These days, working from home has become commonplace. Whether by choice or by obligation, there are more and more teleworkers.
But, sanitary conditions aside, entrepreneurs who work from home have always existed. When starting a business, especially in the early days, it is very common that renting premises is impossible, or even unnecessary. We will then prefer to work from home.
However, working from home does not mean working without constraint and from the back of your sofa. Indeed, working at home can be more difficult than you imagine.
What are the main difficulties of working from home?
Work at home on the first day is great: you can get up later, there is no travel time to your place of work. We can stay in a comfortable outfit, why not in pajamas? We can take breaks whenever we want, and no one can blame us for eating over their computer keyboard.
However, after a few days, we realize that it is precisely these “advantages” of working at home that will cause difficulties.
When you work in a place that is also where you live, it is extremely easy to lose pace. We can very quickly develop bad habits:
– Do not start work at regular hours;
– Not being able to stop working at night;
– Skipping meals, or on the contrary, snacking all day;
– Let yourself be distracted by the distractions that the house offers;
– No longer succeed in distinguishing between private and professional;
– No longer leaving your home;
– Let yourself live, or on the contrary, put too much pressure on yourself …
And the list is still long. To sum up, we can say that working at home means taking the risk of losing balance in your life. And to work effectively, having a balance is essential.
If for some reason you have to take on the challenge of working from home, you’re going to need to develop good habits to stay effective.
Here are some tips for working efficiently when working at home.
1 – have the right frame of mind
It might sound like a little trite advice, but it is the very first step, and it is essential.
Take the time to think about the meaning of what you are doing.
Sometimes when working from home, just getting up in the morning to get to work can be a difficult step. You need to keep your eyes on your goals and remember why you are doing all this.
It also means that you need to know why you are working from home, and not in an office: are you doing what you really want to do? Are you doing it for the right reasons? Have the right mindset!
2 – get dressed
And yes, the bad news: the pajama suit is very comfortable and nice at first, but it’s a bad idea in the long run.
If you go directly from your bed to your desk, without going through the dressing room, then you risk not making the difference between the two spheres: the private sphere, and the professional sphere.
Your outfit is a symbol. It is also an indicator of your state of mind. Your uniform.
When you take off your pajamas, you are leaving time to rest. When you put on a daytime outfit, you are officially entering a period of activity and productivity.
The outfit you choose doesn’t have to be overdressed, of course – you’re not being asked to wear a tie or put on makeup. All you have to do is prepare yourself a minimum, and wear daytime clothes.
3 – Master computer tools
Working at home most of the time means working behind your computer screen.
To remain efficient, and to be always more productive, even from home, it is absolutely necessary that you master the IT tools necessary to maintain your activity.
If you need a tool and find that you are not comfortable with it, then train yourself. Nowadays it is very easy to train yourself in the use of software, by watching tutorials on Youtube, for example.
If you are going for a long period of working from home, then don’t hesitate to invest! A better Internet connection, a better computer, the purchase of software, the purchase of training courses… In the long term, being well equipped and master of one’s tools can prove to be essential.
4 – Set up a work routine
Having a suitable routine is absolutely essential. See the flow of your workday as a ritual. Do things in order, always in the same order, and always the same things.
Studies have shown this, and if you don’t believe us, the experience will tell you: when you develop a routine, and you always do the same things, your brain ends up working less, and everything becomes easier.
5 – Choose times that suit you
Choose times that are suited to you, your activity, and your personal pace. Take into account a number of criteria:
– Are you more efficient in the morning or in the evening?
– What are the hours of the other inhabitants of the house?
– What are your various obligations outside of work?
From this information, define:
– The time when you should start working in the morning;
– The time at which you must stop working in the evening;
– The start and end times of your meal break.
6 – stick to your schedule
Now that you have a nice, well-defined schedule… Stick to it!
This is one of the most difficult challenges when working from home: sticking to your schedule. Sometimes it is tempting to sleep an hour longer. It is sometimes difficult to stop working in the evening when you have not completed a task as quickly as expected, for example.
However, it is absolutely essential: you have to know when to stop.
7 – Check the boxes
To be effective, you have to find the right way to stay focused on what you are doing during the day. Here’s a little tip that has proven its effectiveness more than once: tick the boxes!
Make to-do lists. Do several: one for the week, then one per day. Write a list of the things you need to do during the day in the morning, prioritizing the most important tasks.
Checking boxes provide satisfaction that can be very motivating! Imagine the pleasure of a fully ticked list at the end of the day?
8 – Equip and personalize your workspace
Once you’ve found your office area, set it up properly.
Your office area must be ergonomic, practical, comfortable. You have to be comfortable, not wanting for anything. It is also a place that should make you want to work.
Do not hesitate, for example, to invest in a good comfortable office chair. Decorate your office with items that soothe you and help you focus, like plants, for example.
Small motivational tip: hang a whiteboard, or a corkboard, above your workstation. You can write or set your to-do lists and your daily goals there!
9 – Make the distinction between private and professional
Choosing a dedicated workspace will help you distinguish between private and professional. But there will be other challenges. Your surroundings will constantly remind you of your privacy: the people who live with you, your pets, your late household chores can be big distractions.
Little tip: make sure your cleaning is done in the evening before going to bed. Indeed, a disorganized work environment can be a brake on concentration!
10 – Avoid distractions
At home, distractions are everywhere. Since your home is above all designed to be a place of rest and relaxation, you will be constantly tempted to return to these pleasant distractions: television, cell phone, video games…
Avoid this kind of distraction.
If you know you have a tendency to get swallowed by your television, avoid turning it on during your lunch break.
Little tip: have two phones, a pro and a personal one. During your working day, switch off your personal phone. Only give your pro number to your professional contacts and relatives so that they can reach you in case of a problem. Do not consult your personal phone until your breaks, as you would under the supervision of a boss!
11 – Set limits with those around you
If you don’t live alone, check in with those around you. Every member of your family should understand that your workday is no less important because it takes place at home.
Explain to them that they should not disturb you while you are working.
Sometimes your loved ones may feel like you aren’t really working, or that your day has been less tiring than theirs because you haven’t moved. Don’t be demotivated by these kinds of prejudices, and communicate with them to let them know what your life is like.
12 – Take regular breaks
In order not to lose focus, it is important to let your brain breathe at a regular pace. Take a 10-minute break every 90 minutes, for example.
13 – Leave your home at least one hour a day
One of the risks of working from home is never going through the front door again. Do not fall into the trap, and do not become a homebody!
Leave your home at least an hour a day. It can be in the morning before starting the day, or in the evening after it is over. It can be to see people, to go for a jog, or just to walk in your neighborhood.
The most important thing is to stay active, also physically, to stay in shape. Fitness is essential for everyday efficiency, even at work.
14 – Draw conclusions
When our daily lives undergo big changes, we cannot do everything perfectly the first time. Some things work for some people, but not for others. Maybe some of our tips won’t work for you.
Experiment, and draw conclusions. Adjust to what works best for you, and always stay tuned.
15 – Measure your luck
This is our last tip, but not the least. Measure your luck. Whatever your reason for working at home, whether it is the result of a choice or not, you are fortunate enough to be able to do it.
When your pace of work is a source of stress, and when you are under pressure, remember how comfortable it is, and how better you are here than elsewhere!