Take away the Hassle of Working from Home

Successful Home Working

If you’ve opted for, or earned the privilege of working from home – you know it’s not all as easy as you thought it would be. It’s not for everyone.

And for me, I always feel guilty when I move away from the desk or even stop for lunch. I have had to force myself to relax and not worry about my colleagues thinking I’m skiving, or worse, missing a call from my boss. But I am getting better.

Here are my 12 top tips for Working from Home

1. Set up your Office

It is crucial that you create a dedicated space to work in that is comfortable and private. This space is yours, so make it personal! For home working remember to put away non work distractions so you’re not tempted to stray from the job in hand.

A mouse and a black pen resting on the cover of the Display Screen Equipment Guidance Book
Keeping healthy by following the UK regulations for computer set up

2. Keep Healthy

You should have all your tools, like your computer, phone and printer in one place and even though you are at home the office set up should be compliant with your company health and safety rules. Check with your workplace with what these are and if you need glasses or a better chair. When working at home for your company you should have the right equipment supplied. Remember you are saving them money by using your own office.

To see the UK rules for workstations and what is necessary to prevent ill health click this link

3. Start each Day like you’re going to Work

That means following your usual work routine – taking a shower, getting dressed and having breakfast. Setting professional standards will put you in a productive mindset. Your hours should correspond with others in your business. Don’t vary them unless agreed in advance with your manager.

4. Begin 30 Minutes Early

This time can be used in two ways: To create a plan for the day and to catch up on the news and social media. Every morning, list things you need to do that day, break large projects into smaller pieces; marking each task as complete will keep you motivated. Resist the call from anything that seems more enjoyable than work. The news stories. Watching TV. Surfing the net. The fridge.

Staying focused on work is all about focus.

A Do Not Disturb notice hanging on a door handle
Do Not Disturb the Home Worker

5. Do not Disturb

Setting up your office also means having boundaries with the people (and even pets) you share your home with. Make sure everyone understands when you are available and when you are not.

6. When do you Work Best?

I’m a morning person, so I start working on the most difficult tasks first. We all have tasks we don’t enjoy, whether we’re working for ourselves or someone else. In the afternoon, I do less taxing jobs such as proofreading, replying to emails and drafting documents for checking the next morning.

7. Stay Connected

Some get lonely working from home, but you don’t have to be. Use video conferencing calls, chat, Skype or Google Hangouts and get in the habit of using it. Use this instead of the phone, why not join the staff meetings in the office by conference call.

It doesn’t take much effort to check in with the people you work with, and your relationships will benefit from it. Being on camera is an added incentive to look your best! When you’re able to see people, they don’t seem so far away.

8. Mark Home Working in Your Work Diary with Contact Numbers

Mark home working time on your office calendar and leave telephone and contact numbers for people to contact you. I use Microsoft Office Manager and Calendar but Google has the same facility.

Do not decide to pretend to  ‘work from home’ when childcare lets you down or at the drop of a hat. This always makes managers suspicious of your intentions. Plan your working, tell your manager and team and discuss the work you will be doing well in advance of the working from home days.

9. Go into the Office

With you working from home you don’t have accidental access to others work. How many times have you seen a colleagues desk or screen which prompts a conversation about shared interests or information about a project you are working on? Working from home can impact on the team productivity and if it adds to the work of others, then you must go into the office.

10. Take Breaks

Remember you don’t have to sit at your desk all day. Schedule breaks throughout the day and a longer one in the middle of the day or why not pop out for a walk or lunch.

A row of perfectly set up computer stations in sepia
Computer Stations (DSE)

11. Keep Manager Informed of Work

Some businesses use cloud-based project management services to track work, with home workers recording what projects they plan to work on, and then check off what they were able to complete at the end of the day. This facility allows supervisors to see what you are doing and gives home workers a record of work done.

12. Close the Door at the end of the day

This is sometimes hard to do. It’s easy to keep working long after the work office closes. After all, your home office is as easily accessible on the weekend as it is during the week. Make a point of getting out of the house on the weekends.

Is Home Working For You?

Still not sure if home working is right for you or your Manager says no? Why not start small? Try one day a week or offer to work on an important project where you need to concentrate with no distractions?

Some employees work better in their own spaces and some don’t, but you will not know unless you give it a try. Remember there’s no boss looking over your shoulder, and you must get the work done. To make home working successful, try for more self-discipline and find ways to keep motivated.

Working from home is rewarding. No sitting in traffic. No more office politics.  But there are distractions, and you can get isolated from your team. But if you focus on creating structure and boundaries you’ll be amazed how much you can do and hopefully, so will your Manager.

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