I’ve been working from a home office for more than twenty-five years in many roles, including scrapbooking teacher, event planner and CV writer.
Many people have suddenly found themselves in this situation and are realising it’s not always easier than working at the office.
The key is to recreate the office ‘vibe’ as much as possible, while at home.
My top tips for working successfully from a home office –
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES:
You still have your job when many people are out of work. That is something to be grateful for. It’s not easy to get motivated when you are feeling lonely and isolated but there are a lot of positive aspects to the situation – for example, we don’t have to battle morning traffic!
Make sure you have somewhere to work. Don’t make this space in your bedroom, if you can possibly help it. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary.
Make your space somewhere you want to be – When you work, that’s where you sit, otherwise the entire house can end up looking and feeling like work. Even if it’s just a tiny desk in the corner, make it yours with photos on the wall, your favourite mug, music or whatever else you need to feel productive.
It’s important to be organised in this space – Don’t spread work all over the house, keep it in one place. It’s your work, not the family’s.
It’s easier to compartmentalise work and home life when the two are in separate places.
It seems like every part of our lives has changed – but at least you have the stability of a working routine. Establish the routine of your home office quickly, it will be something to focus on, rather than any negatives. Your routine may look crazy to other people, for example I am often working at 3am, but it works for me.
Make yours work for you.
SET A START AND FINISH TIME:
Don’t feel you have to kill yourself just because you are at home. It’s very easy to go to work and finish up some tasks when work is just across the hallway.
You need to be able to separate your work and home life otherwise you will get drained very quickly. We don’t know how long this situation will last, so we must pace ourselves for the long haul.
For many people, getting dressed in ‘work clothes’ helps them to feel more professional and focused. Brush your hair and teeth and act like you are going to be out and about with people.
Because in your mind, that’s exactly where you will be.
Keep in contact with colleagues regularly but keep it appropriate. If you are meeting via webcam, wear pants! Don’t be the subject of the next hilarious Facebook video!
KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL:
Your clients don’t need to know you are at home.
Behave exactly the same on the phone and emails as you would if you were at work. For example – make sure the washing machine isn’t clunking in the background, don’t do the dishes while you talk on the phone – keep work tasks at your designated workspace.
ENTER AND LEAVE THE OFFICE:
At the end of your workday, it’s crucial to ‘switch off’ and be at home. When you are finished for the day, whenever that is, leave the home office.
It may mean covering a table with a sheet, closing a door or even just shutting down a laptop.
Do something to signify that work is finished and then in your mind, leave work at your workstation.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF:
This is the most important piece of advice I can provide right now.
This is not a normal situation – we didn’t choose this and it’s easy to feel things are out of control.
If you need to rest, rest. If you need a break, take one. You don’t have to be a superhero, you just have to manage as best you can. This won’t last forever and soon you’ll be back at the office.
Sending you all love and support from my home workspace!