For many people the thought of working from home is a dream come true. For one it can mean no more maddening journeys to the office, weaving in and out of endless traffic.

Working from Home

Additionally it can also help to re-dress the family and work-life balance. However, it is not all plain sailing. There are quite a few pitfalls that should be avoided. If you are not careful you could easily become unproductive and depending on the situation could “earn” a quick recall to the office.

If working from home appeals to you then this blog post is a definite read. Here we will be taking a closer look at some key advice that when followed should help to make working from home really work for you.

Define Your Working Hours

One very real danger of working from home is that you might not set or define your working hours. Without doing so you run the risk of being “on-call” every hour of the day.

Whilst one benefit of working from home is that it offers a greater degree of flexibility you would be well placed to set some basic hours. This way you and the other people around you know when you are going to be busy doing what you are supposed to.

So for example if you decide that you will work from 9am to 4pm then make sure that at the start time you are actually 100% ready to work. Equally when 4pm arrives you should be ready to down tools and finish for the day.

Organise Your Workspace

A big wake-up call awaits when working from home, especially for those who have been used to the facilities of their office.

Even the most basic offices tend to have plenty of equipment and decent areas to work from. Whilst you might be able to get by with just your trusty laptop the chances are you will need a specific workspace to work from. Working from the dining room table is likely to prove counterproductive, not to mention it might not fit well with all other family members.

To this end you should be looking to organise your own specific workspace. The best way to achieve this is to buy a new workstation or desk unit. Like many people, space could be a consideration. If this applies then a corner based solution could work out well. This way you will have a permanent base to work from as well as being able to store and retrieve important papers.

Take Regular Breaks

When working in a normal office environment there is an expectation to take a few breaks during the day. Normally there would be a break for morning coffee, then one for lunch and a further break sometime in the afternoon.

Take Regular Breaks

To this end, working from home really should be much different. It might be that you don’t take the same amount of time, but the bottom line is that you should break up the day a little. Taking the opportunity here to stretch your legs and come away from your desk for a while can be really positive. When you return to your desk you will be refocused and ready to go again for the next 2 -3 hour stint. This for most people is a much more productive way of getting through the day.

A further tip here is to set a reminder. Working alone means that there isn’t going to be other people to remind you to grab that coffee. There is a very real danger that the break you promised yourself can pass you buy, leading to less productivity.

If you need any additional convincing on the importance of taking breaks at work, then head over to The New York Times where they have a great post on this very subject.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

Staying connected to others is an important thing to do, especially if you are used to a traditional office based environment.

If your company’s office is nearby then it could be a good idea to call in every once in a while, even if there is no requirement on your part to do so. This will remind people that you still exist and also allow you to maintain those all-important rapport levels that are required in most lines of work.

Of course, sometimes the office isn’t local. This doesn’t mean you can’t interact with others. A visit to the local coffee shop could provide the answer here; you’d be surprised to know just how many others are in the same boat as you.

The Final Word

Working from home can be seen as a privilege; however, it isn’t going to suit everyone. To make the most out of things it is essential that you set proper boundaries. Put simply, it works best if you prevent your work from eating into time that you should be spending with your family.

Featured images:

License: Creative Commons

image source

License: Creative Commons image source

When your author (Mike Roberts) decided to work from home there were a few initial teething problems. A quick visit to helped Mike to pick up some much needed home office furniture, which in turn helped him to be more productive.