I recently started job-hunting (volunteering) again, only this time it is in a completely new environment. Lucky for me, I not only found an interesting and relevant role, but also an organization that offered me flexibility at work. The position doesn’t require me to go into work more than twice a week. This worked brilliantly for me as I could focus on other activities like writing for the blog, finishing up online courses, etc.
My experience has been great so far. I have been able to balance fun and work evenly. So here are five things I have learnt after starting this routine that I think would be helpful to know, if you are a freelancer or someone who is thinking of working from home full-time.
- Schedule work hours: I know most freelancers love the flexibility of working from home, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have set hours. We all have a few hours that are our most productive during the day; cash in on them. Mine are during the morning, so I ensure I have all my errands taken care of early. I start checking / replying to emails by 9:30-10 am. This will also ensures that you finish work at a reasonable time; just because you work from home you are not on duty all the time.
- You need a workspace: When I initially started my work-from- home routine, my workspace was on the couch. It was comfy, unfortunately too comfy and cozy. That is when I realized you need a desk or a spot that is has a more office environment to it. A place to set my laptop out every morning and start working. It is also important that the space is aesthetically appealing. Having a desk with a typewriter and or a large monitor and a few inspirational quotes, colors and a calendar will help increase your creativity as well as your productivity.
- Respect your professional life: If you don’t, nobody will. I don’t take long lunches catching up on my sitcom or encourage outings to the mall. You can have the perk of cooking your lunch, or catching up with a friend over a phone call during lunch when you work from home, but don’t encourage anything that will lead to your family and friends to not taking your professional life seriously. If you encourage that, it will hinder your progress a lot. So stay disciplined.
- No water cooler and copier chats: Do not expect to know what is going on in the office. More than the office politics and rumors, working from home means missing the inspiration and energy you can draw from your co-workers. Find a way to stay connected and work with them as a team. I enjoy seeing people’s varied work dynamics. It was a big change for me to brainstorm with myself.
- Dressing up helps: Just because you are working from home it doesn’t mean you have to work in your PJs. Sometimes an easy way to motivate yourself is to dress up. Don’t wear blazers or formal clothes, but looking presentable will increase your productivity. If you are a freelancer, the perks are that will always be ready to see a client.
Do you work from home? Share your experience with me in comments section below.