Whether you are working from home by choice or as a result of COVID there will undoubtedly be significant differences from being at the office. What I learned from working at home may save you some time with the inevitable learning curve.
I’m a full-time blogger and have found working from home to be both rewarding and challenging.
In this article, I will share my rewards as well as the challenges I have experienced.
According to Wikipedia working from home (WFH) is also called Telecommuting, Telework, Teleworking. The most common term in the UK is mobile work, remote work and flexible workplace which is a work
arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse, or store.
Yes, it can be quite the adjustment and it can be so tempting to think you can work comfortably in your pyjamas all day.
Sounds great until that first conference call via zoom and you’re caught not exactly looking professional.
I have also found that I can be easily distracted by household chores, which by the way don’t get any ‘work’ done.
- The dishes in the sink
- laundry needs folding.
- kids need attention
- the pets need attention
- the phone rings
Developing the necessary self-discipline can be tricky, to say the least.
The past 3 years have taught me a fair bit about working at home and how to maintain my professionalism and stimulate my creativity while being disciplined enough to complete tasks.
A Morning Ritual to Replace ‘The Commute”
We used to have that morning commute to the office.
Without that commute, I wanted to laze around start my morning slowly.
Lazy mornings were definitely not conducive to getting a full day’s work in and I just didn’t feel creative and found it difficult to get any content written.
I had read somewhere that having a morning routine could boost your productivity when working at home so I gave it try.
I hit the treadmill upon waking and have really come to appreciate that time with myself each morning. I plan my day while running, think of the tasks I need to get done. Sometimes I even think of a great idea for an article I would like to write.
After that hour of exercise, the shower is so refreshing. I make sure to get dressed in something that will be comfortable sitting at the computer for hours at a time but will also look attractive if a zoom call becomes necessary.
It helps me feel more professional if I have taken the time to look my best. No, I don’t need full make-up or a dress. I just ensure I look presentable and feel like I am going to work.
There are a couple of reasons I make sure to make my bed every morning:
- By having the bed made it removes the temptation to lay back down for a few minutes. While there is nothing wrong with a short nap if you are feeling really tired but going back to bed soon after getting up is not a good idea if you want to be productive.
- If the rest of the day is a complete wipe-out and Life gets in the way as it sometimes does, I at least have the satisfaction of completing that one simple task of making my bed. (This affects the mindset. If I can complete that I can complete more things.)
After completing these few simple tasks I feel ready to tackle my to-do list and head for the ‘home office’.
Have A Designated Workspace
Thinking back, at first, I would just grab the laptop wherever I was and try to work and then I wondered why I had difficulty getting started and completing my ‘to do’ list.
There were just too many distractions:
- dirty dishes
- take the garbage out
- the mailman is here
- the son calls to chit chat
- the daughter is looking to drop the kids off for a couple of hours
- that uncompleted tasking calls your name
- the cat wants attention
It didn’t take long to realize this wasn’t working and I knew I needed designated workspace and perhaps set some rules for myself.
Time for a change…
The first thing I did was converted a spare room into a home office. I have a desk for me and a desk for my husband as he also blogs.
Since we have been using our home office we have both been much more productive in creating regular high-quality content for our websites.
I have found that having a designated workspace helps me get into the ‘work mindset’ when I walk into the office each morning.
Another bonus of this designated workspace is that I can close the door on business at the end of the day. I like the idea of ‘turning off business.’
It creates a separation between work and the rest of our lives and it works so much better.
Take health breaks
If we were to work in a typical office we would have regular breaks so why should that be any different when working from home.
I take time to go make a cup of tea or get a glass of water. Sometimes, I will even fold that load of laundry while I wait for the kettle to boil.
On hot days we may take a break for a quick dip in the pool to cool off then return to work feeling refreshed and energetic.
At noon I make a healthy lunch and sometimes we sit out on the deck to eat or in our screened-in sunroom if the mosquitoes are particularly bad that day.
When we return to work after our break we seem better able to focus and get the next task completed.
Remember to take breaks when necessary, just don’t let those breaks turn into the rest of the day.
Set work hours
When you have a job your boss determines your work hours so it stands to reason then when working from home it is also important to determine what your working hours are going to be.
Then make sure you show up on time and just as importantly stop working on time. It’s alright to spend an extra few minutes to finish up what you were doing but if it takes more then 30 minutes perhaps it’s best to leave it for the next day.
Just because you are working from home does not mean you are working around the clock.
It is important to have non-working hours in your day too.
Yes, some things just can’t wait and they got to get finished which is fine.
Balance is the key. Work during work hours and the rest of the day is yours to do whatever it is you want to do.
As bloggers, we tend to work from 9 till noon. Then the day is ours.
The beauty of working from home is that if either of us is feeling particularly inspired we can just head into the office and research that idea or write that article while the inspiration is strongest but we be careful to maintain a healthy balance between work and the rest of our life. Taking a few minutes to write down a few notes for the next days’ topic can be very productive especially when you don’t remember what it was that came to mind the day before.
The family now knows we work every morning so they tend to not call or visit till after work hours unless it’s very important.
Get Fresh Air
It is important to get daily fresh air. After sitting at the computer for several hours I need to move and get outside.
When I use to do my work on the couch after a while my wrists would get sore and painful due to the angle. I also would have acks in the back from not sitting up straight while typing.
All this discomfort has disappeared since we have an office with a proper desk and chairs to sit in.
A nice brisk walk is also perfect or a dip in the pool to get refreshed.
Time spent in the garden is always enjoyable regardless of whether I am planting, harvesting or just weeding. It is very peaceful and enjoyable.
Sometimes we like to go for a motorcycle ride or sail on our sailboat.
Whatever we do, we make sure fresh air is a part of every day regardless of the season.
Change location occasionally
Sometimes we like to head to the marina and just sit outside and work away.
There are times we go for a few days on our sailboat, with the laptop we can easily work wherever we are anchored or moored.
Other times I like to work in our screened-in sunroom.
Wherever we decide to work the change of scenery is all it takes sometimes to remedy a case of writer’s block or at least improve our sense of creativity.
Naturally, we work in the office most days but it doesn’t hurt to change it up sometimes.
If you work in an office or at any job, you would take a vacation every year. Working from home is no different.
We all need to get our minds completely away from work and just have fun.
This year with COVID restrictions still in place we will sail local waters, or ride to areas of our province we haven’t explored before.
It will be a summer of staycations and mini-vacations for us.
We will be taking time off to refresh our minds, then when we return we will be better able to create the content required for the success of our blogs.
My final thoughts of ‘What I Learned From Working At Home, it can be very challenging at times to stay focused or even to just get started.
Our homes are full of distractions when it comes to working and will always get in the way until you put some rules in place.
Once we set some basic rules and let others know about them, working from home can be very rewarding.
- no commuting to work
- no special clothing to wear
- no boss if you are a blogger or have your own business
- can be more productive
- if need a break some things around the house can get done
- if not feeling well you can just take a nap and carry on later
- you can schedule things around your work a lot easier than a job
- dogs barking
But of course, we have to set the rules and stick to them. Once the rules are in place and followed it doesn’t take long to become a routine.
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If you already have experience working from home please share with us your experience.
Did you have and setbacks to overcome or did you just fit right in with working from home.
Are you self employed or was forced to take your work home with you.
I hope you enjoyed my article today…
I would love to hear your ideas, please share them below.
Stay safe and have fun.