Many people enjoy working from home – it’s a fact!   It’s showing no signs of going away as employers are quick to realise that it’s an effective way of doing business and it keeps workers happy.

It’s a very different mindset though, so how can you work effectively in your home office, at the dining room table or space under the stairs!

1. Get a room!
Allocate a spare bedroom as your home office or if that’s not possible designate part of a room to work in. Even if it’s a corner of the coffee table, make sure it’s your space during the hours you are working. Keeping a special place in the house will make you feel that you are ‘at work’ and fully focused on your job when you are in that location. When you leave that space your brain will also leave work behind so you can re-engage with your home life.

2.  Set rules for yourself

Remove any TV’s from your office and mute social media if you find these a temptation. There is nothing wrong with a bit of music if it helps you work, but be strict about turning it off if you are doing a task that needs your whole brain to concentrate.

Reward yourself with treats if you complete something on your ‘to-do’ list. If you know you are getting a chocolate biscuit at the end of a difficult task, you will feel a bigger sense of achievement upon completion.

Working alone can be isolating and you won’t have colleagues to make you feel like part of team, so engineer ways to keep you feeling motivated. You may benefit from changing your routine to outside the 9-5 norms, so walking your dog after a couple of hours at your desk instead of first thing in morning will break up the day. Don’t work less hours, just adjust your timetable to fit your work life balance.

3. Set rules for other people
Make sure you communicate your working hours to family members and have a do not disturb rule. If there are small children in the house, make a sign for the office door to show when you are working. It will help them understand at a glance when they should stay quiet and leave you alone.

4. Dress code
Allocate yourself specific work clothes. It doesn’t have to be a smart suit, especially if you are not being seen on video calls or visiting clients, but it should be a different set of clothes. You will feel like you are in work mode if you are wearing your work jogging bottoms and t-shirt as opposed to jeans or pyjamas.

5. To-do list
A to-do list is important to keep you on track and working efficiently. Whether it’s a piece of paper, a white board, post-it notes or on an app, stay on top of it!

Break it down into sections, so you are only doing one or two things from your list per day. A massive list will feel like a mountain, and your mind will be overwhelmed. Tackle the big jobs first and don’t leave the jobs you hate till last.

To be super organised put the jobs into a diary and note the time it takes next to each job. You will be able to picture in your mind when the work will be done. Bear in mind that you’ll probably have more work coming in and interruptions so leave gaps for these.

6. Emails
The expectation is that you are able to respond quickly when working from home. Set aside half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon just to respond to emails and make sure you turn it off the rest of the time. It’s easy to become a slave to the email and jump to attention when it pings, but it’s much too big a distraction.

Try to solve emotional problems with a phone call and back them up in a summary email. An email alone can be emotionless and cold, but a phone call is much softer and you can know that it has been received well just by listening to tone of voice. You can say much more too, and be far more reassuring than a written message alone.

7. Eat well
Don’t be tempted to snack at the fridge, or eat at your desk. Give yourself a proper healthy lunch break away from the laptop. It’s very bad practice to push yourself to carry on working for hours on end as the quality of your work will suffer.

Stay away from sugar – it will make you feel tired. If you need to nibble, choose healthy options like mixed nuts or fruit.

8. Take a break
Give yourself a minimum 10 minute break in the morning and afternoon. It will recharge your batteries and you will be far more productive than if you just plough through.

Get some fresh air at some point in the day if you can, looking at nature is a great way to give your brain a rest. Walk the dog if you have one or just sit in the garden and watch the trees!

9. Keep regular hours
Start the day right and get to your desk at the same time every day. You will soon get into good habits. It’s OK to work after office hours if you need to, but avoid it if you don’t get paid overtime, and especially avoid answering emails late in the day. It will give colleagues and clients the idea that you are available whenever they want, and you’ll find you may be expected to work late or that you are getting phone calls at 9 O’clock at night!

If you work for yourself or you’re employer doesn’t dictate exact working times, you could organise your day to fit your lifestyle. Try working in 2 hour shifts and taking a half hour break between each. You can do a yoga session, take a walk or just make a coffee, but pick a routine that works for you. If you work better in the early morning or late evenings then arrange your life in a way that allows you do this. As long you are getting the work done to a good standard, it doesn’t matter when you did it.

10. Stay connected
It’s a lonely business working at home, and you may find you miss human interaction. Stay in touch with friends, or do something social that is still work related, like a business club. Investigate what’s on in your local area. You may find there are other people working from home who meet for a cafe chat, or a friendly board game. If you can’t find anything, why not start something in your area.

11. Get your accounts organised
If you are freelance or running your own business from home, it’s a good idea to set up your accounts to work efficiently. Here at Xpert Technologies we have amazing accounting software that will get you organised in the best way for your business. It will help you to work efficiently and save time so you can focus on the work you enjoy. For more information follow this link CLICK HERE

12. It’s a great option!
There is evidence to show that remote workers suffer from less stress and are more productive, so embrace your work from home lifestyle and make it work for you.