, that I could hot desk in my own home from the breakfast bar to the dining table and back again. But that was not OK: I needed a space that mentally prepared me to sit down and focus on today’s tasks, and I found I couldn’t concentrate otherwise.
Create a space to work somewhere you feel happy. Somewhere with light, warmth (working in my draughty entrance hall was unpleasant), a place that doesn’t involve a sofa or a bed. Make it pretty, feature a lovely piece of art or a scented candle. Your productivity will notice the benefit in no time.
Get dressed every morning
When I tell people I work from home, the most common reaction is “oh wow, you get to work in your pyjamas every day!”. And so, because the consensus was that working in pyjamas was such a treat, I used to work in my pyjamas every day.
But I felt like a slob. Getting into nice clothes at the start of each day puts you in a professional mindset; the act of getting up, getting dressed and starting the day as you would if you were working in an office is essential for a positive and productive mindset.
Put your make-up on
The same goes for make-up. In the old days I would NEVER put make-up on for my days working at home, and now I do the difference is palpable. I stick my face on down to lipstick first thing, which leaves me feeling confident and capable each time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I do mine in three minutes now!
I also no longer scare the postman.
Tailor your hours to your own rhythm
I really don’t work well in the mornings, which used to be awful when I was doing the 9-5. But now, setting my own hours, I make sure I stick to what feels best and most productive.
If you aren’t tied to strict office hours, experiment with what works best for your own working rhythm, whether that’s blasting through the bulk of your work at 6am or leaving some tasks until 10pm (like me!). You might find you get much more from your days this way.
Make the most of being at home
I used to beat myself up if I wasn’t chained to my desk for 8 hours a day, but home-working feels different to your standard office job. I most certainly work more at weekends or at odd times just because I’m used to being ‘on’, so I’ve stopped worrying about at being ‘off’ on occasion, too!
You’ve got to milk those work-from home benefits, after all: the mountains of washing you’re able to get through, the healthy food you can eat, the odd lunch time nap when the kids have had you up all night. Perfect!
Do you work from home?