A Field Guide to Working From Home

Working from home can feel like a liberating experience. However, along with the freedom comes several downfalls.

Challenges of working from home include the added distraction of home life. There’s no “getting away from the kids” per se. Without the buzz of the office and the social interactions from your coworkers, it can get a tiny bit lonely. You may start to feel like you are not part of the team.

To combat the added work from home blues, we have put together some helpful tips and tricks. Hopefully, they can get you through the next work week and on to that critical promotion.

1. Establish a Routine

That’s right. Just because you don’t need to get up at 5:30 to beat the morning traffic, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an alarm set. Part of the beauty of working from home is the ability to set your schedule. But make sure you do set a plan, or you may find yourself reliving your college days.

Wake up at the same time, set lunch breaks at the same time every day, and try to keep the same working hours. Setting a schedule will help your coworkers, clients, or boss know when you are available for meetings or calls. It also gives you a sense of when you can stop for the day, so you don’t overdo it.

2. Get ready as if you were going to work

I know, it’s super tempting to work from the couch in your sweatpants (or no pants). However, getting up, showering, and getting dressed like your going to the office can help you get in the right mindset. Getting ready for the day helps to get your brain into work mode and will help you stay more productive and on task.

Studies have shown that what you wear affects your productivity. So like they say, dress to impress, even if it’s just you and your cat.

3. Invest in a home office

Get yourself a place where you can shut off the everyday distractions and be “at work.” Make it your workspace, and get rid of all the things that would distract you from doing your job. Being able to close the door additionally comes in handy if you have kids, roommates, husbands, etc.

I ended up having to put a sign on my door when I am working. My roommate tends to forget that even though I’m home, I’m actually at work.

Make sure your workspace is a place where you feel comfortable and productive. One of the benefits of working from home is that you are in control of the space so you genuinely can make it yours. Moreover, don’t forget, your home office is a tax write off.

Another important aspect of having a home office is the ability to separate some of your work and home life. You can put yourself in a separate mindset when you are in your work zone. Nevertheless, then when work time is over, and you emerge, you can enjoy your homelife without the added mentality of work.

4. Create a Work Ambiance

I’m not saying get yourself a watercooler or anything. However, creating an ambiance can help increase productivity.

For some people, it’s the sound of a coffee shop or office bustle. Mynoise.net is a beautiful website for those who need a little bit of background noise to concentrate. The site features all sorts of ambient sounds, from coffee shops to Japanese gardens to white noise and waterfalls. You can even customize the chatter to your comfortable level of background noise.

5. Try Productivity Tools

When I was in college, my math prof introduced me to the Pomodoro technique. I’ve used it ever since. For anyone unfamiliar, when you’re using a Pomodoro timer, you break your worktime up into chunks with little breaks in between. Each of these cycles is called a Pomodoro.

For instance, you would set the timer for 25 minutes and then get a 5-minute break. After four of these short break cycles, you get a longer 15  to 30-minute break.

The goal is to reduce interruptions in focus or flow. I like the feeling of accomplishment you get after buckling down on one thing for a good chunk of time. Another bonus is knowing that you will get a break soon when working on a particularly tedious task. It makes it go by much faster.

Several different free and paid apps center around the Pomodoro technique. Some are even gamified. Don’t interrupt your Pomodoro or your trees will die!

6. Make An Effort To Be Social

Working from home can get lonely. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like part of the team when the only person there is you. Combating the loneliness can present a whole new level of challenges that may be unexpected when you first start working from home.

Make an effort to communicate with your coworkers. Don’t be afraid to send out a Monday morning email asking how the weekend went. And don’t you dare miss the Christmas party.

Another way to combat the work from home loneliness is to take things outside of the “office” once in a while. A significant benefit of working from home is that for many of us, we can work anywhere. So grab your laptop and head to the coffee shop or the library. Most likely you won’t be the only one with a case of the work from home blues.

Try joining an online community. Even if you never meet them in real life, you can make virtual friends that can relate to the troubles of working from home. It always helps to have someone who knows what you are going through.

7. Take a Day Off

Sometimes, working from home can make it feel like it’s hard to take a day off. You may be too sick to go into the office, but you can sit on the couch with your laptop and work. When your a freelancer or running your own home-based business, it can be even more challenging to take a day off.

Don’t forget to make time for you. Sometimes your body may need a day off both mentally and physically.

One excellent resource I have found that helps me finance my vacation days, among other things is Catch.io. What is Catch? Catch is a handy little app, savings account, retirement account, and tax savings account rolled into one.

Basically if your a 1099 Contractor, such as myself, taxes aren’t withheld out of your check. Catch automatically takes a portion of each of my paychecks and holds it in a savings account. That account is used to pay my taxes with, which is excellent for people like me who don’t like to think about those things.

Catch also gives you the option to put a portion of each check into a retirement investment account (IRA or Roth IRA). And will put away a piece for your “days off.” A lifesaver for people like me who are spenders, not savers. I would suggest giving Catch a try. It makes things a lot more simple financially.

What Are Some of Your Favorite Work From Home Tips?

Everyone’s got their ways about doing things. And that’s one of the benefits of working remotely. What do you do to beat the Remote Worker Blues?

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Lauren

Lauren

Lauren is a work from home Transcriptionist and loves the freedom freelancing brings her. She is currently learning about web design and graphic design and hopes to branch out into branding/brand management. In her free time, she makes her own jewelry.

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