8 things to avoid when working from home
Working from home is becoming a regular ability in companies that offer great flexibility. It works for a lot of people, not only for school drop-offs or when you wake up and one of the kids is sick. But also for helping people to keep productive, maintaining good mental health, and allowing more time for hobbies and less time commuting! Everyone is different and sometimes working from home is more suitable for some than others. Either way, it’s not what everyone is used to so work from home days can sometimes seem a little unstructured in comparison to a day in the office. This doesn’t have to be the case though! Here are some things to avoid when working from home to ensure maximum use of your time and ultimate efficiency.
Winging it and not planning the day
Always plan your day. When you don’t have a schedule or to-do list in place, you will find yourself getting distracted easier and when you take a break for lunch or to put some washing on you might feel the need to drag out that time and avoid getting back to work. It can be de-motivating to not know what you should be working on. We suggest making a to-do list (or the like) the night before so that when you wake up you know exactly where you need to start and what needs to be completed by the end of the day.
Not starting early enough
Another thing that can slow you down is not starting early enough. Firstly, don’t sleep in. Set your alarm like any other day (or minus your commute time) and make sure you start work at the same time you would in the office. Most people even start earlier. This ensures you don’t get caught up having a long breakfast and losing enthusiasm to get started.
Working in places like your bedroom or lounge room
It seems innocent enough to sit on your comfy couch or under a snuggly blanket in the coziness of your bed but that’s for relaxing time once the day is done. For one thing, your mind and body might subconsciously connect these places to work long after you’ve clocked off which means you might struggle sleeping or resting your mind. Secondly, you will not feel like working very hard in these areas of the house or apartment. Lastly, your posture will be awful which can lead to discomfort. It’s ideal to have a designated office area and if there is no room for that then try working at your dining table or at a kitchen bench. These are spaces that are considered ‘useful’. While you’re comfortable enough in the space of your own home, you’re not too comfortable to the point of wanting to snooze all day.
Wearing your pajamas all day
This may work for some people, but it won’t for most. Especially if you have video conferences during the day! It’s wise to get dressed in a simple, casual outfit. It can still be comfortable, you might even want to wear trackies, just make sure you’ve showered and changed and feel fresh for the day ahead. Like working in bed, wearing pajamas might just make you feel sluggish, tired or restful rather than motivated to work.
Not taking breaks/getting out of the house
Don’t try to smash through everything without taking a break. It’s even more important to get up and stretch your legs a little too. Go for a walk around the block or take time to water some plants. Do anything that gets you up and active for a short time. If you are an extroverted person, it can help to go to your local coffee shop to get a pick me up and have some face to face interactions with people. Either way, don’t overwork yourself and enjoy the perks of being at home.
Not setting an ‘EOD’ time
Sometimes, when people work from home they start early and finish late! This might not be so bad if you’ve taken a sufficient break during the day. But it is bad if you’ve worked the whole way through. Set yourself a finish time or specific hours that work for you, your colleagues and your clients in terms of communication. For example communication during the day might be quiet due to colleagues or clients in different time zones, so schedule time to rest in those down times and to work when they are available. Just ensure you aren’t overworking or burning yourself out when you work from home.
Getting distracted by social media or television
This one should go without saying. It is way more tempting to just browse online, get on social media or watch tv when you’re at home. Afterall, no one is there to judge you. But it’s important to stick to your schedule. Some people enjoy the tv on in the background or music playing. Do whatever works for you without letting technology distract you from the goals you’ve set for yourself that day. It’s possible to block certain sites for a period of time (of your choice) if you find self-discipline difficult when it comes to internet browsing.
Not communicating efficiently with colleagues
Just because you are physically by yourself does not mean forgetting about your colleagues. Engage in instant messenger chats, pick up the phone for a call instead of writing a long winded email and smile when you answer the phone. These things help keep communication open and it lets others know you are happy to be contacted any time they need you even if you aren’t physically present in the office.