Top Tips for Working From Home

Now and again we’re all made to work from home either by choice as professional freelancers or because of the sheer amount of work we have to do and the impending deadlines. This means that we simply have to keep working whenever we can, burning the midnight oil.


A lot of employees are now able to work remotely or have ‘work from home’ days because of the changing lifestyles we lead. This  enables us to resolve our childcare issues, cope with deliveries or essential visits from plumbers (for example), and we have our bosses to thank for these opportunities.


In other instances, however, we have to work from home because we’ve got so much to do in so little time that we opt to do away with our home lives, evenings and weekends. We try to get to some level of completion where we’re far less stressed when we return to the office and the deadlines don’t look quite as scary.

The problem is that working from home isn’t as easy as many feel it will be. There are all kinds of distractions around the home and because we’re in comfortable surroundings, possibly even still in our pajamas or the kind of clothing we’d wear around the house with no intention of leaving that day, we can’t find the same level of motivation that we would have when we put on the work clothes and sit down at our desks at 9am each morning. Sure, we can still make the traditional 8:55 cup of coffee and take the same kind of breaks, but it’s actually forcing ourselves to do the work that many struggle with, especially with nobody around to make sure we’re not slacking.


It doesn’t actually matter where you work, whether it’s a designated home office in what used to be the spare room, on the kitchen table or you’ve bought a log cabin recently with the aim of making it into a home office so you can get away from the distractions; sometimes they will find you and you’ll soon find your productivity levels dropping. There are a few things you can do to get past these though, and make sure that you get back to the office at a point in the project you’re happy with, and so are your bosses.


The first thing you should do to work from home successfully is to continue your working routine. If you normally have an alarm set for 7am with the intention of starting work at 9am, make sure that you keep that going. By doing this you have your normal waking up time and showered and got dressed, and once you’ve had your breakfast and coffee and packed the kids off to school you can sit down ready to work like nothing has changed.


Before you get to your normal working hours, make sure that you find somewhere to work where you’re comfortable. Trying to do your work on a cluttered kitchen table or with a laptop on your knee in the living room is going to be a disaster because you’re not comfortable. Always work with a chair and desk, like you would in the office, whether you’re in the home office, or in the converted shed or log cabin in the garden. Having found this area, make sure that everyone else in the house knows it is off-limits until the end of your working day so that you’re not being disturbed. They wouldn’t walk into your place of work and this is essentially a place of work while you’re doing your tasks and, remember, being paid.

You should also consider how important it is to be comfortable, not just for your productivity but also for your health. Offices now offer employees ergonomic chairs and desk accessories so that they are comfortable and in the best condition physically when they arrive at 9am and leave at 5pm. Doing this at home will also keep you in the same physical and mental state and will get you out of the temptation to sit with a laptop on your knee all day which could have a negative impact on your back, wrists and neck.


Finally, if you receive any calls on your mobile phone or landline, remember that any of those could be your employer ringing to check that everything is alright, that you’re making progress on the project or because they need some information from you regarding something you’ve been working on, such as status updates for reporting. It’s important, therefore, that you answer your phone in a professional manner and also, if the children are at home, that it is you who answers all incoming calls.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.