Working from home for the first time is pretty exciting. Waving goodbye to the daily commute and saying hello to working on your own terms is a dream for most, but when you’re used to the routine of a 9-5, finding your groove sometimes requires a few adjustments. The remote working model has never been so accessible, with a decent internet connection being the only thing between you and the rest of the world, any of us can now do anything, from anywhere.
The benefits of working from home don’t end at the fact you get to be your own boss, other draws include higher morale, reduced environmental impact, and a completely flexible schedule. But how can we make the days when you wake up to a to-do list as long as your arm with no one to check what you’re up to a little bit easier and less likely to start with pressing snooze, and how can you easily adjust to working from home to be sure you get the most out of your day?
Consider your working hours
When you first start you might be tempted to work all the time, weekends, evenings, even beloved bank holiday Monday, but this will quickly lead to burnout. Your best bet is to figure out when you’re the most productive. Think about whether you’re an early bird or a night owl and schedule your working hours around that. Of course, it’s up to you if you’d prefer to work evenings and weekends, the beauty of WFH is that you get to choose, but bear in mind when those you need to contact might also be online if you work best at 3 am you probably can’t expect speedy replies to emails.
Remember that just because you work Monday – Thursday one week, doesn’t mean this has to be your schedule every week, don’t pressure yourself to fit into a routine if that’s not something that helps you. While a strict routine works for some, variety may be the key to your productivity, not everyone is going to respond well to the same strategy.
Change up your location
A survey carried out by Regus found that 56 percent of workers find themselves able to concentrate better when they switched up their working environment. Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean that you have to stay there. Working from coffee shops, co-working spaces or library’s is a great way of maintaining your productivity levels and keep those creative juices flowing. Getting out of the house will also help to combat loneliness and boredom.
Okay, we know this is part of just being a fully functioning adult but this is even more important when you’re working from home. It’s likely that in your previous job you had a little bit of fresh air (even if it was walking to your car) so now you’re working from home you’ll need to make a point of getting outside. Getting some fresh air is proven to energize, improve mood and boost your immune system, so make time for it.
When there’s no one watching what you’re up to it can be tempting to slide over to those cheeky social media icons. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all major distractions, with some studies suggesting that scrolling on social takes up to fifty hours a month of our time (although I think a lot of us could give that stat a run for its money). If you’re worried that the temptation will be too much, try the focus me app, designed to increase productivity and break bad habits, by limiting the amount of time you can access the apps and websites you just can’t stay away from.
Find the right tools
We bang on about this a lot, but there are so many tools to make working from home, just that bit easier. Slack is a popular choice for most, as having a platform to specifically discuss work, helps to separate your personal and professional life. If your job involves posting on social media, you should also utilize scheduling tools like Buffer, or Hootsuite. Scheduling posts to go live ahead of time will reduce the temptation work when you shouldn’t be.
There is a wealth of planning and organizing tools out there so find one that suits you. Trello and Airtable are handy because they allow for team collaboration, which means everyone can stay up to date with your progress, comment on ongoing tasks and see what’s completed and what’s outstanding. They can also see when you’re likely to be busy and when your schedule is looking a little clearer. Of course, if you’re more comfortable with an old fashioned diary or calendar, then stick to that, working from home and being freelance is all about working on YOUR terms.
Never underestimate the power of a decent chair
We know we sound a bit boring but if you plan to spend a lot of time at your desk, a good office chair is an absolute must, young or old, having somewhere comfortable can make or break (literally) how productive you are. Forget flashy tech, If you’re going to invest in anything to make working from home easier do yourself a favour and get a good chair, it’s life-changing.
Find the right tunes
Matching your music to the task in hand is a great way to get in the zone and increase your productivity. Some people find that they can only get work done while listening to music they don’t know to words too, while studies suggest that classical music is the way to go the likes of Mozart and Bach thought to help increase concentration.
While a study carried out by Regus found that 46% of workers preferred to work remotely because it allowed them to spend more time with loved ones if you work best when left alone, it’s important to be clear with whoever you live with that when you’re working, you rather not be disturbed. It can be difficult for those who don’t work at home to understand that just because you’re home, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re available. You wouldn’t be asked if you wanted to watch a movie or hang out at work, so just be sure that you communicate that you’ll need people to respect your space during work hours.
What are your go-to hacks for making working from home easier? Tweet us at @limberapp, and we’ll feature them in a future blog post!