“You work from home? Ah, that must be nice!”
Anyone who works from home, whether as a self-employed entrepreneur or part-time telecommuter, is probably used to getting this response from friends, family, and even total strangers. You know they are probably picturing you lounging around in your pajamas all day, balancing a laptop on one knee and a bowl of cold cereal on the other. While the temptation to allow a lax work environment is always there, an experienced telecommuter knows that setting healthy boundaries and practices in place not only keeps you productive in your daily tasks, but happy and thriving in everything you do!
Here are 12 ways to stay productive and healthy at your home office.
1. Don’t Just Roll Out of Bed
Shower. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Do all the things you normally would if you were commuting to work. Create an energizing morning routine that is unrelated to work to help you get in the right frame of mind. This may involve light reading, journaling, a workout or some stretching… Give yourself plenty of time!
2. Separate Your Workspace
Keep your desk and work area separate from the rest of your house. This will not only improve your focus while you work, but will maximize your rest and relaxation whenever you leave your work space at the end of the day.
3. Create a Mood
Sometimes the biggest hindrances to our productivity are small things we thought had no influence on us at all: a messy desk, distracting background noise, a weird smell from the garbage… One of the biggest benefits of working from home is that you have more control over your environment. Do you work better with silence or a little white noise like a fan? Could your office space use a few potted plants or inspirational pictures on the wall? Would diffusing some calming oils help your focus? Find out what environmental factors contribute to your best work day and set yourself up for success!
4. Use Ergonomically-Correct Equipment
A larger company may have standards in place for ensuring their employees are using desks, chairs, and devices that promote healthy posture and body positioning. If you work from home you may need to research and figure this out for yourself. Your mouse, keyboard, screens and headset also play a role in maintaining a healthy posture.
5. Set Clear Working Hours
Set clear boundaries when it comes to your working hours. Family and friends may have trouble understanding your office hours if you don’t emphasize the importance of being uninterrupted. Keep your office door shut while you work and let them know when you will be available.
6. Take a Break
When working from home it can be easy to keep plugging away at your computer, hour after hour, without realizing what time it is. This is terrible for your eyesight, posture and mental health. Experts say you should look away from your screen at least every 20 minutes, and spend 5 minutes of every hour standing and moving. If you can use your lunch break to take a brisk walk or do some moderate exercises this can provide you with a huge energy boost to get through the second half of your day.
7. Plan Meals Ahead of Time
It’s better to use your break time for intentional relaxation or enjoying your meal rather than cooking and doing dishes. Make your meals and portion your snacks at the beginning of the day so they are all ready to go when you need one.
8. Invest in Yourself
Workers in a traditional office setting have the benefit of learning from colleagues, group projects, and mandatory training. If you’re not intentional about improving your skills and knowledge while working from home, no one is going to make you. Set some feasible goals to read more, listen to a weekly podcast, or attend a conference for entrepreneurs.
9. Have a “Creative Day”
Sometimes a change of scenery can help get your creative juices flowing again when you’re in a rut. Set aside a little time each week to work from a coffee shop or quiet cafe with free wifi. This is a great time to work on the more creative aspects of your business such as marketing, branding or web design.
10. Stay Connected
Stay connected to clients and coworkers every single day. Use multiple channels such as Skype, Google Hangouts and online meeting software such as GoToMeeting, Zoom or Webex. Take every opportunity you can to get out and meet with clients or business partners in person.
11. Improve Your Technology Skills
Home-based business owners have many hats to wear – including being their own tech support! Don’t wait until something goes wrong to improve your tech skills. Spend time reading “how to’s” online, take classes, and always be sure to watch and ask questions if you do get help!
12. “Extrovert” After Work
Working in a busy, crowded office all day makes the average worker want to rush home and binge on Netflix at the end of the day. Working from home might require you to do the opposite in order to unwind. Schedule a few fun outings on your weeknights to catch up with friends and family and get out of the house!
By implementing some structure and changes to your working environment, you can turn your work-from-home experience into something positive and productive. Let us know your tips and tricks for building a thriving, home-based business!