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5 Real-Life Lessons about Working from Home
Working from home gives people the flexibility to balance their work and home life in a way that best suits them.
Studies have shown that home workers suffer less from work-related stress and benefit from improved professional productivity levels. Many people have also reported that they feel happier and more in control when they have the freedom to plan their own schedules.
But, of course, working from home also presents its own set of challenges, as well as perks. Here are five real-life lessons about working from home.
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You Learn the Importance of Maintaining a Routine
Getting into the habit of working at the same time each day can help you be more productive, just as if you were working in an office environment. It doesn’t matter if you choose to work at a dedicated desk area, or from your kitchen table, keeping to conventional business hours will help you maintain a good work/life balance.
In the early stages of home working, you may want to take breaks to get away from work and deal with your household chores.
On top of this, you may have a particular time of day that you are most productive. This varies from person to person – if you’re a morning person, you should get cracking on your work when you wake up, to get as much done as you can when you’re at your peak. Scheduling phone calls and meetings during this time would be a great idea, too, so you perform at your best for your clients. Alternatively, if you work best in the evening, this gives you the best part of the daylight hours to pursue your hobbies and socialize.
But beware, switching tasks too often breaks your concentration and can put you hours behind your daily working schedule. And giving yourself too much flexibility with your working hours can reduce your discipline, and your productivity.
You Learn How to Work Effectively on Your Own
If you’ve never been completely self-reliant in a professional capacity, working from home can be very daunting. For instance, who do you turn to when you’re stuck on a problem at work?
After the initial excitement of working from home has passed, some people may struggle with so much alone time. However, there are many strategies you can try — from speaking to collaborators on the phone, using coworking spaces, to taking up daily exercise or planning weekends away. Find a way to beat the blues and implement daily positive habits like music and meditation to help keep your brain ‘on track’.
You Learn How to Block Out Distractions
If you have a young family, you may face constant distractions from noisy kids, or playful pets craving your attention. It is so important for home workers to learn how to tune-out from everyday distractions in order to get their work done.
For some, this may mean working late at night, or waking up two hours before your family gets up to get yourself into the right mindset to work.
Tips For Minimising Distractions When Working From Home:
- Put your phone on silent and check it at specific intervals throughout the day.
- Close internet tabs you’re not currently viewing as these can be distracting and can slow you down.
- Wear headphones and listen to the radio to help you drown out ambient noise.
- Check your email only three times a day (or however many times is appropriate for you).
- Turn off push notifications on all devices.
- If you live with other people, let them know that they should not distract you when you’re working, unless there’s an emergency.
- Learn how to say ‘no’ to family and friends who want to meet-up whilst you are supposed to be working. Save socialising for evenings and weekends (or dedicated ‘non work’ time).
See also: Minimising Distractions for more ideas.
You Learn How to Capitalise on New Opportunities
Home workers who want to be their own boss have the opportunity to explore alternative business ideas, away from the distractions of office chit-chat and the competencies of their narrow job descriptions.
In fact, there are many different ways to earn money from home. For instance, you could build your own ecommerce brand, selling products through drop shipping arrangements. Or, you could even become a dog-sitter for office workers with four-legged friends.
To ensure that you are open to the vast array of opportunities available to you as a home worker, perfecting the art of networking is a great investment of your time and energy. Networking can help you:
- Strengthen interpersonal relationships through altruism - If you need assistance in the future, your contacts will reciprocate your good deeds.
- Follow your inspirations and passions in life and work - Sharing your interests with like-minded people can help you generate fresh ideas on a regular basis.
- Improve your personal brand - You will start to become more confident in selling yourself and your professional strengths.
You Learn How to Develop Your Communication Skills
If you’re away from clients and colleagues most of the time, developing your communication skills is essential for staying ‘in-the-loop’ and ensuring that you don’t miss out on vital information. Getting into the habit of scheduling regular catch-up meetings with your colleagues and clients can help improve your interpersonal communication skills.
You will also benefit from honing your writing skills online and on social media — excellent ways of developing a solid personal brand, and something that at-home workers often have time to do. Marketing yourself effectively when you’re working from home can help you build new, positive professional relationships, and your increased flexibility means that you can jump on new opportunities faster.
Working from home comes with its own learning curve. It may take some time for you to adjust your lifestyle habits to maximise your productivity in an unsupervised working environment. However, with a little effort and self-discipline, you will be able to get into a healthy work routine which will allow you to perform at your best every day. Good luck!
About the Author
Patrick Foster is a freelance writer and ecommerce expert.
He runs a blog called EcommerceTips as a side-hustle, where he likes to share practical tips on how you can succeed in business!