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Thinking about making a shift and working from home? Have amazing dreams of how wonderful it will be to wear your pyjamas on conference calls, laze in bed until 9am and slowly get into your day and being able to have coffee breaks whenever you want? Yeah okay, it sounds pretty awesome. And it totally is. But there are some things you need to know about working from home before you make the leap.
I don’t share this to scare you or to try and discourage you from working from home, I truly believe it is a wonderful thing to do. I love the flexibility, I love being autonomous and I love that I get to be my own boss. But these things you need to know, and I wish I had known.
1 – It Can Be Difficult To ‘Switch Off’
I’m a bit of a workaholic. Without the need to go into the office to work, and with the motivation of working for myself, I could easily ‘work’ from 5am when I get up through to 10pm at night when I finally turn my computer off.
Because you’re always ‘at work’ it can be tempting to work all the time and switching off can be difficult. It’s definitely not something I’ve mastered or will master anytime soon, but it’s certainly something I’m aware of.
Setting ‘work hours’ has helped a lot. Planning out when I will be working and when I will be taking down time stops the guilty feelings creeping in when I’m not working. These guilty feelings are even more prevalent when your work is never really done because when you own your own business there’s always something more you could be doing.
2 – It Can Be Oh So Lonely
Working from home can be incredibly lonely. Where you used to be able to catch up on all the office gossip over lunch of after dinner drinks, you now find yourself having conversations with your dog about which coffee mug you should use and if it’s acceptable to start drinking wine at noon when you work from home (this conversation may or may not have actually taken place…).
The most conversation you have in a day will probably take place either via email, Facebook or on a video chat – most likely about work. Otherwise, it will be with your kids trying to negotiate some peace and quiet so you can actually get your work done.
It can be quite lonely and isolating so make sure you dedicate some time to getting out and having real adult conversations with people in real life.
3 – Some People Won’t Get It And Be Annoyed If You’re Not Available
Explaining that you work from home can be a little difficult, and some people just won’t get it. “Oh, so it’s not like a real job then” has been said way too many times. Real job? Like one that pays me? Then yes, yes it is real. Urgh.
Don’t let it get you down.
You’ll also find that people will want to make arrangements with you during the day, coffee catch ups, lunch dates or they may even just pop over unannounced and be annoyed when you tell them you’re not available or you have to work. Afterall, it’s not like it’s a ‘real’ job. (Insert eye roll here).
Simply let them know you have work hours between certain times and can make arrangements to catch up with them around those times.
4 – You Need Time Management And Discipline
When you do get more coffee date and lunch invitations (and you will) it can be difficult to stick to your work hours, regardless of how much of a workaholic you are. Because in your mind you can still do the work early in the morning and late at night, so why not go out and catch up.
This can also be the case when you’re at home and realise that the floors are a little dusty, or that the kitchen cupboards really do need rearranging, or that you could add an extra dish to dinner tonight.
Time management and discipline are essential when working from home and different styles work for different people. It may take you a little time to work out your groove and be sure to find what does work for you rather than doing what you think you should be doing. That’s why we work from home – so we can be flexible and work the way we want.
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5 – While Pyjamas Are Comfy, Getting Dressed Boosts Productivity
I have this ‘thing’ where I just can’t concentrate on my business work without a bra on. Maybe there’s some connection between boobs and brain, who knows.
While a pyjama day is incredibly tempting and super comfy, having a shower and getting ‘ready’ for the day can provide a massive boost to productivity. It’s like a mental switch between relax mode and work mode.
You may even find having a uniform helps. Not your standard work suit, but just the same thing you wear each day that puts you into the work mindset. It can even be yoga pants, after all, comfort is key.
6 – Routines Will Be Your Best Asset
Routine helps productivity so, so much and it means that you don’t have to use valuable mental power thinking of what you need to do next because it’s all set for you. Such as the uniform theory we were talking about in our previous point.
Simple routine tasks can make such a difference. For example, I get up at 5am every morning, make my coffee and sit down to write. I write for the first 1.5 hours each morning. This allows me to start the day with a few ticks in boxes of what needs to be done.
I don’t have a full day routine because so many things change throughout my day, but I have little ‘mini’ routines that take around an hour or two that I can slot into any part of my day.
Again, it’s all about working out what works for you.
7 – Get Out Of The House
You work there, you live there, you never leave there… well, at least that’s how it feels some days. Don’t get too caught up in the whole ‘work from home’ title. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you actually have to do all of your work while you’re at home.
Get out of the house and go to your favourite local cafe, use their free wifi, eat cake, drink coffee and see your productivity go up! If cafes aren’t really your thing you might prefer to head down to the beach (if you’re lucky enough to live close by) or even just to a nice big shady tree that you can sit under.
Getting outdoors and into the fresh air can really help with your productivity and healthy mindset, as well as decreasing your stress levels and getting a good dose of Vitamin D while you’re at it.
While it seems like there are a lot of hurdles with working from home, every place you work has hurdles and struggles, this just means you need to learn how to deal with a new set. But really, most importantly, it is totally worth it. Working from home can be amazing if you make it so.