Update: 4th October, 2020:
With large numbers of people working from home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I reviewed this article that I wrote back in 2012. It’s as relevant today as it was when I wrote it.
Original article starts here:
If you’re one of the millions who travel 2 hours to work each day and the same amount of time back, you’ve doubtless occasionally envied those who work from home.
I certainly did.
I’ve now worked at home for more than 2 years, and I love it. But it does require some self-imposed discipline that you don’t need if you’re joining a bunch of work colleagues each day.
And many people either struggle or find that it just doesn’t suit them.
Some of the potential downsides include loneliness, depression, a lack of productivity, boredom and a sense of isolation, most of which are caused because we’re social animals and need human contact.
And those have all been emphasised as we deal with current pandemic.
8 ways to avoid the downsides of working at home
So here are 8 ways that I’ve developed to make sure I stay productive and happy working at home:
- Create a daily routine that starts with your wake-up alarm. Break your day into 2 or 4 hour slots and allocate a specific activity (including time for meals and exercise) to each.
- Set aside at least an hour a day for physical exercise. I either go to the gym or take a long walk. Exercise is an excellent way to avoid depression and enhance your creativity.
- Make sure any family members who are at home during the day respect your work time and don’t distract or interrupt you. This will hugely improve your productivity and reduce the feelings of frustration that can arise if interruptions prevent you from getting things done.
- Designate a room as your office. Make sure that things like the lighting and furniture are comfortable and conducive to productivity.
- When you leave your office (for meals or in the evenings) make sure you close the door to help you mentally make the shift from work mode to downtime.
- Find meet-ups and Chambers of Commerce in your area that are related to your business, and ensure you attend regularly. Not only do they enable you to meet new people but I use them as networking events to get new business.
- Use the phone, or better still Zoom or Skype, rather than email where it’s practical to do so. Talking to others, even if only to check on something, helps stave off loneliness.
- If you live alone make sure you get out of the house and meet up with friends at least two or three times a week
I was a bit lost at first, but I love working at home now. As I’ve developed my routine and got used to the change from working in an office, things have just got better and better.