Working from home is excellent. More independence and a flexible schedule are just the beginning. It used to take at least an hour to get to work and another hour to get home. That makes up to 520 hours (21 days) a year. Not having to commute any more reduces the carbon footprint and saves thousands of euros in travel costs per year.
Working from home is tough. More distraction and less supervision can lower your productivity if you’re not careful. Being alone at home all day can also hurt your physical and mental health.
During the last 10 years, we have discovered various tricks that keep us on track and healthy while working at home. Whether you are a freelancer, teleworker, or small business owner, these tools and strategies can make your work from home more efficient and easier to handle.
1. Get your job
One of the key points to successfully working from home is to have a permanent position. Whether it’s a guest room, a converted garage, a yurt or a ” Hangout nest is,” you create a place that to work, and only has to work.
“You have to create an environment for you that makes you realize that your free time is over and working hours are starting.”
Do you not have much space? Even if you live with other people in a small apartment, you must make yourself a place from which you work. You can build a loft bed and put a desk underneath it, look for a corner to suit your workplace or even set you up in the hallway or a chamber.
2. Optimize your workplace
Keep your workplace clean and tidy. In an OfficeMax survey, 77% of respondents said disorder was degrading their productivity, and more than half said it also hurt their motivation and mood.
“Your performance is consistent with your workplace. If he is organized and accurate, you have the right attitude and motivation to work. “
– Jennie Dede, VP of Recruiting at Adecco
Clutter can also affect your reputation. If you have video calls with co-workers or customers, a sloppy desk, bad light, or embarrassing personal belongings in the background will distract you from what you want to say, no matter how eloquent you are.
Avoid having a fridge, snacks, or unhealthy drinks in the immediate vicinity. Weight gain is a severe problem for people who work from home. Always have a liter bottle of water near you and refill it at least once, but better twice a day.
3. Be prepared with backups
The phrase “you never know when lightning strikes” can sometimes hit the bullseye when a lightning bolt literally hits your house. Laptop and router can be grilled entirely. All your work is lost, and you have to renew your whole system.
When you work online, make regular backups, and save files in the cloud whenever possible. Check all your equipment weekly and learn how to do necessary repairs and fixes yourself.
If your budget allows, get backup equipment and services, including:
- An extra laptop or desktop PC
- Wireless and fixed internet connection
- Mobile, VoIP (“voice over IP” eg, Skype), and landline phone
- Replacement battery or UPS (uninterruptible power supply)
4. Stay on a fixed schedule
Once your job is done, establish a consistent routine. Sure, one of the benefits of working at home is being able to work whenever you want, but that does not mean you just have to act on the gut. A structured schedule helps to increase productivity significantly. It also makes it easier to separate your work from your free time.
Make a schedule based on the type of work you do and where your customers or colleagues are based. If you work for a company in your time zone, plan your working day around their working hours. On the other hand, if you’re a freelancer and you work for clients in different time zones and countries, it’s better to work in shorter blocks throughout the day instead of 8 hours at a time. Whenever possible, schedule a portion of your time, daily or weekly, to overlap with that of your colleagues and clients.
Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, found that the best workers usually work in continuous blocks of no more than 90 minutes at a stretch.
5. Take breaks and get up!
Dr. Ericsson and colleagues also found that stopping work every 90 minutes refreshes your energy levels and prepares you for the next task with a new attitude. During these breaks, you can get up and stretch yourself and do light exercises, fill up your water bottle, walk out of the house to get some fresh air, eat a healthy snack and come back refreshed.
“Employees who take a break every 90 minutes have a 30 percent higher concentration level than those who do not have a crack or only one break a day. They also report that they have 50 percent more creative thinking and 46 percent more excellent health and well-being. “
– Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project
Sitting all day is terrible for you. Some studies suggest that every hour of sedentary activity lowers your life expectancy by more than 20 minutes, which is a rather astonishing statistic to keep in mind.
Consider getting a standing desk or a cross-trainer under the office. But most importantly, get up at least once an hour during the day and take a break for light activities. Go for a walk, do some gardening, clean up your office or play with your kids – whatever works best for you.
In a issue of ” The Meaningful Show, ” Dean Bokhari explored the importance of the “rituals of renewal” even further. Dean states, ” Whenever you can switch off for a short time, it allows your mind to rejuvenate and renew itself a bit. If you indulge yourself and then return to your focus, you will find that you are actually more productive. “
The best app: GPS for the soul
The Huffington Post iOS app helps to find a healthy balance between your everyday life and your work. You can create tutorials for you that include things like your sweetheart’s pictures, inspirational quotes, music, and breathing exercises to help you restore harmony and balance.
6. Make a few changes
Just because you can work from home, does not mean that you always work from home need. Go to the café or library every now and then. Do you know any other people working in your area from home? Schedule regular coworking meetings with them in your favorite café.
Change the nature of your work as often as possible. If you stare at one and the same project without making noticeable progress, take a break from it to refresh your energy and concentration. Then go back to the task that has caused you problems, refreshed, and ready to master the task.
7. Stay social
When you work at home, you meet and interact with fewer people every day. As a result, many homeworkers feel isolated, which can lead to anxiety and even depression.
Once you’ve found your groove and found a routine that makes you happy, do not forget to keep in touch with your friends and colleagues. You need to make time for personal exchanges by scheduling face-to-face meetings, along with lunches and other social activities. Fortunately, we live in a time when available technology makes it very easy for us to stay in touch with others.
Homework has changed our working environment, and as sociologists and companies argue about the pros and cons and the impact on society and the workplace, more and more people are choosing to work whenever and wherever they want. As reported in 2017, 3.7 million employees (making up 2.8% of the entire U.S. workforce) work from home for at least half the time.
If you’re one of them, make your health (including your mental one) a priority so working from home is a great experience!