Working from home is a buzz-term that gets 20-somethings really excited. We imagine a life where we work the hours we want, don’t have to put up with office drama, get to skip the painful commute to the office and have more time for ourselves.
The actual reality of the situation is that in most WFH scenarios, it is incredibly easy to fall into a deep pit of under-productivity, laziness and all-around spiteful hate for any surface other than your couch (either that or you resent your couch because you’re working on it too much). So whether you’re working from home one day a week, freelancing part-time or working remotely on a steady basis, keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your WFH experience.
1. Create (and maintain) a routine
Just because nobody is going to see you stumbling into the office with greasy hair and wearing your pajamas, doesn’t mean it’s inconsequential. Set an alarm, take regular showers and get dressed (even if it’s something comfier than your normal office attire)! Make sure your meal times are set and that your normal routine is met to keep you in the mind frame that you are, indeed, at work.
2. Designate a work space
Your couch is not a work space. Your bed is not a work space. A desk with proper lighting, sufficient space, office supplies (neon Post-Its) and a comfortable chair is a work space. Keeping a part of your home your designated “office” will help you maintain a work mentality while working and help you turn off work mode when you’re not.
3. Go to work
I know, it seems a little contradictory to the whole WFH idea, but to maintain professional relationships and to further your career, you will eventually have to see the light of day and the inside of your company’s office. Take opportunities regularly to maintain face-to-face relationships, whether it be a monthly commute to your head office, or meeting up for happy hour with your remotely located coworkers.
4. Leave the house
Trust that a few days cooped up in the house will make you go mad. Leaving the house at least once every two days is highly recommended from both a metal and physical health perspective. Technically, it’s perfectly easy to literally never leave your house if you work from home. Groceries, toiletries, medication, clothing, entertainment–all of this is available online. However, you mental well-being will suffer if you don’t regularly see the outside world. Go for a walk, go to the gym, a stroll round the mall or for a coffee with a friend. Just make a point to leave the house on a regular basis.
5. Don’t let productivity suffer
Just because you have a work laptop and a personal laptop, doesn’t mean you can binge on Netflix all day while sometimes working. Your productivity should be the same at home as it is in the office, and your employer will notice if it takes a dip. If you’re paid for eight hours of work, you should be taking that seriously and putting in eight hours of work.
6. Keep work and home life seperate
I realize it sounds hard to do since your office is right next door to your own bedroom, but it’s important to keep your work-life balance intact. Once the clock rings on your work time, you should set that out-of-office and shut down the machine. Continuing to work into the evening will eventually breed resentment for your work in your subconscious, but before that happens your private relationships will likely suffer as your family, partner or friends will believe you are placing your career unnecessarily above them in importance.
7. But don’t forget to be flexible
With all that being said, if you get the opportunity to work from home on a regular basis, take advantage of it by going for a midday sweat session or meeting a friend for quick lunch. Breaks are just as important when you’re working from home and we know that going outside is a must, but working from home affords you the opportunity to do things like run errands you’d typically pack into your weekend.