For those of us who work from home, we often hear from others how nice it must be to sit around all day and get paid. No doubt, working from home has its perks: no fighting rush hour traffic, flexibility in hours, time to find a balance between work and family. Not to mention, you have the ability to stop and fix yourself a nice, hot lunch without the use of a microwave.
However, in reality working from home is far more complicated than getting paid to “sit around all day”. In fact, there are many remote workers who have let their work life take over their home. This can cause tremendous stress, so it is important to set some boundaries to prevent your work life from creeping into your family life. Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be if you follow these few simple rules of working from home.
Rule 1: Create a Dedicated (But Flexible) Workspace
Part of the greatness of working from home is being able to have the music turned up, or finally getting that desk that moves from an elevated position to a desktop position. Keeping your papers in one place, like in a dedicated work filing cabinet, can keep you organized, while keeping the rest of your house “clutter free.”
Rule 2: Set Dedicated Hours (and Stick to Them)
Part of the fun of working from home is the ability to set your own hours. If you want to work from 10:00 – noon and then 5:00 to 10:00, it’s your prerogative. A great idea is to create a work calendar that lists your work hours, coworkers’ hours, and even hours you can talk to clients. That way, you are not caught working hours you hadn’t intended.
Rule 3: Take a Day or Two Off
Like many who work from home, you may be tempted to work a little every single day, even on your days off. Beware! When you schedule a day off, take it seriously. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Those days off are important to help you unwind and recharge.
Rule 4: Get into the Groove
While working from home, many have found that creating a morning ritual of making coffee, eating breakfast (standing up at the counter), and quickly washing dishes before heading to the work area almost fools their brain into thinking that “you are now in work mode.”
Rule 5: Take a Field Trip
Working from a different location once in a while can break up the monotony of working from home. Take a trip (with your laptop) to the local botanical gardens, coffee shop, or public library. Go anywhere you’ve wanted to spend an afternoon. Most places now have guest Wi-Fi that you can take advantage of to get your work done. When your computer runs out of battery life, the field trip is over. One note of caution: make sure public Wi-Fi networks are password protected to help guard against intrusion by third-parties. Your company may have rules and safeguards for connecting to Wi-Fi, especially if you access company files remotely, so it is best to discuss with your IT department.