Before I started my current job, I hated the idea of working from home. I love being around people, and the thought of being isolated all day made me sad; plus, I didn’t want to taint my home with the stress of work. But in the past year and a half, I’ve totally changed my mind. These days, most of my meetings are on Skype (so going to the office doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll see much of my co-workers), and I’m fortunate to have a job I love that isn’t super stressful on a day-to-day basis. I typically work from home four days a week, and I’ve got it down to a fine art. Here’s what you need to do to make it awesome.
Get comfy. There are people out there who will tell you that you need to put on your biz casual best in order to really get into the workday mindset. I am not those people. I don’t know about you, but I do my best work when I’m relaxed! Obviously, this means staying in my PJs all day. (At least until I have to go out to grab lunch. But you better believe I put them back on the second I get home.)
Use a dedicated workspace. Your home may not be large enough for a true office (mine sure isn’t), but trust me, you can make room for a well-appointed desk. Having a spot that’s reserved solely for getting shit done will make ALL the difference – and it’ll keep you off the couch and away from the rabbit hole that is Netflix.
Create the environment you need. I prefer some white noise while I work, so I usually play music or turn on the TV – but it has to be something that easily fades into the background, like HGTV or reruns of Friends that I’ve seen a million times. If you know you can’t focus without caffeine, invest in a coffee maker (or keep the fridge stocked with cold brew). If you work best with another person sitting next to you (studies show this can be a very effective motivator!), schedule work dates with a friend who also works remotely.
Be a multitasking machine. Probably the best thing about working from home is the massive amounts of time saved. Not having to commute (or even get dressed) in the morning means a substantial amount of extra sleep time, which is glorious. But I also get a lot done at home during the day that I wouldn’t be able to do at the office, like editing blog photos on my lunch break or folding laundry while I’m on a conference call. Score!
Know when to walk away. Conversely, the toughest thing about working from home is unplugging at the end of the day; it can be hard to disconnect when there’s no real separation between home and office. It helps to schedule something that will force you to step away from your desk, whether it’s happy hour with a friend, a yoga class, or just an alarm on your phone reminding you to hit up the grocery store. This also goes for breaks during the day – try to get outside, even if it’s just to walk down the block and feel the sun on your face!
For those of you who also work from home, do you love it or hate it? Any advice to share? I’d love to hear what you think!
P.S. You might also enjoy Jules’ tips for working smarter, not harder.