7 Tips to Work from Home
Working from home is becoming more and more common, a lot of people are starting to do it in 2020. In this post I share 7 tips that I have discovered in the last 8 years that I’ve been working from home.
1. Prepare your Working Area
You are going to need a space to work, make sure it’s a dedicated space to work and not just a laptop on the dining table.
If you can have a dedicated room for your home office that will be ideal, but I understand this isn’t possible every time.
The important part is to have a space free of distractions, far from the TVs around the house, far from the kitchen, far from wherever your kids spend most of their time (assuming you have kids at home).
Make sure your working space is well ventilated and has good lighting.
If you can’t have a noise-free space, consider wearing noise-cancelling headphones.
2. Dealing with Family Members
The most challenging part of working from home is avoiding interruptions and distractions. Family members or housemates are one of the biggest ones.
To prevent interruptions from them you may need to have a conversation and have some rules in place.
I’m not too strict with my family in terms of interruptions, but if they come to talk to me while I’m working, I tell them to wait until my next break to talk about it. Remember it’s still a home and it can’t be converted into a workplace all of a sudden.
If you need to make phone call all day, you may need to block hours of uninterrupted work, but if you only make 5 or 6 calls a day, you can let them know every time you’re on the phone, so they don’t interrupt or yell your name from the other room.
3. Dealing with Pets
My dog seems to be waiting for me to start a phone call to start barking, not to mention the neighbours’ dogs.
This advice applies for most animals, but I’m talking about dogs since that’s what I have experience with.
The key is to identify what triggers your pet to make noise, in my case it was people passing by.
To prevent that problem, I lock my dog inside with me in a room away from the front door while making phone calls. That way he can’t hear people passing by.
If you can put your pets in the backyard and even when they make noise you can’t hear them, then that will be the best solution for you.
You may also consider walking your dog in the morning before you start working. I’ve found that my dog sleeps most of the day if he’s had his morning walk, but could become annoying if he doesn’t.
4. Avoiding Housework
Oh, this is a good one. It’s so hard to leave those dirty dishes or that overgrown lawn for later.
Those activities are so tempting when you’re filling the need to procrastinate.
Since those are shores that need to be done, it’s almost guilt-free procrastination. Just remember it is still procrastination and leave them for later.
Limit your visits to the kitchen as well, have plenty of water with you.
5. Hire Fast Internet
Nothing more annoying that a slow internet connection when working from home.
Make sure you choose a provider that give you at least 20Mbps of download speed during business hours.
Get anything but ADSL2+, which can be very slow.
Also, if your internet connection is normally good, but from time to time starts slowing down for 10 or 15 minutes, consider using the Mobile Hotspot option in your mobile during these brief periods.
6. Have Blocks of Work
Organise your work on blocks of 2 hours, or whatever time works for you.
Communicate your working blocks to family members, so they respect that time
Allow enough breaks in between blocks. This is really important.
If you leave near a public space like a sports complex or a church, you want to pay attention to the noise these places generate, then schedule a block to make phone calls during the quietest period.
Loneliness is one of the biggest challenges when working from home; not only if you are a sole trader or “solopreneur”, but also if you have a remote team or co-workers.
The lack of human interaction could affect you emotionally. Make sure you keep in contact with people in a regular basis, even if it’s just a text message.
Visit a co-working space occasionally, have a random afternoon work session at a cafe, library or even a park.
Remember it’s normal to feel this way, nothing to be embarrassed about.